Russo's Restaurants Fast-Tracks U.S., International Expansion
Houston-Based Italian Concept Achieves Historic Growth, Company Looks Ahead to New Year
December 18, 2013 // Franchising.com // HOUSTON - Russo's Restaurants, the family of dining concepts that includes Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, announced today plans to significantly enhance the brands' U.S. and international presence in 2014.
Evidencing the excitement around both brands, Russo's plans to open an additional 12-15 restaurants in 2014 throughout markets such as Dallas, Houston, Honolulu, San Antonio, Austin and, in the Middle East, in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Currently, there are 26 Russo's Restaurants in development.
"This year has been an exciting one," said Chef Anthony Russo, a formally trained chef who opened his first Russo's New York Pizzeria in 1992 and later developed Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. "We've opened several new restaurants and signed more agreements for future Russo's locations. We've also unveiled some impressive plans for a new corporate headquarters, hired a seasoned director of franchising and we're working on a new look for our concepts."
Catapulting Russo's impressive domestic and international growth planned for 2014 is franchising veteran Alfred Naddaff, the original franchising director of Boston Chicken, Inc. and founding member of Einstein Bros. Bagels. He recently joined the Russo's franchising team as the director of franchise development.
Today's news comes on the heels of an extraordinary year for Russo's Restaurants. In 2013, Russo's signed agreements to open four new restaurants in the United States and opened six restaurants. The year ahead represents the brand's most aggressive growth phase yet.
"We have excellent opportunities in fantastic U.S. markets for franchise growth," said Russo. "For those looking to develop three or more units of one of the best pizza concepts or a distinctive full-service Italian restaurant, our flexible incentives are sure to impress. Our pilot program is designed for a franchisee that is looking for a great opportunity to own part of a brand that is built to stand the test of time – a pair of proven concepts."
Franchisees have found success in Russo's proven concepts – the New York Pizzeria is family-style casual, and the Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen is a bit more upscale full-service concept.
"Our gross sales in our first full month were $800-$900 per square foot in less than 2,700 square feet," said Brad Davis, who is a partial owner of Russo's New York Pizzeria in Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin. "We benefited greatly from the top-notch training program, ongoing franchisor support and the convenience of tapping into Russo's resources and proven concepts - we're actually planning on opening more locations in our area."
From traditional Italian appetizers like bruschetta and fried calamari to coal-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and an impressive dessert selection, diners at the New York Pizzeria run an average of $23 per check. Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen diners spend an average of $42 per check.
"I have prior restaurant ownership know-how, but I have never had as positive of an experience in the restaurant business as I have had with Russo's," said Richard Martinez, who co-owns a Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen in Tulsa, Okla. "Right now, we're averaging $44,000 per week in sales – our guests love our house-made pastas, fresh seafood and gluten-free options. We're at 22 percent food cost in under 3,200 square feet of space, which drives more profit to the bottom line."
Menu innovation is at the heart of Russo's Restaurants' successes. Blending generations of Russo family Italian recipes, Chef Anthony's handpicked ingredients and a commitment to research and development, the brands have continued to stay ahead of culinary trends. A prime example is the development of a full line of gluten free pizzas – a sincere response to the request for the great-tasting gluten-free pizza from thousands living with Celiac disease.
Additionally, Russo's has broken ground on a new corporate support center in the Houston area. The 10,000-square-foot office is equipped with a gourmet training kitchen and a research and development center.
One of Russo's most exciting locations in development is off of Highway 10 in Houston. The new restaurant will have a brand-new look, which will serve as the prototype of future Russo's Restaurants. Construction is estimated to begin in February of 2014.
Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen trace their origins to a tight-knit family where the kitchen was the center of all activity. As a young child, Chef Anthony helped his grandmother role dough for cannolis, carefully wrapping it around four-inch wooden broomsticks to get the right shape before it cooked. By the age of 12 Anthony was learning authentic Italian recipes. Earning the Chef's distinction as an 18-year-old, Anthony honed his skills as a culinary expert working in his parent's fine Italian restaurant and then opened his own pizzeria while still a young man.
The Russo's name has become synonymous with authentic Italian meals. Beyond the brand's specialty New York-style pizzas, menu items include fresh salads (Insalata), soups (Zuppe) and homemade pastas. Authentic Italian cannoli's, fresh seafood, chicken, veal and flatbread sandwiches are just some of the distinctive dishes on the menu.
About Russo's Restaurants
Presenting a true New York-style pizza tradition, Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen live by a family promise that dates back more than half a century, "If it isn't fresh, don't serve it." This motto has served Russo's Restaurants well since founder Anthony Russo opened his first pizzeria more than two decades ago. The brand's success has inspired the launch a number of successful franchises, and today more than 30 Russo's restaurants are operating and dozens more are expected to open in the next three to five years. The concept has gained recognition for its remarkably fresh food and the affordable price of menu options. Preparation of pure ingredients and the execution of memorable Italian food keep customers coming back for more. Chef Anthony's commitment to maintaining the freshest products insures that all customers who walk through the door, irrespective of which Russo's location, receive the bona fide Russo's experience.
For more information about Russo's Restaurants, contact Alfred Naddaff at (713) 821-1321 or visit www.nypizzeria.com. To learn about available franchise opportunities call (855) 978-7767.
SOURCE Russo's Restaurants
All Points Public Relations
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