Former Wall Street Investor and Serial Entrepreneur Plans 100+ Marco’s Locations by 2025
Multi-unit growth continues to play a strategic role in Marco’s Pizza rapid expansion, with nearly half of its current franchise network made up of multi-unit operators. As the brand approaches $1B in annual systemwide sales, franchisees are doubling down on expansion and riding the wave of record-breaking sales growth by expanding their franchise portfolios. This is the case for Kal Gullapalli, a seasoned franchisee, who is set to open Marco’s milestone 1,100th store in Dundee, FL.
Gullapalli spent seven years on Wall Street before transitioning to entrepreneurship in 2016. He has since become a veteran in the franchise industry, owning several fitness and health & wellness retail centers. Gullapalli joined Marco’s in 2021 with a desire to diversify his portfolio amid the ongoing pandemic – seeing the immense value of pizza in his playbook. The 1,100-store will open at 28065 US Hwy 27 in Dundee, FL this July, marking Gullapalli’s 36th Marco’s store with seven more in various stages of development, and commitments for another 16 future stores across Tampa, FL, Georgia and Columbia and Myrtle Beach, SC. This multi-unit growth furthers his vision for a desired 100-plus Marco’s store portfolio by 2025.
“With Marco’s, there’s a clear path to my team owning 100-plus locations,” said Gullapalli. “The brand has a superior product, a sophisticated development team, and vast whitespace across the country. This, paired with its record-breaking growth, made now an opportune time to double down on my investment, because while the 1,100 is a cherished milestone, Marco’s will be at 3,000 stores in no time.”
With more than 200 stores in various stages of development across the country, Marco’s is on the fast-track to achieving its growth goal of 1,500 units by the end 2023. As franchise development continues to surge, leadership prioritizes investments in enhancing the franchise development program, new technology, personnel, strategic vendor partnerships, multi-channel national advertising, and more – all with an eye on maximizing franchisee profits.
For example, Marco’s recently announced the investment of millions of dollars in technology innovations over the next few years designed to create business efficiencies, maximize order growth, and improve the customer experience. Areas of investment include AI-enabled voice-to-text ordering and automated promise times, integration with third-party delivery services, migrating to a 100% cloud-based order management system, plus testing automated kitchen innovations and new operational equipment.
“The enhancements made in technology and operations is helping fuel franchise development as sophisticated multi-unit franchisees are seeing now as an attractive time to invest,” said Keith Sizemore, Vice President of Development for Marco’s Pizza. “We’ve spent a lot of time and investment in streamlining and strengthening our franchise development program to make it as easy as possible for franchisees to grow a robust portfolio with Marco’s, and it’s been remarkable to see Kal do just that as he continues to play a significant role in our growth story.”
Marco’s offers a long-term incentive for multi-unit owners, including franchisee fee discounts, reduced royalties, and growth acceleration bonuses – download the Franchise Information Report for more information.
With strong growth and performance, Marco’s sets its sights on becoming the No. 4 brand in pizza. The brand experienced a 12.8% increase in year-over-year Average Unit Volume (AUV), and the Top 50% of Marco’s franchised stores generated $1,198,201 AUV for 2021*.
Marco’s Pizza is America’s Most Loved and Most Trusted Pizza Brand, according to the 2019 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study. Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco’s Pizza is one of the fastest-growing pizza brands in the United States. Marco’s was founded in 1978 by Italian-born Pasquale (“Pat”) Giammarco and thrives to deliver a high-quality pizza experience, known for its dough made from scratch and its three fresh signature cheeses. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate over 1,100 stores in 33 states with locations in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Most recently, Marco’s Pizza was ranked No. 2 in the Pizza category on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2022 “Franchise 500” ranking, and No. 4 in the Fastest Growing category on Restaurant Business’ 2021 “Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains” ranking. Other recent accolades include a first-time presence on Newsweek’s 2022 “America’s Best Customer Service” in pizza chains list, ranked No. 42 on QSR’s Top 50 and has been featured five consecutive years on Nation’s Restaurant News’ prestigious “Top 500” ranking.
*Based on the Average Unit Volume of the top 50% of our Franchised Stores for fiscal year 2021. Based on fiscal year 2021, 146 of 389 Franchised Stores in the category (38%) met or exceeded this average. This information appears in Item 19 of our 2022 FDD – please refer to our FDD for complete information on financial performance. Results may differ. There is no assurance that any franchisee will perform as well.
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