Marco’s Pizza Franchise gets Great Press From ‘Undercover Boss’

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Fast-growing pizza franchise enjoys increased recognition after an appearance on CBS’ Emmy-winning reality series

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Marco’s Pizza® franchise is still riding the wave of great news coverage following President and Chief Operating Officer Bryon Stephens’ undercover stint as a bearded employee named “Jay” during a special episode of Undercover Boss that aired Jan. 29 on CBS. The episode has been picked up by numerous online and print news outlets, such as the Las Vegas Review Journal and The Toledo Blade. Broadcast news channels also covered the show. Toledo CBS affiliate WTOL 11 publicized our live viewing party in downtown Toledo, where the red carpet was rolled out for local residents eagerly awaiting Marco’s Pizza and Bryon’s appearance on Undercover Boss.

The episode also won its timeslot in the ratings on Jan. 29 with 8.1 million viewers and had the second-highest overall viewership for the day. The exposure was productive for Marco’s Pizza, as well. Our website and mobile traffic on Jan. 29 was eight times greater than was typical. More than 400 franchise leads were generated in the week after the episode aired, and more than 7,000 customers joined our eClub through a promotion tied to the Undercover Boss show.

Marco’s Pizza president goes undercover

Undercover Boss is an Emmy-winning show, now in its seventh season, that follows high-level corporate executives as they slip anonymously into the rank-and-file of their own companies. Bryon went undercover as new employee “Jay” Stephens, spending time at four company locations in Dallas, Charlotte and Orlando, Fla. A local segment was filmed while Stephens worked a loading dock alongside another employee at Marco’s Pizza’s distribution center in Maumee. Bryon says the experience “was an incredible journey for me, both personally and professionally, and it resulted in some significant, company-wide changes.”

One of those changes is a new policy requiring all Marco’s corporate employees to work on-site at a store one day a year in order to stay connected to store management and employees.

“Our mission is for Marco’s Pizza to be the pizza of choice, the employer of choice and the business partner of choice,” Bryon says. “Everything we do revolves around that mission. Being on Undercover Boss provided a golden opportunity to get an inside look from the perspective of the employee, the franchisee and the customer. The discoveries I made during the journey were eye-opening.”

Marco’s Pizza is rapidly expanding across the country

Marco’s has enjoyed significant growth in recent years and is on pace to have 1,000 restaurants open by the end of 2017. The dynamic pizza franchise rolled out 113 new franchises in 2015 and has recently announced plans to open 150 more locations in 2016. Marco’s Pizza also has the fastest unit growth, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, which named the beloved pizza franchise as part of its Second 100 List. That list analyzes businesses that are smaller but are focusing on growing around the nation.


“We are opening new stores at a fast pace,” Bryon says. “Going undercover afforded me the unprecedented opportunity to expose issues and address them so that we can continue to grow smart. I also came away from this journey with an indelible sense of pride in our employees on the front lines. When it boils down to it, it’s about our product and the hardworking people behind it.”

Build your success on ours

Founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1978, Marco’s has become the fastest-growing large pizza franchise in the nation. Our homemade recipes and fresh ingredients are in the Italian tradition, and we are the only top 20 pizza franchise in the country that was founded by a native Italian. We are led by veteran pizza executives who have experience growing brands and supporting franchisees as they grow their businesses.

Learn more about Marco’s Pizza

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