|Founders||Stephen Huse and Gary Knackstedt|
Number of locations
|Paul W. Mobley, Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer |
Scott Mobley, President and CEO
|Products||Pizza, salads, subs|
|Revenue||$11.5M in gross revenue and a $5M net loss in 2020|
Founding to 1990s
Noble Roman's was founded in Bloomington, Indiana, when Stephen Huse and Gary Knackstedt acquired a failed pizza shop near the campus of Indiana University in 1969. The company incorporated in 1972, with the first franchise following in 1973.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Noble Roman's expanded heavily outside of Indiana, opening new locations in Ohio, and other states; and issuing a IPO in 1982. In 1996, Noble Roman's attempted to purchase Papa Gino's, which was in the process of acquiring D'Angelo's Grilled Sandwiches chain from PepsiCo's Pizza Hut division (Noble Roman's notable competitor). But in the next year, the deal fell through, and eventually it was delisted from NASDAQ after it fell to a $1 per share.
2000s expansion and contraction
During the mid-2000s, the company launched an aggressive nationwide expansion campaign based on a franchising model. When the chain's economic problems began to come to light in 2008, they had over 1000 locations in operation and over 600 more under construction. Owners of failing locations filed lawsuits claiming that Noble Roman's "sold a dual-branded startup concept that the company knew was operationally flawed and too complicated to operate profitably", "did little to no market testing", and that "the company provides no marketing support or operational backup".
Noble Roman's became embroiled in multiple lawsuits with its franchisees. Franchisees have described the company as "distinguished...by its high franchisee failure rates, and its insistence on suing franchise owners once they fail." Other franchisees allege that the company "has used litigation as a revenue source," and as of 2009, was "involved with litigation with every one of their franchisees."
By the end of 2020, almost all of the 1000-plus locations that operated at the chain's 2008 peak had closed. The company currently operates 7 corporate-owned locations and 3 franchised locations. The company's revenue vs. non-capital operational expenses showed a significant gross margin at the corporate-owned locations and a modest revenue stream from the franchises. However, when debt service and rent costs were factored in, the company exhibited an overall loss in 2020.
After the collapse of its franchising arm, the company made several attempts to enter other markets such as grocery store take-and-bake pizzas, which often existed more in press releases than reality. During the 2010s, Noble Roman's announced a plan to start to move away from selling pizzas in the traditional sit down and delivery restaurants to focus in selling reheat-and-serve products in supermarkets, and later, hot products for eating inside supermarket cafes such as at Marsh Supermarkets.
In November 2014, Scott Mobley replaced his father, Paul Mobley, as president and CEO while the elder remained chairman.[third-party source needed] During this time, Noble Roman's announced another plan to sell pizza at 800 "nontraditional locations" such as "convenience stores, military bases, and bowling alleys," and manufactured pizzas carried by 2,000 supermarkets. There is little evidence that either the grocery store or convenience store plans ever actually rolled out on a large scale. In the 3rd quarterly earnings report that came out in November 2016, the company had announced its decision to “discontinue expansion of its stand-alone take-n-bake concept, so that management’s efforts could be fully focused on the modernized Craft Pizza & Pub.”[verify]
- Craft Pizza & Pub (6 locations)
- Noble Roman's Pizza
- Noble Roman's Take-N-Bake
- Tuscano's Italian Style Subs
- Noble Roman's Form 10-K (Report). U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. December 31, 2016.
- "Form 10-K Noble Romans Inc". Noble Roman's 2020 SEC Disclosures. March 22, 2021.
- Noble Roman's, Inc. - Company Profile Snapshot
- Waldman, Joseph M. (June 1978). "Making It Big in the Fast-Food Industry". Business Horizons. Elsevier. 21 (3): 65–72. doi:10.1016/0007-6813(78)90093-9.
- "Noble Roman's Company Profile". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
- Murphy, Tom (August 7, 2006). "Noble Roman's seeking a return to glory". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved 2020-08-08.
- "Struggling Noble Roman's takes over franchisee's 6 units". Indianapolis Business Journal. March 24, 2008.
- "Noble Roman's to fight franchisees' suit over dual-brand rollouts". Nation's Restaurant News. July 21, 2008.
- "Noble Roman's granted favorable judgment in long-running lawsuit". Pizza Marketplace. December 29, 2010.
- "Pizza Franchisor Gets Burnt". Lewitt Hackman law firm.
- "NOBLE ROMAN'S (NROM) Franchise Complaints". Unhappy Franchisee. August 24, 2014.
- Schouten, Cory (March 12, 2011). "Noble Roman's expands grocery offerings to boost bottom line". Indianapolis Business Journal.
- Andrews, Greg (January 30, 2016). "Believers in Noble Roman's see groceries as super market". Indianapolis Business Journal.
- "Marsh Supermarkets". Food and Drink Magazine. April 25, 2016. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Sikich, Chris (May 12, 2014). "Marsh to open 1st new Downtown Indianapolis grocery in 30 years". Indianapolis Star.
- "Management Structure; Continues Current Strategy Unaltered". PR Newswire (Press release). November 20, 2014.