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Published: Saturday, 1/5/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Marco’s Pizza says it is the fastest-growing pizza chain in the U.S.

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Marco's Pizza said it has 320 stores in 26 states Marco's Pizza said it has 320 stores in 26 states
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Toledo’s Marco’s Pizza has been recognized as one of the top restaurant franchises in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine.

Entrepreneur, of Irvine, Calif., placed Marco’s at No. 103 in its annual Franchise 500 ranking. Among food chains, Marco’s was No. 28.

“The conversation around here has been very gratifying, but we’re not done yet,” said Peter Wise, vice president of marketing at Marco’s. “The view of Marco’s on that is appreciative, but look at the rankings in three or four more years and look at where Marco’s will be. We’re optimistic.”

Marco’s, founded in 1978, began franchising the following year, but the chain has grown aggressively in recent years.

Marco’s added 61 locations in 2011, and company officials have said they expected to open at least 100 locations last year. Mr. Wise said he couldn’t yet provide a final tally for new stores in 2012, but said the company opened a record number.

The company says it is the fastest-growing pizza chain in the United States.

“All of this development has occurred in one of the most challenging periods in American business history,” Marco’s chief executive, Jack Butorac, said in a statement. “The 2013 year is easily forecast to be the biggest year of expansion in the brand's history. One surprisingly revolutionary driver of the growth is really good, fresh Italian quality pizza sold at reasonable prices.”

Marco’s announced an agreement last year with Family Video that will put 250 Marco’s locations inside Family Video stores over the next seven years.

The company said it has 320 stores in 26 states. Mr. Wise said plans call for 104 stores to open this year.

“The pizza is good, and Americans like pizza,” he said.

Entrepreneur bases its rankings on things such as financial strength, growth rate, start-up costs, and size of the system. Marco’s has climbed the ratings considerably since 2009, when it ranked No. 236.

Mr. Butorac said his long-term goal is to grow Marco’s to the fourth-largest pizza chain in the United States behind Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s. Little Caesars is currently fourth.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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