|Pizza Queen, Inc.|
|Slogan||"Let Them Eat...Pizza!"|
|Location||Chicago, North American League|
|Key people||Raquel Rey, CEO|
|Revenue||£ 111 million (fiscal 2004)|
Pizza Queen is one of the world's most successful restaurant chains, with outlets numbering over 9,000 in dozens of countries. It is considered an example of Fast Food.
In 1966, Jaime Edgeton opened a restaurent he initially called "The Queen of Italy" but which struggled to make ends meet until he decided to focus on pizza rather than Italian food in general and to emphasize home delivery. Business picked up and in 1969 he changed the name of the company while starting up new branches in and around the Chicago area. An urban legend arose that the chain was named in honor of Elizabeth I of England and Scotland, but this seems unlikely as this happened during the reign of Edward, her uncle.
By 1970, more branches were spreading all over the Great Lakes region. In 1975, Edgeton sold the franchise for £ 1 million to entrepreneur Howard Schmidt. It was Schmidt who upgraded the company's advertising and operations, gradually expanding until Pizza Queens could be found all over the NAL as well as to varying levels in the FK, Tejas, Alta California, New Francy, the Holy Roman Empire, Florida, France, Xliponia, Japan and even Russia. Television advertising in particular aided in the growth of the chain, with a series of actresses playing the part of the Pizza Queen, usually uttering her famous motto "Let them eat Pizza!" (This did cause some controversy in Gallophone nations, however, as an example of foreign misunderstanding/exploitation of French history).
In order to successfully enter different markets, Schmidt began to tailor the chain towards the individual host cultures. This was reflected in the name sometimes used (Pizza Presidente in Louisianne for instance) as well as the general menu. One result is that travellers, while finding similar items in Pizza Queens abroad, also found differences wherever they went. A small subculture developed in the 1980s of "Pizza Queen Snobs" which were generally the butt of much humor.
After Schmidt retired in 1993, the company went through a crisis of leadership that apparently stablized in 2001 when Raquel Rey from New Amsterdam won approval as CEO. It was Rey who took the company public in 2004. She herself has become something of a celebrity, hosting a syndicated cooking show focussing on Italian food. Some food critics now refer to her as the "Pizza Queen" or even the "Pizza Princess Regent" (only Hannah Coultier has referred to her as the "Pizza Tsarina" however). She also caused quite a bit of controversy by introducing a new slogan to the chain: "Take of This and Eat, for It Is My Pizza." Several Christian religious groups (including the Alliance for Public Decency) took great exception to this and the motto was pulled after only a few months.
Truthfully, the chain's most profitable outlets have been Commonwealth countries such as England and Scotland (the only place on Earth where it has been confirmed haggis pizza can be purchased and--if reports can be trusted--consumed). Curiously, the next most profitable location is Jervaine.
Pizza Queen essentially offers a variety of pizza sizes and types (some quite exotic--like the Sushi Pizza, the Buffalo Pizza and the Tutti Fruity Dessert Pizza), with first a dozen, then two dozen and most recently three dozen possible toppings. Sodas and fruit juices are also available, as are many side dishes like garlic bread and soup. In the 1990s salad bars became more common as the "in store" eating crowd began to expand and most Pizza Queens began to offer lunch buffets. Some Pizza Queens have even changed back to the original "Queen of Italy" in order to offer more regular Italian fare, such as lasagna and manicotti.
Pizza Queen has also been a major corporate sponsor of several Cricket and Basketball teams. Efforts are ongoing for the corporation to receive some kind of official recognition from the reigning monarchs of both the FK and the Scandinavian Realm, but so far without avail.
Pizza Queen was not the first nor the last restaurent chain to expand into what became known as "Fast Food". That field is perhaps best represented in the NAL itself. Other major competitors were and are Sandwich Hut (focusing on sandwiches, no surprise), MacTaco (which began in Scottish provinces like Jacobia), and the hamburger "chains" such as Dorothy's and Black Castle. Pizza Queen's biggest competition in terms of Italian food is Backgammon Pizza a similar chain approximately the same size.
During the 1990s all such chains began developing Cinema Cafes in response to the invention of video disks.