Paciugo Gelato & Caffè and Minority-Owned MBC Concessions Form Strategic Alliance

Industry Leaders Join Forces to Bring Traditional Italian Gelato to U.S. Airport Destinations

March 17, 2010 // Franchising.com // Dallas, Texas – Paciugo Gelato & Caffè, a family-owned and operated franchisor of authentic Italian gelato shops, has entered into a strategic alliance with MBC Concessions, Inc., an established airport concessionaire with more than 15 years in quality airport operations experience.

The partnership will help fuel the continued growth of the Paciugo Gelato & Caffè brand to now include commercial airports across all 48 contiguous states. With this new partnership, MBC Concessions plans on making strategic alliances with prime and/or minority owned concessionaires to strategically place Paciugo gelaterias in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and beyond.

"It is an exciting time at Paciugo and we are honored to align ourselves with MBC, a company known for representing the best brands in airport concessions, to help grow our brand in airports across the nation," said Ugo Ginatta, co-founder of Paciugo Gelato & Caffè. "The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson location will be the first of many opportunities for Paciugo and MBC Concessions to work together to introduce more and more airport travelers to our award winning gelato."

Since becoming a member of the elite league of airport concessionaires at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, MBC has operated seven different concepts, including Freshens Yogurt, TCBY Yogurt, and currently operates Nature's Table Bistro in the international Concourse E.

MBC President and CEO Lucian Dillingham believes Paciugo Gelato & Caffè is the coming of a new type of frozen dessert. "During my 16 years of operating various frozen dessert concepts, Paciugo is the most exciting concept that I have ever seen. With the rise of American consumer craze about healthy frozen treats, a rich and creamy Italian favorite is certain to refresh the airport scene with Paciugo Gelato & Caffè led by MBC Concessions, Inc."

Dillingham, who is an award-winning brand operator and expert in concept presentation, recognizes Paciugo's potential trend-setting appeal through its fresh ingredients and meticulous merchandising. He added, "Paciugo's merchandising expertise of the concept is beyond belief. The traveling public doesn't come to an airport to eat – they come to fly. But Paciugo Gelato & Caffè will reverse that trend because of the impulse that is generated once the product is seen and tasted."

The partnership announcement comes on the heels of Paciugo Gelato & Caffè's growth forecast that calls for 100 new franchises by the end of 2010. The airport expansion strategy complements the company's plans to open franchised retail gelato shops in select areas throughout the Eastern Seaboard, California and company core markets in Texas.

Paciugo Gelato & Caffè handcrafts gelato flavors each morning in small batches using only the finest and freshest ingredients, such as hand-squeezed fruit juices and seasonal fruit from local farmers, ultra-premium chocolate from Belgium, and hazelnuts, pistachios and candied Amarene cherries from Italy. In addition to its award-winning gelato, the menu features all-natural, Fair Trade, 100% Arabica coffees, premium hot chocolate and a variety of hot and cold specialty drinks that combine gelato with coffee and other beverages.

About Paciugo Gelato & Caffè

Paciugo Gelato & Caffè was founded in 2000 when Ugo, Cristiana and Vincenzo Ginatta, inspired by their passion to bring authentic Italian gelato to customers outside of Europe, moved to Dallas, Texas and opened their first gelateria. Since then, the company has grown to 41 franchised locations across the United States and Mexico. Each Paciugo Gelato & Caffè offers over 30 flavors of gelato that are handcrafted with love every morning at each neighborhood location. Cristiana has developed more than 300 recipes, including flavors ranging from Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel, Blackberry Cabernet, Tiramisù, and Fondente Extra Dark Chocolate to more unusual flavors like Banana Beet and Black Pepper Olive Oil. The menu also includes all-natural, Fair Trade, 100% Arabica coffee and espresso-based drinks, as well as gelato-based specialty desserts.

About MBC Concessions, Inc.

MBC Concessions, Inc. is a Minority DBE Certified food & beverage operation based in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport since 1994. Celebrating more than16 years experience in airport concessions, MBC's award-winning performance has earned the company a nationwide reputation as a well sought-after operations partner for fresh, innovative brands.

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