Feeding heroes on South Carolina’s front line

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Marco’s franchisee teams up with Gamecocks football coach to help make sure healthcare workers are taken care of

University of South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp was stuck at home, talking with his wife about how they could help the doctors, nurses and other medical workers fighting COVID-19 on the front line. Marco’s Pizza franchise owner Joe Walker was at his restaurant, pivoting to contact-free delivery and curbside pick-up only.

Then the two long-time friends decided to put their resources together, along with the Central Carolina Community Foundation, to form a nonprofit called Feed Our Heroes. Uproxx Sports wrote about their noble efforts online recently, interviewing them about their work providing meals to healthcare workers twice a week at six local hospitals.

“I’ve known Joe since we’ve been here in Columbia, and he’s a go get ‘em kind of guy,” Muschamp told Uproxx. “Very active in our community and cares about our community, so I just called him up with the idea of Marco’s Pizza — and you think about the number of hours these people are working, to be able to have them feed them and taken care of as best we can. It’s a very small gesture but something to help and to just say thank you. Joe ran with it from there, I just kind of called him up and donated some money to hopefully help out.”

Marco’s Pizza is the official pizza of the Gamecocks, and Walker realized he already had a great platform and great relationship in place to execute on an even broader plan.

Walker continued, “When Will reached out with his and (his wife) Carol’s idea of donating a significant amount of money to feed healthcare workers across our region … I suggested to Will that we use his funding not just as a one time feeding, but to seed a foundation through the Central Carolina Community Foundation here in South Carolina. Thereby we can perpetuate the feeding and allow Marco’s and potentially other restaurants in the region to continue feeding these healthcare workers and really use their dollars at the beginning of a much larger program rather than a one-time opportunity.”

Marco's Pizza franchise owner Joe Walker
Joe Walker

Our people-first culture

President and COO Tony Libardi has helped pave the way for such acts of kindness by encouraging and supporting Marco’s franchisees in our 950 units nationwide to do whatever they can to help their communities. “The health and well-being of Marco’s employees, guests and community remains our No. 1 priority as the company adapts and innovates to continue to service the nation in a time of need,” he wrote in an open letter to consumers.

Walker, who owns 20 Marco’s units in the Carolinas and Virginia, told Uproxx that Marco’s leadership has been working hard to keep franchise owners apprised of the latest coronavirus developments with weekly phone calls to review employee safety policies and discuss ways to better serve consumers. 

“Our employees take pride in the store level,” he told the media outlet. “It really is inspiring to watch the Marco’s community come together in a time of crisis.”

Learn more about Marco’s franchise

We believe in our people, and we believe we’ll come out on the other side of this pandemic stronger than ever. If you’d like to learn more about the franchise opportunities with Marco’s, we welcome you to download the Marco’s Pizza Franchise Information Report to learn more about our brand and how we stand out in the thriving pizza marketplace.