Meet Shawndell Pullam and Ryan Whitfield, two best friends who are the founders and owners of BurnBox Pizza, a Black-owned Maryland-based vegan pizza restaurant chain that is designed to give guests an inspirational and healthy experience. Using the highest quality ingredients, they offer brick oven pizzas with 25 toppings including vegan and vegetarian options, fresh salads, and baked buffalo wings.
Shawndell and Ryan, who are also the owners of six Smoothie King franchises, say that they are using their fast-casual pizza restaurants to inspire positivity and provide humanitarian needs in communities by combating the hunger crisis.
Shawndell comments, “In our hometown of PG County, Maryland alone there are over half a million people struggling with hunger.” This has inspired them to donate a free pizza back to the community for every one sold.
“We’re more than just your neighborhood pizza shop,” he says. “We’re a pizza eatery with a mission: Fight hunger in the community through customer donations. The more people we feed, the happier we are. Not just as a company, but as a society.”
In addition to being successful entrepreneurs, both Shawndell and Ryan are also the best-selling authors of Now Open: How We Built A Multi-Million Dollar Franchise Business In 12 Months, which teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to be successful in the industry.
Their restaurants are located in the cities of Waldorf and Kettering, Maryland, and they are planning to open new locations soon. Franchise opportunities are available.
About the founders
Since 1991, Shawndell Pullam and Ryan Whitfield have been best friends and business partners. From playing basketball as teenagers to running multiple businesses together, they have always shared a passion for entrepreneurship, especially in the fashion industry. After high school, they started their first business designing graphic t-shirts. In 2016, they opened their first Smoothie King location. Today, they are the successful owners of six Smoothie King franchises across the DC Metro area.