Go Roma, the fast casual Italian restaurant serving a wide range of fresh Italian dishes, including hearty homemade soups, hand-stretched thin-crust pizzas, seasonal entrée salads, flatbread sandwiches, tossed pasta, and a variety of regional classics, will focus its initial expansion on locations throughout the upper mid-west, according to Jeff Drake, president of Go Roma. Go Roma has been named a Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concept! and Top 100 Fast CasualMover & Shaker, most recently ranked #10 in the 2012 list.
“Chicagoans know and love Go Roma,” said Drake. “The Go Roma experience works throughout the upper Midwest – in part due to geographic proximity and regional awareness, and in part due to an appreciation for fresh, Italian tastes.” The company is pursuing franchise agreements with multi-unit operators, restaurant and retail executives who will open 5-10 restaurants in their respective territories.
PJ Evans, an industry veteran with more than 25 years experience leading franchise programs for top casual and fast casual concepts, joined Go Roma in September 2011 to launch and manage the concept’s new franchise development program.
“In 2013-2014, we expect to open locations throughout Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan; and the southern suburbs of Illinois,” said Evans. Today, Go Roma has six locations throughout the Chicagoland area. Average unit volumes are $1.3 million in a 2,500-3,000 square-foot retail space, which is achieved through a balanced business of lunch, dinner, catering and carry out.
Go Roma was founded in 2004, by Go Roma’s president, Drake, formerly a Corner Bakery operations executive, and Lettuce Entertain You senior management alumni, David Wolfgram, who share a passion for great Italian food. Go Roma is owned by Boudin Holdings, Inc., a portfolio company of GESD Capital Partners. Wolfgram is CEO of Go Roma and Boudin Holdings, Inc. GESD is a San Francisco-based private equity firm that funds consumer, restaurant and entertainment brands.