New store design for Marco’s Pizza franchises combines modern look, significant savings on buildout

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Milan design package has received great feedback from guests — but franchisees might be even more excited by the savings

A look at the new Milan store design package that Marco’s Pizza is now rolling out. This image shows an ordering counter that has a solid white countertop and white subway tiles on the side, and a black and white Marco’s logo. Pst the counter, you see shelves holding pizza boxes as well as the kitchen. To the left, you see the dining area, featuring chairs and tables that are a light-colored wood. Beyond the tables is a mural showing black and white photos of historic Marco’s Pizza locations as well as products. An oak-color wood floor ties the room together.
A look at the new Milan store design package that Marco’s Pizza is now rolling out.

Marco’s Pizza has begun rolling out a new store design inspired by the sleek, modern designs of Milan, Italy, and the early reviews have been outstanding. Customers describe the new look of the pizza franchises as fresh, current, and inviting. But the benefits are more than skin-deep. The Milan design is also value-engineered to create dramatic cost savings on the buildout of a store.

The view from the dining area provides a better look behind the counter, where metal prep tables are visible. Pictures near the entrance also show the essential ingredients for a great pizza: dough, sauce, cheese.
The view from the dining area.

Our goal was twofold — boost revenue by creating a comfortable space for guests, and help franchisees further boost their bottom line by reducing startup costs. Our goal is to reduce average startup costs by about $100,000 over the next couple of years. Here’s how:

Task force combines style with simplicity

Last year, Marco’s Pizza formed a task force to study all of the costs that go into opening new Marco’s Pizza franchises and look for potential cost savings. Our operations team, design team, and kitchen team looked at every dollar franchisees spend, and looked for opportunities to reduce those expenses without impacting guest experience, product quality, or efficiency.

A few examples of savings:

  • Reducing the amount (and variety) of tile. Simplifying the tilework saved costs on materials, but the more significant savings come from labor. Installing tile and doing all the mortar and grout work can be time-intensive. 
  • Ceiling options. Open ceilings have been popular for the past decade, but they’re no longer a point-of-difference that stands out to customers, and — counterintuitively — they can add a lot of expense, since all of the exposed ducting and plumbing needs to be made attractive through a lot of careful custom painting. Drop ceilings solve those challenges and save a lot of money. Franchisees still have the option for exposed ceilings, but depending on the location, this could be a great place to reduce their costs.
  • Vendor negotiations. Re-evaluating everything that goes into stores also provided a great opportunity to negotiate prices with vendors. We are continuously searching for quality materials at the lowest possible cost.
  • Store size. We also expect to reduce the average square footage for new build-outs. This will vary somewhat by market, because some cities have a higher percentage of dine-in customers. Overall, we’re looking for 1,400- to 1,600-square foot spaces going forward. 

Learn more

To learn more about the startup costs and financial performance of Marco’s locations, fill out the form below to download our Free Franchise Information Report. The report includes key data from our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document. We’ll be in touch to answer your questions.