What is the Best Pizza Franchise?
Entrepreneur magazine ranks the top pizza franchises
Entrepreneur magazine recently published a highly read list of the top 10 pizza franchises, measured by such factors as financial strength and stability, growth rate, breadth, experience and startup costs.
Pizza franchises come in a wide variety of segments: delivery, grab-and-go, quick-service, full-scale restaurant and brick-fired oven.
Every segment has its pros and cons. Gourmet pizza brands suffer from high food costs. Sit-down pizza restaurants face intense competition from other restaurants and far higher investment and overhead costs. Brick-oven pizza franchises have to work hard to keep fickle foodie customers who rarely show brand loyalty. Four of Entrepreneur’s top 5 pizza brands deliver, including industry favorite Marco’s Pizza ®.
Delivery pizza has some compelling investment advantages: Americans love pizza, and it has become one of our favorite convenience foods. Delivery pizza franchises often have lower investment levels and higher profit margins. Customers order delivery pizza more often and tend to stay loyal to brands they like. Here’s what Entrepreneur said about the popularity of delivery pizza during last year’s Super Bowl:
In a survey by the National Restaurant Association, 61% of people said pizza was a “must have item for the big event.
“It’s the ultimate fun party food,” says Brandon Gorin, owner of two Marco’s Pizza ® franchises near Indianapolis. He should know. Prior to opening his stores last year, Gorin was an offensive tackle in the National Football League and took home two Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots. “We’re gearing up for a very big night,” he says.
There are five major players in the delivery pizza franchise segment: Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Papa John’s and Marco’s. Three of these made the list: Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Marco’s.
Headquarters: Toledo, Ohio
Year it began franchising: 1978
Number of franchises: 379 stores in 21 states
Startup costs: $179,500 to $349,000
Overall 2012 Franchise 500 rank: 113
Marco’s Pizza ®was founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1978 by Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco, from Italy, who wanted to create an authentic Italian pizza chain. The company sold its first franchise a year later, reached 100 stores by 1994 and in 2004 changed hands. Under new ownership, the company has thrived, and Pat’s secret sauce and fresh-made dough remains constant. In 2011, Marco’s Pizza ® opened 61 locations, and more than 100 stores are slated to open in the 2012 fiscal year. Same-store sales, meanwhile, were up about 7.5% in 2011.
Marco’s has been posting same-store sales increases almost every quarter for the past four years thanks to a team of industry veterans, many with substantial experience at Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Little Caesars. Marco’s approach to creating a pizza with freshly made dough, real cheese and never frozen ingredients wins over customers who tire of cardboard-tasting delivery pizza.
Most importantly, Marco’s has more prime territory available than any of the other top 5 brands. Want a Domino’s or Papa John’s? You might find that they are sold out in your area.
Curious to see if owning your own Marco’s is a fit? Fill out our franchise report form at right and you’ll find out what Entrepreneur already knows: Marco’s Pizza ® is one of the best pizza franchises to invest in.