CFO Buddy Solomon discusses commitment to excellence as one of the fastest growing pizza franchises advances towards joining the ranks of the industry’s top players
As Marco’s Pizza®’ prepares to double in size, CFO Buddy Solomon is helping to shepherd that growth and ensure that our infrastructure adequately supports our expansion. Our status as one of the fastest growing pizza brands in the U.S. is gaining the attention of business publications nationwide, including The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the largest newspaper in the United States by circulation, who recently spotlighted our brand through an interview with Buddy.
Buddy, who was appointed CFO of Marco’s earlier this year, was recently interviewed by WSJ reporter Max Murphy as part of the business publication’s “CFO Journal” series. As we continue to move toward edging out competitors Papa Murphy’s and Papa John’s for the position as fourth largest pizza company in the U.S., we will need to invest in better technology to support our sales and marketing systems as well as strengthen employee incentive programs, Buddy told the WSJ.
Marco’s Pizza prides itself on making the best delivery pizza money can buy, and our growth is testament to our devoted fans nationwide. Marco’s Pizza is handmade in the Italian tradition, using fresh, never-frozen cheeses, making the dough by hand in stores daily and using only premium meats and vegetables. Founded in Toledo in 1978, Marco’s is the only Top 20 pizza chain founded by a native Italian. Our pizza franchise has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years and is on pace to have 1,000 restaurants open by the end of 2017.
The WSJ interview showcased Marco’s as a strategic brand not simply content to grow for the sake of growth, but one that is ensuring steps are taken to support franchisees in the midst of that growth.
Marco’s franchisees are among the most satisfied in the nation and we’re working hard to keep it that way
Customers love the fresh authentic Italian flavor you can only find at Marco’s Pizza, and in fact, many of our franchisees were customers first. Once they are on the other side of the counter they also love being part of our franchise system. In fact, our franchisees rank as one of the most satisfied nationwide, according to Franchise Business Review (FBR)’s recently released FBR50 – Franchisee Satisfaction Awards. This annual rating is often considered to be the go-to guide for entrepreneurs in the pursuit to find a standout franchise investment opportunity.
In order to stay ahead, you have to continually plan ahead and Buddy told the WSJ that one of his goals is to improve and expand Marco’s benefits programs as a way to boost employee morale. Although most traditional CFOs strictly manage numbers, Buddy’s more than three decades of experience in the restaurant industry, as well as in media and technology, give him a more holistic strategy that goes beyond figures.
“By engaging employees through a culture of accountability, companies can create systems at the speed needed to get desired team results,” Buddy noted in a recent Digital Journal article. “As Marco’s Pizza continues to grow its footprint at an accelerated rate, the infrastructure must keep up to support this rapid growth. I will put my energies into strengthening the framework that the brand can grow around, including everything from technology to financing sources to human talent.”
Our easily scalable concept is closing in on 800 new stores for 2016
Our proven business model and sustainable growth is highly regarded by consumers and national media, as well as our franchisees. The scalability of our franchise makes it easy for many Marco’s franchisees to own multiple units.
We also offer a relatively low initial investment, making it feasible to open more than one location. Restaurants range in size from 1,400 square feet to 1,600 square feet, which is a smaller operation with lower overhead than some other restaurant chains. Startup costs range from $224,092 to $549,092.
Our growth is racking up recognition. Marco’s moved up on this year’s annual Franchise Times ranking, rising from 180th in 2015 to 160th. The Times also ranked franchise brands by top sales and unit growth. Marco’s made the top 10 list for each, coming in at 9th (with 23.5% growth) on the Top 10 Sales Growth by Percentage list, and 5th (with 17.8% growth) on the Top 10 Unit Growth by Percentage list.