A Day in the Life of a Marco’s Franchisee
From dough-making to closing up for the night, here’s how one Marco’s franchisee’s day looks
Although his Franklin, TN, store doesn’t open until 11 a.m., Marco’s franchisee Stuart Field likes to get going around 9 a.m. He starts out his day from his home office, checking email, corresponding with his accountant and working on his budget.
Afterward, he drives to work with a goal of being at the store by 9:30 or 10 a.m. He keeps that time flexible to allow himself a chance to do a little marketing along the commute.
“On the way, if I notice something new going on, I might stop and introduce myself,” Stu says. A growing slice of Marco’s revenue comes from fundraisers, school lunch programs, catering and other non-residential sales. As a Marco’s franchisee, Stu is visible and known in his community, and networking helps his sales.
One recent day, he noticed the opening of a new hotel in the neighborhood. “I introduced myself to the manager, dropped off menus and coupons and gave the employees a deal on ordering pizza,” he says. The visit paid off — guests now order delivery pizza and the staff recommends Marco’s for catering.
Once he’s in the store, his team starts prepping for the lunch rush. Stu employs an average of 10-15 team members and 4-6 drivers. In addition, he has a store manager, which makes it possible for him to have normal working hours. He and his manager almost always work the rush hours together and stagger other times of the week.
The team cuts up fresh vegetables and sets out bins of premium meats, fresh cheeses and the newly sliced vegetables along the assembly table.
Fresh dough balls prepared the afternoon before are waiting in a special proofing cabinet, which keeps the humidity and temperature at just the right levels.
When orders come in from walk-ins, telephone calls or the website, team members flatten a dough ball using a dough sheeter, which helps spread out the dough, then hand-toss it to make a perfect crust. They then ladle on Marco’s sauce and add the toppings.
Once a pizza is ready, it’s popped onto the conveyor belt for a 6-minute ride in the oven at 425 degrees for a perfect pie. Orders are stacked in warming carriers for delivery drivers to whisk out the door. “Our goal is to be out the door in 19 minutes,” Stu says.
Other team members are working the counter, taking orders and sometimes directing customers to the adjacent dining area, where Stu recently added new seating. During lunch, this helps increase sales because so many office workers prefer to eat outside rather than order a pizza in to their office. Because he can make a pizza so quickly, his customers can get in and out in less than 45 minutes.
“People are very time-crunched during lunch, and the conception is it will take 15 to 20 minutes to get a pizza. People that know us know we’ll have it ready in 10 minutes for pick-up,” Stu says.
The lunch rush dies down around 2 p.m., and Stu and his team spend the next three hours doing prep work. They prepare Marco’s special tomato sauce and chop fresh bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. They make a new batch of dough, adding bags of special spring wheat flour to a large mixer with just the right amount of filtered water until the giant dough hook brings the batch to the right consistency.
The dough is dumped out onto a large wooden prep table. Workers use pastry knives with an expert eye, cutting away the perfect amount to be patted into a ball that’s placed on a pan and stacked in a warm place to rise. After rising, each ball of dough is punched down, brushed with oil, covered with plastic wrap and placed in the proofer, taking 8-12 hours to rise and be ready to be made into the perfect pizza pie the next day.
Dinner picks up just before 5 p.m. — or a little later in the summertime. Everyone stops whatever he or she is doing to handle the rush, which typically lasts until around 8:30 p.m.
Because each Marco’s location has a territory that only includes a 10-minute or less delivery time, drivers make multiple trips and often meet or exceed the half-hour delivery time goal.
“That’s the nice thing about this business,” says Stu. “You know when you’re going to be busy.”
After the rush and handling whatever late orders come in, there’s cleaning up and restocking. The store closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday so it can accommodate late night orders and catering jobs.
Throughout the day, the phone rings with customers placing orders, and more often than you might expect, they call just to compliment the staff on how great the pizza is and say thank you for how quickly it was delivered.
“When I first opened, the phone would ring after we delivered a pizza,” said Stu, a 20-year veteran of the pizza industry. “I was expecting it to be a customer complaining because we made a mistake, but shockingly, they called to say how much they loved the pizza. In fact, in our opening week, we received over 70 positive phone calls and almost no complaints. It’s a great business to own.”