Nation’s 4th-largest metro area offers unique market advantages for a pizza franchise
One bite of a Marco’s Pizza ® slice and it’s no surprise that it’s the fastest-growing pizza franchise in the U.S.: With dough made fresh every day, specially seasoned sauce, and a never-frozen three-cheese blend anchoring quality meat and vegetable toppings, Marco’s sets itself apart from the other chains.
That distinction presents an especially good opportunity in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, which is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country, with a combined population of about 7 million. That’s the potential for a lot of pies.
Justin Tarrant, the Area Representative in Dallas-Fort Worth, joined Marco’s four years ago after first tasting a Marco’s Pizza ® in his hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma. Today he and his business partner Mike Rogers own two stores and oversee 11 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with plans to buy another store and add three more franchisees by the end of the year.
What made you want to be an Area Representative for Marco’s?
I saw the opportunity of scale and size. Dallas-Fort Worth is a big market and it’s wide open. I saw that there is plenty of real estate opportunity here.
Why should you choose Marco’s over other pizza franchises in this market?
I think it comes down to the quality of the product. I was recently looking through the reviews for our territory and they all say the same things I thought on my first visit back in 2010 — the crust is like something you’ve never had before. It’s not bready, it’s handmade every day, and that sets us apart. Plus, I think our sauce is tangy, but not overpowering, and all the ingredients are fresh. Combined, all that makes the flavors really pop.
What are you doing to build the Marco’s name in this market? Do you have a marketing co-op?
We do not have a co-op, but we work closely with all of our franchisees. I believe presence is the biggest thing we can do. We get tons of drive-by customers, and they see our signs and know that we are growing. Whenever we open a new location, we blow it open like a carnival — bounce houses, giveaways, a real grand opening. That gains some awareness. We also do plenty of print marketing and local media. I push franchisees to get into the schools by doing fundraising, because that’s a great way for people to get to know our product. Corporate also helps us with their social media campaigns. We have a highly tech-heavy customer base; our web ordering percentage is higher than in most other markets, so that’s an area we want to tap.
What are the biggest advantages about locating in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market?
There are really good people here, and that means you can find good employees. We’ve been very fortunate in finding managers and employees that want to help us grow. Another advantage is that there are a lot of good pieces of real estate to locate a business. Also, the economy in the area is great; we didn’t see the big dip in 2008 that most of the country did.
What kind of locations work best for your units in this market?
We love end-caps (typically found at the end of a strip mall). We love pick-up windows. We’ve found that 1,800 square feet is a good size, because you can have some tables and seats. Even if those aren’t always utilized, when the customer walks in, they feel better with that extra space. That seems to pay off in going for the 1,800-square-foot location versus a 1,400-square-foot space.
What’s the biggest part of the business for your Marco’s franchisees — delivery, lunch, pick-up, dinner, etc.?
Dinner is biggest part of our business. For most stores, delivery is 50% to 60% of the business. There are a couple of stores that have more in-store dining — for instance, we have one franchisee who opened a 2,300-square-foot store with more seating and he’s made the inside very nice, very inviting to dine in. But he still runs 40% to 50% delivery. When it comes to pizza, most people want it delivered.
How large is the opportunity to grow with Marco’s in your market? Are you looking for single-unit or multi-unit owners?
We would love multi-unit owners, but we are looking at single-unit owners as well. It’s a tough business to get into, and if you don’t have the experience, starting with a single unit is great.
What kind of person do you think would enjoy owning a Marco’s franchise in this market?
Someone who is tired of the corporate world, tired of working for someone else. Someone who wants to take that risk and be their own boss. This works well for someone who gets bored with the same-old, same-old every day. Here, you might be out looking for a location one day, making pizza the next, working on marketing one day, then meeting with other franchisees and talking with them about what’s working for them. That’s one of the things I like most about it — it keeps it fun.
What’s the most important thing for a Marco’s franchise owner in your territory to know?
They need to understand that it’s up to them. They need to rely on their own skills. Corporate is great, we have people you can lean on to help you. And our product is great, it’s going to stand up and get the job done. But you have to follow the guidelines and manage it to get there. All the ingredients are there, but you have to work to make it a success.
What’s your favorite Marco’s menu item?
I love the Chicken Fresco. It has cheddar cheese in addition to the three-cheese blend, plus chicken, onions, bacon and tomatoes.
Learn more about Marco’s in Dallas-Fort Worth
If you’re interested in learning more about the Dallas-Fort Worth opportunities for owning a Marco’s Pizza ® franchise, we hope you’ll schedule a visit with Justin and share a Chicken Fresco pizza with him. He can tell you everything you want to know about the Marco’s opportunity in Dallas-Fort Worth. You can call, text or email Justin using the contact information below, or fill out the form at right to have someone get in touch with you.
Justin R. Tarrant
Dallas Area Representative
Marco’s Pizza ®