Second Chance Employer Profile
MOD Super Fast Pizza LLC.
MOD (Made on Demand) Pizza doesn’t describe itself as a pizza place but as a people place. And that was the goal from the beginning, when Scott and Alley Svenson founded the company in 2008. Take care of the employees, known as the MOD Squad, and the business will take care of itself, they believed. And part of their formula is hiring those with previous justice system involvement.
The company was named by the Nation’s Restaurant News as the fastest growing restaurant chain in America two years in a row and has grown from 31 locations in 2014 to 510 outlets in 29 states – as well as Canada – today. It has more than 10,000 squad members in its company stores and franchises. (The outlets are 80 percent company owned.)
Second chance hiring practices
MOD offers a second chance to all types of employees, from those in reentry to people who’ve been homeless, struggled with addiction or face intellectual or developmental challenges. It sources candidates through hundreds of nonprofit community organizations and for profit organizations such as Honest Jobs that work to help those in reentry find employment. The majority of the company’s jobs are in its restaurants, but it also has a support center that hires a various positions.
According to Robin Hamm, MOD’s vice president, social impact, “We don’t place any barriers. Although we do background checks as part of the hiring process, anyone who applies is provided the opportunity to have a discussion around a situation that may have been discovered during the check. They can talk about their circumstances and what they faced in the past,” she says.
The chain has established a relationship with the National Restaurant Educational Foundation and was the first restaurant to work as a pilot for the organization’s HOPES (Hospitality Opportunities for People (Re)entering Society) initiative. HOPES partners with state restaurant associations, departments of corrections and nonprofits to train people who are incarcerated, are on parole/probation or have previous justice involvement so that they can get jobs in the restaurant industry.
MOD has been involved in job fairs in prisons in Texas, Missouri, Washington and other states. But in May 2022, it began a unique endeavor with the HOPES program in Texas. It is conducting virtual interviews of potential candidates at six separate facilities in the state. If hired, the candidates will be assured of a job immediately upon release.
The company offers wraparound services through its hundreds of nonprofit community-based partners across the U.S. MOD provided some services itself in the past but found that working through its partners to provide life skills training for its entry level workforce was more effective.
Each new employee receives a “buddy” to help them get set up and trained and understand life at MOD Pizza so they will be successful.
Another MOD Pizza pilot project involves recruiting lawyers who offer their services pro-bono to help employees with criminal records get them expunged.