Financing Not a Barrier for Nation's Fastest-Growing Pizza Company

Major Dough to Grow: Bank Approves $7.5 Million Expansion Fund for Marco's Pizza

July 22, 2010 // Franchising.com // TOLEDO, OHIO - Bucking the trend of an incredibly tight credit market, Marco's Pizza announced today it has been approved to receive up to $7.5 million for existing and prospective franchisees in funding from Main Street Bank of San Antonio, TX to continue its impressive growth spurt nationwide.

Marco's Pizza, the fastest-growing pizza company in the United States, will strategically work with their franchise system to allocate the funds to help those franchisees who want to open new locations but don't have the capital. Recipients of this financing must own at least one Marco's Pizza, or one unit of another franchise brand.

With this $7.5-million, Marco's is able to open an additional 30 to 50 franchise units, much faster. Franchisees can get approval for the funds in as little as one to two weeks, versus up to six months through other traditional financing options. Marco's Pizza Area Representatives, who open a combination of their own stores, as well as sell franchises to others in the region, can tap into the fund to expedite growth in their territories.

"Even with good credit scores and previous business ownership, the current terms and conditions of traditional financing can make it challenging to open a franchise," said Ken Switzer, Marco's Chief Financial Officer. "Now, we can help franchisees of other brands that have been wanting into the Marco's Pizza business with the much-needed financing, as well as help some of our own franchisees who desire another location, but have been slowed by the credit crunch."

Marco's Pizza, with more than 215 stores in 17 states and in the Bahamas, already is on the fast track for growth with 1,000 stores in development and 60 new locations set to open in 2010 alone. Founded in 1978 by Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco, an Italian immigrant, Marco's Pizza offers carryout, delivery, dine-in and online ordering services. The menu features the company's Ah!thentic Italian pizza, Cheezybread, chicken wings, fresh-baked subs, meatballs, salads, soft drinks and more.

This new fund complements three financing programs created by Marco's Pizza during the recession: a leasing program that will finance up to $200,000 in opening costs; a $5 million private equity fund for new stores in which Marco's invests up to $100,000 per restaurant; and the formation of a subsidiary called Marco's Assurance that provides a limited guarantee of bank loans to franchisees and pays to relocate certain stores.

CEO Jack Butorac attributes the success of Marco's to having always focused on its product first: fresh, authentic Italian pizza. "We use fresh cheese (never frozen), dough made fresh in stores daily and a family secret sauce recipe," Butorac said. "These practices ensure the Italian freshness and quality standards on which the Marco's brand was founded. The strength of the product will continue to allow us to attract top-notch talent at the corporate level, as well as new franchise partners and investors."

About Marco's Franchising, LLC

Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco's Pizza (Marco's Franchising, LLC) is the fastest-growing pizza company in the U.S. (based on the number of stores signed into development since 2007). Marco's was founded in 1978 by Pasquale ("Pat") Giammarco and is committed to making Ah!thentic Italian pizza with fresh ingredients. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate more than 215 stores in 17 states and the Bahamas. Marco's is now recognized as one of the top-performing restaurant franchises in the country.

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