The Founder’s Story
What does it mean for Marco’s Pizza franchise to be “authentic Italian?”
Marco’s Pizza franchise founder Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco understands better than most what makes for an authentic Italian pizza. It’s not about a certain thickness of crust or a particular combination of toppings; it’s about using the best, freshest ingredients available. It’s about making something you’d be proud to serve to your mother. Simply put, it’s about celebrating good food with people you love. That’s the beauty of a delivery pizza – in a busy and hectic world, a family can slow down and spend time enjoying each other’s company.
Pat was just 9 when his family moved from Italy to make a new home in Toledo, Ohio, in 1966, but Pat always remembered the wonderful food he grew up with in his native country.
“In Italy, they take pride in what they serve, whether you go to a restaurant or to someone’s house. In Europe, if they don’t like your food, they’ll throw it back in your face,” says Pat.
His father made a career in the restaurant business in the U.S., and Pat followed in his footsteps. In 1978, he opened his first Marco’s. He had expanded to 112 restaurants by 2004 when he first met our current CEO Jack Butorac. Jack, who had decades of experience marketing food franchises and bringing them to market nationally, had a much larger vision. Jack started in 2003 as a consultant and soon bought the Marco’s Pizza franchise rights, with an eye toward national expansion.
He pulled together an impressive team of managers, many with decades of food franchise experience at brands like Domino’s, Little Caesars and Papa John’s. The team understood how to grow a franchise brand that delights customers and how to build a profitable business model for franchisees.
Business has been booming ever since, and today there are hundreds of stores in the United States and three other countries, and we’re still growing by leaps and bounds. One of the keys to our success is the combination of the best ingredients with a passion for making a great pizza, every time.
“Besides the freshness and the quality, there’s a bit of an art to making sure it’s prepared properly, baked properly, packaged properly and serviced properly,” says Pat. “When you put it all together, that’s why we beat our competitors. You can’t just lower your prices. That gets them in the door one or two times, but if they’re not happy with the product, they’re not going to come back.”
The idea for Marco’s was to produce a consistently high-quality pizza to keep customers coming back, and it had to be good enough for someone with an authentic Italian heritage to be proud of.
“I eat pizza almost every day,” says our Italian-born founder. “I’m proud to serve my pizza to anyone who comes here from Italy.”
Even so, pizza has become a quintessential American food.
“I think Americans love pizza — and burgers and hot dogs and tacos and chicken. I don’t think people will ever get tired of pizza. Whoever does a better job of making it will outsell the others.”