Marco’s Pizza Franchise Offers Owners Nontraditional Ways to Expand

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Creative financing, innovative locations and partnering with other businesses draw people to the growing pizza franchise

Marco’s Pizza franchise was ranked No. 95 on Entrepreneur magazine’s prestigious Franchise 500 list in 2015.

Marco’s Pizza is gaining new ground by cultivating fresh approaches to common franchising issues.

We are forming creative and innovative partnerships with other businesses to forge ahead. In 2012, we hooked up with Family Videos.

Marco’s Pizza began locating stores right next to Family Videos, and then having an order window cut into the movie store. People are now able to grab a favorite flick and their favorite food all in one place. Those getting pizza deliveries can also order a movie for delivery, and a deliverer can also pick up movies to return to the store.

“We could not be more pleased with the joint success of our innovative partnership,” says Bryon Stephens, President and COO of Marco’s Pizza. “With its unique property ownership model and service-oriented culture, joining forces with Family Video has been a seamless venture that has enabled us to expedite our expansion plans while further setting Marco’s Pizza apart in the burgeoning pizza segment.”

As the only national pizza franchise founded by a native Italian, Marco’s Pizza has made a name in the burgeoning pizza industry by producing fresh, handmade pizza. We are known for our fresh dough made daily on site, our proprietary three-cheese blend that is fresh and never-frozen, and a secret sauce recipe. Marco’s was ranked No. 95 on Entrepreneur magazine’s prestigious Franchise 500 list in 2015.

Another partnership has been emerging as Marco’s Pizza franchisees look for innovative places to set up shop.

Franchise Business Review included Marco’s in its Top 200 ranking in 2014. The ranking evaluates franchise systems for franchisee satisfaction based on interviews with hundreds of owners with more than 350 companies.

Franchises find high-traffic places for stores

With a footprint of about 1,400 square feet, Marco’s Pizza franchises can pop up in lots of settings.

One franchisee opened a Marco’s Pizza inside the clubhouse of MeadowBrook Golf Course in Rapid City, South Dakota, replacing a steakhouse that was once there. In Atlanta, a pizza franchisee located at Ashford Druid Hills Apartments.

In 2014, a franchisee opened a restaurant within a hotel. Bryon says the location in the hotel was so successful that it attained average weekly sales that were double the chain-wide average.

“The influx of dine-in guests from the hotel and delivery services to the guest rooms was a natural extension of the business and so while the location was innovative, the restaurant’s ‘community’ business extended to include hotel guests,” says Bryon.

Marco’s creates companies for franchisee financing

Passionate for pizza store ownership, but unsure about financing? Marco’s Pizza offers options for funding, especially during difficult economic times.

In 2007, we realized that traditional banking sources might not be available for those wanting to own a Marco’s Pizza. Unwilling to wait around for others to solve that problem, Marco’s Pizza created Marco’s Assurance, a capital leasing company that offers $50,000 guarantee on franchisee loans. This offers banks reassurance that they would not get left holding the bag in case of default or shortage, Bryon says.

The pizza franchise put capital on the line for potential franchisees by forming the leasing company, and backed up its belief in the brand by guaranteeing loans so that franchisees could still finance and open new locations. Franchisees would put down a 25 percent down payment or deposit, and Marco’s Assurance would lease them the rest of the store and all the depreciable assets.

For those looking for traditional loans, Marco’s Pizza formed a venture capital fund, Marco’s Capital, to make pure equity investments in franchise stores.

Bryon says this shows franchisees that, “We’re willing to bet on you.”

Learn more about Marco’s Pizza

For in-depth details about the Marco’s franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.


If you’re dreaming of owning a pizza franchise, or even several at once, Marco’s may be the perfect place for you to thrive.

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