20 years ago I read an article about a new piece of equipment that was going "revolutionize" the pizza industry. It didn’t. Ten years later, a college friend I were playing a terrible game of tennis, and he talked about an idea for drive thru pizza. I thought about the potential, but also the limitations. It was impossible to create a made-to-order pizza, fresh and fast enough for a drive thru. To pull it off, a limited menu of precooked pizza would need to sit under a heat lamp waiting for the customer. I remembered that article and began some research. I found a new technology based primarily on convection air that might work.
With this oven I thought we could finally bake a personal pizza fast enough for a drive thru. I contacted the oven manufacture and was told that we could not cook a live yeast pizza in the time I had envisioned. So I bought a used oven and headed on a path to prove them wrong. After hundreds of hours learning about dough science, composition, stages of development and cooking, as well as hundreds of additional hours programming the literally infinite settings of the high tech ovens, I started to prove them wrong.
A. No. Not only do we make our dough daily, we believe it's as good as can be made. We don't us any chemicals or preservatives. We’ve developed individually delay fermented and slowly cold proofed dough balls tailored specifically for our ovens. This slow proofing process allows the natural enzymes and sugars to produce a complex, unmatched flavor, texture and crumb. Similar to wine or beer, controlling the fermentation is key to unlocking the complex artisan flavors hidden within the wheat. Other pizzerias produce underdeveloped dough hurriedly made in bulk and pushed out the door. Their process forces sugars into alcohol and results in a simple yeasty tasting dough.
Q. Do you use fillers in your toppings?
A. No. Other places use soy as a filler in their meats to keep costs down, but we use all meat toppings. We are especially proud of our pepperoni. Most pizzerias use an artificial casing on their pepperoni. This makes their pepperoni look pretty and lay flat on their pizza. It appears like you’re getting more pepperoni, but sacrifices quality. Our pepperoni has a natural casing that cups while it cooks, creating a crispy edge with a chewy "bacony" center. It costs us a little more, but it's worth it. Our Canadian bacon is the eye of the loin center cut, rather than
A. No. Only heat, sometimes over 1,000 degrees. We have developed unique programming, controlling the time and intensity stages of the heating process. While microwave is one of the programmable components of our ovens, we have programmed them to use zero microwaves in baking your pizza. Our heat settings differ based on the individual type of toppings, crust and pizza you select. Other pizzerias have only one setting for all pizzas. One of our secrets isn't a secret at all. Pizzas are thin by nature. This thin nature allows for quick and efficient heat transfer to the pizza. We capitalized on this ability by controlling the heat from both above and below the pizza. This allows us to speed up the process and uniquely control the bake, based on the individual type of pizza.
Q. Are you a franchise?
A. No. Mad Dash is a one of a kind concept, developed here in Chico.
Q. Do you use pre-made sauces?
A. Our sauces are made from scratch. Our red sauce is made from vine ripened tomatoes, not a precooked product. Our addictive creamy garlic ranch recipe was created by a friend. Our pesto is made from fresh basil and pine nuts, more expensive than using walnuts, but we set our goals towards quality ingredients of over food costs. Have you tried our hummus? Horseradish ranch? Peanut Thai? All unique homemade sauces on our specialty pizzas, made daily. A few of our wing sauces are bottled. They come from Original Juan, a friend's company in Kansas City. We shared the grand prize in a national business plan competition sponsored by Visa USA, but that's another story, and we love their products.
I've always loved pizza. As a kid, I never understood why it took so long get our pizza when our family went out to dinner. Now I realize they wanted my dad to order more beer, and for me to drop more quarters into the video games. Negotiating between the parents and two older brothers on our toppings seemed to take hours. Forty minutes later we would get our pizza. Finally, there was that unavoidable and frustrating moment where 5 people are staring at that one last piece of pizza, and as the youngest of 3 brothers, I knew odds were against it going to me. The industry hasn't evolved much since then.
Six years later, many people still question the quality of quickly baked drive thru pizza, so I thought I would answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Mad Dash.
On December 9th, 2009, six years after the original idea, product development, fundraising, concept design and construction, Mad Dash opened as the first concept to focus on drive thru pizza, as well as a personal pizza, made-to-order and baked in seconds. Now, years later, new concepts are entering the market, claiming they were first. The industry is finally starting to evolve.
Not all went according to plan after opening our doors. Being the first drive thru personal quick bake pizza concept, we had no other business models to follow. After opening our doors, we were still very much a concept in development, learning by the hour, by the day, and from our customers. As we learned more from our oven’s abilities, and our customer feedback, we continued to evolve and refine our concept. Today, 6 years later, we have a perfected a fresh, live yeast dough, made-to-order personal pizza baked in seconds. We believe our pizza can hold its own, and we can get it to you quicker than ever. Speed without sacrificing quality.
compressed ham scraps. Our Tri-Tip is a 100+ year family recipe from Nipomo, California, the original "Santa Maria-style barbecue". This isn't just fast food, its real food.
Q. Are you perfect?
A. Well…No. Do little things occasionally slip by us? Yes, and please let us know when they do. But it's the little things we care about most and focus on improving every day. Mad Dash started as a far-fetched idea. It took a little bit of research, a little bit of financing, and a little bit of hard work. A little bit of perseverance, a little bit of commitment, a little bit of stress, a little bit of second guessing, a little bit of revising, a little bit of community support...and a BIG amount of help. Hopefully we can make your day a little bit better, and be your choice for pizza...for a lot longer. So come try your own personal pizza, made-to-order, fresh baked in seconds, and served to you from the comfort of your car and stop fighting for the last slice..