July 07, 2016 // Franchising.com // Jersey City, N.J. – After opening several new locations and selling 54 franchise units across multiple markets to open by year’s end, Kono USA, the franchisor of “The Original” Kono Pizza and Kono To Go – Fresh Eats, Treats & Sweets brands, recently expanded its management team to continue growth and support existing franchisees. Matthew P. Van Note has been brought on as Kono USA Vice President, while Les Garrett joins the company as head of Real Estate Development. The two new posts come shortly after Kono USA appointed franchising and food industry veteran Steven Henry as Vice President of Operations.
Both “The Original” Kono Pizza and Kono To Go brands offer a menu of customizable breakfast, deli, pizza and dessert cones, all filled with fresh, quality ingredients inspired by original Italian recipes and baked in just three minutes in the brand’s proprietary oven. Franchisees operate out of kiosks, carts and in-line locations strategically located in high-volume traffic areas, including malls, festivals and big-box stores. The company recently opened its first franchise location in a Walmart store in Lancaster, SC.
With a wealth of experience in pizza franchising, Van Note was the Franchise Business Director for Papa John’s Pizza in New York City and the Midwest, where he grew sales by more than 5 percent for several years in a row. Van Note, a Michigan native, also worked as an area supervisor for Hungry Howie’s Pizza in Detroit and for Domino’s in New Jersey.
Garrett, who founded Garrett Retail Advisors in Fort Worth, Texas, specializes in adding value and minimizing risk for shopping center and mixed-use real estate owners, managers, retailers and restaurateurs. As head of real estate development, Garrett will focus on scouting prime locations for “The Original” Kono Pizza and Kono To Go brands. The 30-year veteran of the shopping center industry has made significant contributions to the nation’s largest shopping mall real estate investment trusts, or REITs, including Simon, CBL, Heitman, and Westfield.
“Kono USA is an innovative company that is on trend with consumer demand for convenient, customizable fill snacks,” Van Note said. “Franchisees have tremendous flexibility in the model they choose to operate and the name of the brand that works best in their local market. I’m thrilled to help Kono continue to growth and share best practices for forging positive relationships between franchisees and the franchisor.”
With a current presence in New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia and Lancaster, SC, Kono USA is quickly expanding. The first of a 10-unit deal in the Baltimore market is planned to open in June, as well as the first of 21 units in the Dallas area. In addition, a 10-unit deal was signed in California, with the first to open in San Diego in late Q3/early Q4. A 10-unit deal was also recently signed for locations throughout Georgia and a separate deal was signed for three locations in the Washington D.C./Maryland area.
Garret added, “It’s clear that the Kono brands are gaining traction with consumers around the country in malls and other high-traffic venues. My plan is to continue the momentum by finding prime locations for all the new franchisees that have signed on to open units.”
In 2013, entrepreneurs David Ragosa, Carlo Ruggiero, and Greg Kinlaw introduced the already popular European pizza-in-a-cone concept to America by establishing Kono USA and offering “The Original” Kono Pizza franchise opportunity. In 2015, the company expanded its portfolio to include Kono To-Go, reflecting diverse and portable product offerings of treats, eats and sweets in addition to its staple pizza cones. All products are filled with fresh, quality ingredients inspired by original Italian recipes and baked in just three minutes in a proprietary oven. There are currently more than 60 “The Original” Kono Pizza or Kono To-Go locations operating or in various stages of development across the United States. For more information about “The Original” Kono Pizza or Kono To-Go franchises, visit franchise.konousa.com or call (855) 566-6872. To learn more about “The Original” Kono Pizza and Kono To-Go, visit www.konousa.com.
SOURCE Kono USA
Fishman Public Relations