How Marco’s Pizza Beats The National Chains

Marcos Pizza Profile 4

How do you compete in a crowded market driven by price? This food service franchise became the fastest growing in its field by emphasizing  the basics: authenticity, quality, and community involvement

Here’s their story


Marcos Pizza Profile 2Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco was born in Italy and came to the United States as a child. Noting the lack of quality in American delivery pizza, Pat took up the challenge of creating a high-quality pie with artisan ingredients, a pie worthy of his homeland. He believed that if customers could get a better-tasting pizza without paying a higher price, they’d keep coming back. And that’s what happened.  In 1978 Marco’s Pizza was born in Toledo, Ohio and quickly spread through several Midwestern states.

Today Marco’s Pizza has over 800 stores. No longer limited to the Midwest, Marco’s can be found through much of the country. There are even stores in India, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, and quality remains the main driver in their success.

What’s Different About Marco’s Pizzas

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Bryon Stephens

Marco’s makes their sauce from three different tomatoes, grown especially for them. “We blend the ingredients at the store,” says Byron Stephens, President of Marco’s Pizza, “so that we get the interaction of the fresh spices with the tomato sauce. We hand slice vegetables every day, and we don’t believe in fillers — our product is high quality — and when you add all of the quality components together, the pizza just tastes better.”

While a better tasting pizza at a great price is an advantage over the competition, it’s not enough in the long-term. According to Stephens, the culture is the most important thing that an organization has to get right. “It’s our job to create a culture that allows people in the organization to achieve the things we set out to achieve.”

It’s our job to create a culture that allows people in the organization to achieve the things we set out to achieve.

The Marco’s Culture

Marcos Pizza Profile 1People come from all over in a growing organization, including managers from other restaurant chains, as well as new franchisees, but for sustained growth and prosperity, all of their experiences and philosophies need to be unified into a single culture. “We need to pull the rope in the same direction,” says Stephens.

Marco’s Pizza has a formalized, structured training  program to  align new people with the company’s culture, to ensure that everybody understands the tools, and how work is done at Marco’s. “We use constructive and appreciative feedback consistently,” says Stephens. “When performance is less than optimal, we ask ourselves, ‘what else can we do?’  We have a process called ‘see it, own it, solve it, do it.'”

Marco’s Pizza’s goal is to present as a high quality, consistent brand from coast to coast, and ultimately, people know what’s expected of them from franchisees right down to the crew members working in the stores.

Find out how you can own a Marco’s Pizza franchise!

Community Outreach Leads to Success

An important ingredient in Marco’s Pizza’s rapid growth has been its involvement in their communities. Franchisees are encouraged to participate in community activities, donate to worthy causes, and just be good citizens. Bryon Stephens sums it up this way: “When you were growing up, you probably had  a relationship with your local pizza place.  That’s the connection that you need in this business.  If we become just a brand that is a faceless, non-relationship brand that’s just in the transaction business, that’s just a race to the bottom, and we won’t win in that game.”


Great Franchise for a Modest Investment

The average upfront investment for a Marco’s Pizza franchise is $360,000, and that includes franchise fees, the inventory needed to open for business, rent, insurance, equipment, build-out, and even $25,000 in working capital.

Buying a Marco’s Pizza Franchise – Money Needed

  • Initial Investment       $224,092 – $549,092
  • Net Worth                     $350,000
  • Liquid Cash                   $100,000
  • Franchise Fee               $25,000
  • Royalty Fee                    5.5%
  • Ad Royalty                      1%

The American Dream is alive and well, and it’s being realized by immigrants coming here, who are willing to just work, work, work, and build, and make a successful story

Marco’s Pizza: A Great Fit for Immigrants

  • Reasonable Costs — a lower end food service opportunity
  • Solid Business Model
  • Strong Culture. Process of becoming successful is well-scripted, easy to follow
  • Prime Territory Available, creating opportunities for ownership of multiple units

Keeping the American Dream Alive

The management team at Marco’s Pizza feels very strongly about access to the American Dream. “People talk about the American Dream being gone,” says Bryon Stephens. “But I see it happening every single day. The American Dream is alive and well, and it’s being realized by immigrants coming here, who are willing to just work, work, work, and build, and create their own success story. And they’ll tell you there’s no place like America.  To be able to come here and do that, that’s an amazing, amazing story.”


For franchise information, call  800-836-2074

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