Marco’s franchise review: Area Representative of the Year Matt Baker

Cleveland, OH, franchisee and Area Rep divulges his secrets for success with Marco’s Pizza franchises

A pizza topped with tomatoes and other vegetables rests on a wooden cutting board. Whole unchopped vegetables including onions, garlic, olives, tomatoes and cheese are in the background.

Marco’s Pizza maintains the consistent high standards across the franchise system thanks to the hard work of Area Representatives like Matt Baker.

The key to success, says Matt Baker, is surrounding yourself with good people and helping them grow into leadership positions. It’s one of the big reasons the Marco’s Pizza Area Representative has done so well for himself. That, and perhaps the fact that Marco’s Pizza is the only company he’s ever worked for. “I’ve been an Area Rep for seven years, and a franchisee for about 14 years or so,” Baker says. “I’ve worked for this company since the 1980s when I was a teenager. It’s the only job I’ve ever known.”

Baker worked his way up to corporate supervisor in the Cleveland market and eventually became a franchisee. Today, he and his business partners, Mike Jaynes and Ashley Lepke, are the Area Reps for 10 stores in the Cleveland territory. In this Marco’s franchise review, Baker talks about his experience with one of the fastest growing pizza franchises nationwide.

What were the things that led to you winning the award for Area Representative of the Year?

I guess it’s because we try and support our franchisees as much as possible. And we have always upheld Marco’s high standards in our territory. We have always made sure our people are on top of training and attaining key results and achieving five-star scores.

Tell me about your Marco’s stores.

We have 10. I’ve got a really good Operations Field Consultant who is also in charge of helping set the standards in the stores. We have high levels of communication, and we give a lot of support that enables us to expect a lot out of the franchisees. If they need anything, we’re there.

What are your goals for growth?

We have two more stores planned to develop in 2019, and from there, if any other opportunities present themselves, we are going to go ahead and grow further.

What makes Marco’s Pizza a good investment? Why Marco’s Pizza as opposed to another brand?

It’s the product quality. Even when times get tough as far as commodities markets, we don’t skimp on our product quality.

We also focus on employee engagement. We have a system called Marco’s University that gets employees engaged and is a top-notch training program. Money isn’t always everything to employees; it’s about engagement and how they feel about their employer. People can jump ship for 50 cents more an hour, but if they feel engaged they’ll stay on a little longer. To be able to increase the average employee tenure from 8 months to 14 months, that’s a big win.

What do you look for in a franchisee?

We look for franchisees that want to be hands on, that want to be operators. They want to commit to being in their store and running their store vs. a franchisee who thinks, “Hey, I’m going to buy a Marco’s Pizza and hire a GM and collect a paycheck.” I like my franchisees to be involved. They may not be running a shift or making fresh dough and cutting green peppers every day, but they’re in there as a full-time operator.

How does HQ help you? What are some of the most valuable things they do to support you?

Each Area Representative has a Franchise Business Leader (FBL), and the FBL does a regular business review and talks to them about how they’re doing. We have lots of support staff at our corporate office from operations to accounting to training and support.

Knowing what you know now, if you were starting out today, would you still become a Marco’s Pizza franchisee?

I would. The way I’ve grown with the brand, I’ve been able to do it at a pace that was right for me. I had a lot of mentors I learned from along the way. I value every hurdle and every person I’ve worked with. You gain a little bit from everybody.

Learn more about the Marco’s franchise opportunity

Download our franchise report for in-depth details about the Marco’s Pizza business opportunity. You can also learn more by exploring our pizza franchise research pages or read more Marco’s franchise reviews in our recent feature articles.