Darren Gray Brings Decades of Restaurant Culinary Innovation to Marco’s Pizza Franchise
To ensure that Marco’s Pizza franchise remains synonymous with cutting edge and delicious pizza, the company has named Darren Gray as its senior director of menu and culinary innovation. Gray is an expert in the field with extensive experience in the food and restaurant industry, including 20 years of experience with nationally recognized brands.
Gray’s deeply rooted passion and understanding for menu development and culinary innovation has led to a knack for developing and launching menu items and limited-time offers that brought success in his professional life. He is credited with helping the Fazoli’s restaurant chain accomplish a record 30 consecutive months of same-store sales growth.
Gray showed off his creativity by taking 22 pizza concepts from raw ideas to final approvals during his tenure at Papa John’s. He has a bachelor’s degree in food science and nutrition from University of Missouri-Columbia and a master’s in food science and technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“The possibilities with Marco’s Pizza are endless,” Gray said. “The brand has an incredible story — beginning with its native Italian founder, Pat Giammarco, and his mandate to never compromise on products, to stick true to high standards of freshness, flavor and quality. As the senior director of menu and culinary innovation, it’s my goal to align menu and culinary development with the Marco’s Pizza brand of Ah!thentic Italian-style pizza to create unique and craveable new products that will differentiate the brand from other food industry concepts.”
Jack Butorac, CEO of Marco’s Pizza, recognizes not only Gray’s creative potential but his ability to keep the company vital and relevant moving forward.
“Having spent most of his career working in the restaurant industry, Darren has played an integral role in building menus and culinary effectiveness for several brands,” Butorac said. “His expertise and creativity, especially in pizza and Italian food, will benefit our brand tremendously, taking our already fresh, high-quality ingredients and recipes to an entirely new level.”
As the only national pizza chain founded by a native Italian, Marco’s has made its name in the growing $46 billion pizza industry by producing fresh, Italian-style, handmade pizza. Ninety-one percent of Americans eat pizza once a month, and more people are increasingly choosing the quality pizza that’s synonymous with Marco’s.
Because of Marco’s strong corporate backing, ability to gain market share, its food standards and its people, the Marco’s Pizza franchise system took less than five years to more than double in size. As a result, Marco’s Pizza has received high praise from Entrepreneur magazine and AllBusiness.com, which ranked Marco’s in the top 10 Allstar franchise systems. Most recently, Marco’s Pizza ranked as No. 2 on the Nation’s Restaurant News’ Second 100 list of Top 10 Newcomers.