September 25, 2012 // Franchising.com // Annapolis, MD - Husband and wife partners, Michele and Gennaro DiMeo, owners of Maryland’s local phenomenon, Squisito® NY Pizza & Pasta, opened their first franchised location in July. The fast casual Italian franchise has joined forces with Fransmart, the franchise development company behind booming brands such as Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Qdoba Mexican Grill and zpizza, to develop their concept in strategically selected U.S. markets.
The first franchise location in Burtonsville, MD is owned by John Minnick, a retiree from U.S. Homeland Security. After retiring Minnick was not expecting to end up as a restaurant owner, but after stopping in to see one of Squisito’s corporate stores he decided the model was solid enough to allow him to reconsider. Minnick took his retirement money and “made an investment in himself”, something he says he would recommend to anyone. The success of the Squisito Burtonsville store has been overwhelming, better than he or the franchisors could have predicted. Minnick explains, “We were having a soft opening for family and friends, and people were just walking in to our soft opening. After awhile, we couldn’t turn them away – so we began selling the night of our soft opening.”
Michele DiMeo, who along with her husband visits the store often, says, “Since opening, Burtonsville has consistently been our top performing store sales-wise,” and notes that they’ve reached this level of traffic with virtually no marketing yet.
Minnick goes on to say, “The concept, the location, and the support of the franchisors are what have made us successful”. He and the DiMeos have a seemingly flawless franchisee/franchisor relationship, and he acknowledges that they’ve held his hand through the entire process, since before construction even began on the Burtonsville location. “To say they’ve been supportive would be an understatement.”
John Minnick has found great success so far with his venture in the restaurant business. He says of the future, “I would love to open more Squisitos, I love this concept. Michele and Gennaro know the restaurant industry, they know what works and they know how to get from Point A to Point B. I lean on them all the time – they’ve gone way beyond what I could have hoped for as a franchisee.”
Squisito® NY Pizza & Pasta is a restaurant franchise developed by the Monte Restaurant Development Group, owned by Michele and Gennaro DiMeo. The franchise currently has 7 locations open around the greater Annapolis area, and has acquired a strong following in their local communities, for which they are looking to utilize to expand in the surrounding areas.
Their menu consists of authentic Italian meals, and delicious NY-style pizzas, made from family recipes that owner Gennaro DiMeo brought over with him from his hometown in Southern Italy. Each restaurant features an open kitchen layout, where customers can watch as all meals are made fresh daily, using only the highest quality ingredients. Making all the meals this way allows customers to have a more custom experience, and also allows more flexibility to accommodate people with allergies or dietary needs.
They are consistently voted as one of the “Best Pizza Places” in the local publications, and were named by Bay Weekly as “Best Italian Food”.