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Authentic Italian Pizza
|Founded||1978, Oregon, Ohio|
Pasquale Giammarco, Founder|
Jack Butorac, Chairman and CEO
Tony Libardi, President
Ken Switzer, Vice President
Tim Barr, Vice President of Purchasing
Steve Seyferth, Chief Marketing Officer
John Ramsay, Chief Development Officer
|Products||Pizza, subs, chicken wings|
Marco’s Pizza, operated by Marco's Franchising, LLC, is a restaurant chain and interstate franchise based in Toledo, Ohio, that specializes in Italian-American cuisine. The first store is in Oregon, Ohio, at Starr Avenue and Wheeling Street. It was founded by Italian immigrant Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco in 1978.
As of mid-2017, there are more than 800 franchised Marco’s Pizza locations in 34 states and Puerto Rico as well as the Bahamas, and India. Most recently, it was announced that Marco’s Pizza has doubled its size and expects to open its 1000th store by the end of 2018. Marco’s Pizza credits its franchisees as well as its fresh dough, three-cheese blend, and secret pizza sauce recipe, created by founder Pat Giammarco, for its strong growth.
In 2016, Marco's Pizza was ranked at #10 on the Pizza Today list of the Top 100 Pizza Companies in the United States. The company was also named one of Marketing Quarterly’s Top 25 Pizza Chains and named by Franchising World as number eight on the magazine’s list of Fast and Serious growth franchises. The business operates locations in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the Bahamas. Store locations are available with online ordering and payment.
Born in Sulmona, Italy, Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco is the founder of Marco’s Pizza. Giammarco moved to the United States from the Abruzzo region of Italy when he was nine years old and grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, where he worked in his family’s pizzeria. He and his father ultimately refined and perfected the secret sauce recipe that is still used today in more than 800 Marco’s Pizza locations.
In 2002, restaurant industry luminary Jack Butorac was asked to analyze three restaurant concepts as potential growth opportunities, including Marco’s Pizza, a 123-unit chain based in Northwest Ohio. He took a long drive through Ohio and stopped at five Marco’s Pizza stores in different cities along his route. What he found was a revelation for an expert at packaging concepts: different exteriors and inconsistent branding, but memorable pizza that was the same at each location. “It was delicious,” Butorac told the New York Times in a 2014 interview. A veteran of large franchise operations, Butorac saw the possibilities in this regional brand. “What [Giammarco] didn’t have was how to brand it and differentiate it from other brands out there,” Butorac told Pizza Marketplace in an interview. 
Butorac began working as a consultant with Giammarco and soon began negotiations to purchase the franchising rights to Marco’s Pizza. Convinced that customers who try the Marco’s product would quickly become loyal, Butorac assumed leadership of the company in January 2004 with a clear vision: Marco’s Pizza would go national.
In 2005, with the right people and plan in place, Marco’s expansion began. Marco’s experienced rapid expansion from the very beginning under Butorac’s leadership. Since Butorac has owned the company, it has more than doubled in size and expanded to over 35 states, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and India. Butorac was presented with the prestigious Golden Chain award, a lifetime-achievement award in the restaurant business, by ''Nation’s Restaurant News" in July 2017.
Marco's Pizza and its president, Bryon Stephens, were featured on the January 29, 2016, episode of the CBS television program Undercover Boss. The episode won its time slot in the TV ratings with 7.3 million viewers.
Marco's Pizza is currently listed at #8 in Pizza Today's Top 100 Pizza Chains for 2017 and was named by Franchise Times as number eight on the magazine's list of Fast and Serious growth franchises. In 2012, Marco’s Pizza partnered with privately held movie rental chain Family Video to open Marco’s locations in as many as 350 Family Video stores.
In 2014, Marco’s Pizza was named the #3 best pizza chain by Consumer Reports magazine on its list of Best and Worst Fast Food Restaurants in America based on survey results. It was the first time Marco’s Pizza had ever appeared on this list.
Marco’s Pizza menu is available for delivery or take-out, while some locations offer dine-in and catering options. The menu includes pizza, subs, wings, and salads. Also offered are two specialties of Marco’s Pizza, CheezyBread and CinnaSquares, and co-branded Ghirardelli brownies.
Some of Marco’s specialty pizzas include White Cheezy, for which the pizza company won a gourmet competition in California..
Among the unusual and specialty pizzas found at various times on the Marco’s Pizza menu are Chicken Florentine, Pepperoni Magnifico, Chicken Fresco, Spicy Fresco, and Double Pepperoni Spicy Fresco pizzas. The signature ingredient of the Fresco pizzas is Marco’s special Giardiniera, an authentic Italian pepper relish.
2017 accolades and ratings
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- #1 America’s Favorite Pizza Company (2017 Market Force study)
- #2 Pizza company on Business Insider’s List of 25 Best Fast Food Chains in America
- #2 on the Restaurant Business Magazine Top Chains by Menu Pizza Category
- #3 Ranking on the Franchise Gator Top 100 Franchises
- #4 on the Franchise Times “Fast and Serious” Smartest Growing Brands
- One of the “Five Chains Taking Over America” from NRN’s Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains
- #38 (Top ranked pizza company, up from #81 in 2016) on the Entrepreneur List of Top 500 Franchises
- #46 on the Franchise Direct Top 100 Global Franchises
- Top 200 Franchises inFranchise Business Review
- #251 (ONLY pizza company listed) on Forbes America’s Best Employers 2017
- Technomic Top 500 Chains
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- Ramsey, Duane (2013-11-15). "Marco's continues to grow after 39 years in the pizza business". Toledo Blade. Toledo Blade. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
- Hoppe, Janet. "Marco's Franchising Inc". Supply Chain World. Supply Chain World. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
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- Brandau, Mark (February 9, 2012). "Marco's enters $100M deal with Family Video". Restaurant News. Restaurant News. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
- "Consumer reports survey ranks Marco's Pizza in the top three". PMQ Pizza Magazine. June 1, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
- "Marco's Pizza Menu". Marco's Pizza. Marco's Pizza. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- "Marco's Pizza maker wins gourmet competition in California". QSR Web. QSR Web. 2006-08-31. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- "Marco's Pizza's New LTOs a Little Sweet, a Little Spicy". QSR Magazine. QSR Magazine. 2014-08-08. Retrieved February 23, 2015.