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P.Pole Pizza's founder Giulia Carniato.

How Gen Z restaurant owner Giulia Carniato started emerging pizza chain P.Pole

Building on the idea of bringing a healthier option to quick-service dining, Carniato is making pizzas for a younger generation

With a background in restaurants, it’s no wonder Giulia Carniato wound up running her own chain. What’s interesting is that she’s a member of Gen Z, which means she’s just in her 20s.

What began as a job at her father’s pizza restaurant has taken on a new life with Carniato’s P.Pole Pizza.

Pizza, you could say, was in Carniato’s blood. Her father’s restaurant, Piola Pizzeria, quickly became a staple in South Florida’s culinary scene when it opened.

“I just loved pizza,” Carniato said. “I love the chaos. I loved everything about the restaurant industry. I was obsessed.”

Her father was against her career in the restaurant industry at first, but eventually gave in to his daughter’s passion. Once she was hooked on the industry, she decided to change the way many people thought about hand-crafted pizza by turning her concept into an artisanal quick-service restaurant.

“I decided to take my own spin on being able to provide pizza in a fast, effective, cost-efficient manner, which is also very creative and fun,” she said. “And not too serious or boring.”

Part of that spin is a healthful focus. Miami may not be known for healthy food like Los Angeles is, but Carniato says there is still an audience for it.

She was inspired by her own body’s reaction to pizza. Even at 25, she felt lethargic and weighed down after a slice or two of traditional pizza and she wanted to change that for other people.

“I want us to be an alternative to the typical fast food,” she said. “I want us to be a cost-effective option while serving the highest quality ingredients we can.”

The star of P.Pole’s menu is the Chia dough, which is infused with chia seeds. Carniato said it’s much easier to digest than other doughs. That dough is available alongside a traditional dough and a gluten-free cauliflower dough.

Making healthy and gluten-free doughs was very important to Carniato because she wanted the concept to be “fast food but high level and also not so bad for you.”

As the company expands through franchising, P.Pole has made operations simple.

The chain uses an electric oven to cook pizzas, eliminating the need for a gas line into the kitchen. That oven is used to cook pizzas that Carniato said “anyone can recreate.”

“All you really have to do is know how to put a sauce on dough, put on the toppings and then put it in this oven and it’s ready in two minutes and 15 seconds,” she said. “So, it doesn't really take a pizza master to be able to come in and work for us.”

Similar to fast-casual pizza concepts like MOD Pizza and Blaze, P.Pole allows customers to walk down the line and pick whatever toppings they like.

Some of the more interesting toppings include gorgonzola, ricotta, jalapeño and artichoke.

Unique to P.Pole is the shape of the pizza. It resembles a skateboard, as Carniato says, and allows the brand not only to stand out, but create pizzas that involve less labor than a traditional pizza would, with needing to be stretched and shaped.

Pizzas start at $11. Unlimited-topping pizzas are $13.

Instagram and TikTok marketing are important to Carniato, as expected. While many companies are rushing to use these channels as marketing, Carniato understands them at their core as a digital native. That gives P.Pole a leg up; its recent content is getting tens of thousands of views.

There are currently four locations of P.Pole in the South Florida area, but Carniato hopes to one day become a nationwide brand.

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