What it really means to be a people-first pizza franchise

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Multi-unit owner Joe Walker of Columbia, South Carolina, delivers a heartfelt message in this new Marco’s Pizza video

Joe Walker has been a Marco’s Pizza franchisee since 2011. He has always embraced our people-first philosophy. But when his hometown of Columbia, SC, was hit with a devastating flood in 2015, he put Marco’s leadership to the test.

“We were struck by a natural disaster, a flood, a thousand-year flood, that affected tens of thousands of residents of my community, a community that is my home,” Walker says on the video. “I remember being on a coordination call with our President & COO, Tony Libardi, and I said, ‘Tony, you gotta understand, we have to get product to these stores, not to sell, but to feed this community.’ And I’ll never forget it, he said, ‘Joe, if it takes a helicopter, it’s coming.’ And he bore that burden and got us the supplies that we needed to pump out thousands and thousands of free pizzas to give away to prop up a community that was hurting.”

People-first, long before 2020

Marco’s Pizza franchisee Joe Walker stands behind the counter at one of his pizza franchise locations, with digital menu boards visible overhead.
JOE WALKER

Franchisees like Walker represent the kind of exceptional leaders we’re looking for in our franchise partners. Marco’s truly believes in putting people first. We put our franchisees first, and they put our guests first. That’s why we’re one of the fastest-growing pizza franchises in the nation.

“As a people-first, service-oriented business, we remain open for delivery and carryout to serve our mission of making a positive difference in the community,” Libardi wrote in an open letter to consumers as the pandemic was bearing down.

As you can see from Walker’s video, of course, we embraced that philosophy long before the global crisis of 2020, and we’ll continue to stress that value long after 2020 is an unpleasant memory.

Marco’s has nearly 1,000 franchise units, and we’ve earned a lot of recognition in recent years, including being ranked No. 4 on Forbes’ Best Franchises to Buy in the 2019 Medium Investment category;  No. 83 on Entrepreneur’s 2020 Franchise 500 ranking; No. 2 on Entrepreneur’s 2018 Top 200 Food and Restaurant Franchises in the pizza segment; and No. 8 on the Military Times Best Franchises 2018 list.

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