Toledo-based Marco’s Pizza said Tuesday that it has signed its first franchise deal in India — where it plans to open 400 stores during the next 10 years.
The pizza chain said two U.S. franchisees — D.J. Patel and Monaliza Patel, who have a combined 33 years of experience in the pizza and franchise sectors — will lead that expansion.
D.J. Patel is a franchise developer who oversees 40 Marco’s Pizza units in Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Monaliza Patel is an area representative who is a partner with D.J. Patel and co-manage Marco’s stores in Atlanta and the southern region of Georgia.
“We are thrilled to launch operations in an untapped market such as India with two phenomenal Marco’s Pizza area representatives native to the area,” said Bryon Stephens, Marco’s Pizza president and chief operating officer.
“We look forward to the expansion goals D.J. and Monaliza have put in place in India, based on their sound market research, with their first store opening before the close of the year.”
Marco’s Pizza, which claims to be the only national pizza franchise chain founded by a native Italian, Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco, has 500 locations in 35 states and more than 1,500 new franchise deals signed in 2013. The company said it is on track to quadruple its store count in the next five to seven years.
The company recently was named No. 3 in Consumer Reports’ pizza category restaurant rankings. It was No. 8 on the Franchise Times magazine’s “2014 Fast and Serious” list.