Marco’s leadership earns praise through the pandemic

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Under President and COO Tony Libardi, Marco’s leadership is leading the way for our pizza franchise and setting an example for the QSR industry

Tony Libardi stands in front of a Marco’s Pizza counter in an empty storefront. A stack of pizza boxes is on the counter behind him.
Marco’s President & COO Tony Libardi has been getting a lot of attention lately for his people-first, results-oriented leadership style.

Marco’s President and COO Tony Libardi’s leadership style has garnered a lot of attention lately, especially as Marco’s has achieved record-breaking sales during arguably the most challenging crisis the restaurant industry has ever faced.

Some of the tenets of his leadership style: 

  • Trust and confidence are key. 
  • Recognizing your own emotions in a stressful situation is crucial. 
  • Envisioning what the future holds, for yourself and the competition, is what will drive your brand forward. 

Thought leadership in Entrepreneur magazine

Entrepreneur magazine published an article written by Libardi explaining his five tips for facing a difficult challenge head-on. In one tip about detecting and addressing the emotions surrounding decision-making, Libardi writes, “Analyze with caution and remain at a strategic high level to avoid standing too close to the elephant — an analogy that I use to remind myself that getting too buried into any specific part of a problem hinders my ability to view it as a whole. To avoid this, I envision myself as a fly on the wall looking at the situation from a different perspective other than my own.”

QSR: Adapting and innovating

In QSR’s July issue, writer Sam Ochre recounts Libardi’s appearance on their Fast Forward podcast, during which he talked about how important it is now to keep pushing forward. During the pandemic, Marco’s was already adept at delivery and it was a relatively easy shift from carry-out to contact-free pickup. That helped our pizza chain achieve double-digit sales increases. 

Libardi believes the restaurant industry will be forever changed by the pandemic, but Marco’s is forging ahead. Marco’s is considering permanent operational changes to continue incorporating social distancing and contact-free delivery and pickup. Libardi thinks more automation is a natural progression for the industry, affecting everything from production and delivery to automatic doors that eliminate the need for touching germ-y door handles. And he referenced our recent opening of a 250-square-foot ghost kitchen test concept in Los Angeles that reduces operational costs. 

“We just have to continue to find ways to exploit what we do best and continue to innovate on what we do to outpace what the others (in the restaurant industry) will need to do to stay relevant,” he said.

Pizza Marketplace: Your business policies must be flexible

Pizza Marketplace interviewed Libardi about his leadership during the pandemic, and he spoke about the need for flexibility: “Listen, learn, adapt to what your consumers are saying because … I think there will be some policies and procedures and things that we can do systemwide, but I think there’s going to be some uniqueness,” Libardi said, referring to the individual characteristics of each community where stores are located. “Somebody that is living in Miami, Manhattan or some other of these municipalities that have been just devastated by the disease, are going to have different requirements based on what that consumer needs, compared to someone in a place that hasn’t experienced a whole lot of the disease.”

As a brand, Marco’s Pizza has been an integral part of people’s celebrations for over 40 years. Libardi has no intention of letting that change — even though we will be changing a lot about the way we do business. 

“There are so many little moments and little memories that are being created right now that may become that new future,” Libardi told Pizza MarketPlace. “We’re uniquely positioned to be in those special memory moments. And we just have to figure out how do we continue to be in them and more quickly be in them in the new paradigm that keeps people safe.”

Learn more about Marco’s franchise

You can read more about how Libardi shapes Marco’s leadership in Franchise Times and Inc. magazine. If you’d like to learn more about the franchise opportunities with Marco’s, we welcome you to fill out the form below to download our free Franchise Information Report.