Marco's Pizza Franchise - Industry Q & A

Industry Qa With Jack Butorac Of Marcos Pizza

Provide an overview/ description of your industry. 

According to "Your Guide to Pizza, Pizza Market Place," Pizza is a $32 billion a year market. The national chains only make up 35% of the market. Americans eat 3 billion pizzas a year, and over 90% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month. Pizza is a safe and secure investment.

How has your industry changed in the last 10 years?  20 years? 

A lot of the big pizza chains have stopped expansion; there are a lot fewer opportunities to grow with them. Unlike Marco's, which has grown over the years and is continuing to expand nationwide. Some of the other chains are struggling to find their niche in the marketplace and are trending toward the value pizza. But if you sell a $5 or $10 pie, you're going to have to cut costs somewhere, and that's usually on the ingredients. Marco's has always concentrated on its mission of delivering a delicious, authentic Italian artisan pizza with high quality ingredients.

What trends do you see in your industry over the next 5 years?  Next 10 years?

Most of the national chains offer lower quality products at a low price point, similar to what McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's do for the hamburger segment. The higher quality authentic Italian pizza segment is dominated by the local independent operator. Marco's will brand and create a bigger demand for higher quality pizzas at the expense of the lower quality competition.

What is the biggest concern about your industry that a franchisee candidate should be aware of and investigate? 

Some of the biggest pizza chains have maxed out on growth; they either aren't accepting new franchisees or they put them in a highly competitive territory. With Marco's, there's an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something truly remarkable. We're at over 900 stores right now in 29 states and three countries. We plan to hit 1,000 stores very quickly. There are still exclusive territories available, and the opportunities for growth are limitless.

Why do you think your company stands out in the industry? 

Ours is the only company among the top 25 pizza chains that was started by a native Italian. Founder Pat Giammarco wanted to create the kind of authentic, quality, artisan pizza that he loved as a child growing up in Italy. The success of the Marco's concept is based on the fact that we serve a delicious, high-quality pizza, and we serve it the same way every time.

What makes your franchise/ business opportunity more attractive than your competitor's? 

We are growing right now at a rapid pace as more and more people realize the appeal of a quality, artisan pizza.

Describe the ideal candidate.  Do you think your requirements are any different than your competitor's? 

The ideal Marco's candidate is someone who has management experience and wants to be involved in his or her community. Restaurant experience is not as important; we're going to teach all our franchise candidates everything about the Marco's method anyway. What's really important is that we have someone who has leadership skills and the ability to lead a team of people and, at the same time, is able to follow a proven system for success.

What's the strongest skill you require in a candidate?  

Management experience is certainly important, but the most important trait rather than a skill is attitude. A positive attitude will get you everywhere, and it's the one thing we really can't teach.

Describe the working environment of your franchisees (indoors, home office, mobile, etc). Is your environment typical of other companies in your industry? 

Every Marco's franchise owner is trained from the ground up. We will teach them everything about making the perfect Marco's pizza every time. But the most successful franchisees spend as much time out of the stores as in the stores. They'll be giving away pizza and coupons, marketing their stores and making themselves known in the community, visiting schools and Scout groups and local businesses. There's no substitute for putting in that kind of face time with the people you want to do business with.

Why has your company been successful? 

We have been successful because we take real pride in what we do. Our founder, Pat Giammarco, says he'd be proud to serve his pizza to anyone from Italy. You have to have a product you're willing to stand behind.

What advice would you give someone interested in buying a franchise in your industry?  

The first thing we ask someone who wants to buy a Marco's franchise is, "Have you tried the pizza?" In a recent poll, over 70% of our franchisees bought in because they were either satisfied customers, or they knew other successful franchisees. Do your research. Know what you're getting into, and know what you'd be willing to put your name on.

How much experience in this industry should a franchisee candidate have should they consider buying a franchise in your industry? 

Restaurant experience is helpful, but it's not a requirement. About half of our franchise owners have restaurant experience, but others come from all walks of life. More important than food service experience is the ability to lead and inspire others, a genuine fondness for working with people and a willingness to work hard. If you have the right attitude and the business acumen, we can train you to learn everything you need to know about the Marco's method.

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