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FDD Talk 2015: The Uno Pizzeria & Grill Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on May 7, 2015

in FDD Talk 2017: Food Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Pizza Franchises, Restaurant Franchise



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Uno Pizzeria & Grill

In this FDD Talk 2015 post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the Uno Pizzeria & Grill franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for an Uno Pizzeria & Grill franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2015 FDD, including information on the:
  • 2014 average sales for the 80 parent-owned Full Service Uno Restaurants and 39 domestic franchised Full Service Uno Restaurants open during all of fiscal year 2014
  • 2014 average net sales; cost of sales; direct labor; management salary; payroll taxes and benefits; controllables; advertising and business coop; royalties; trash extermination and security; other non-controllables; and earnings before repairs and maintenance, utilities, rent, depreciation, administration, insurance, interest, and taxes for the 80 parent-owned Uno Restaurants open during all of fiscal year 2014

Section I – Background Information

Uno Pizzeria & Grill is pushing pizza on its menu again.

The menu had evolved over time to include more healthy fare, leading to the title of Healthiest Chain Restaurant in America, bestowed by Health magazine in 2008. But Uno Pizzeria & Grill is putting pizza back in the forefront, including the Chicago Classic personal pizza, which has 2,300 calories.

The Boston-headquartered restaurant chain has put more than $10 million into remodeling dozens of its fleet of 140 restaurants and a rebranding campaign that puts the focus back on pizza.

The chain, formerly named Uno Chicago Grill, was renamed Uno Pizzeria & Grill, and restaurants are being remodeled with wooden tables and an open design.

Healthy Menu Not So Healthy for Uno

Uno started to expand its menu in the early 2000s as restaurants sought to cut calories along with their customers. By this time, the name had been changed from Pizzeria Uno to Uno Chicago Grill, seeking a healthier, more inclusive image. Trans fats were dropped from the menu, numerous salads were added, and nutrition information was easily available.

But the changes and additions were too broad, with no emphasis on definitive menu options, including the deep-dish pizza that had been Uno’s signature menu item. Pizza slipped deeper into the menu, crowded out by steaks, salads, chicken, sandwiches and other menu options. After an initial increase in sales, Uno sustained deep financial losses; it filed for bankruptcy in January 2010 and restructured in July 2010 to emerge from bankruptcy.

Regrowth Under Hadley

Dee Hadley joined the company as chief marketing officer in 2013. Under Hadley’s marketing leadership, the company looked at five years of studies that showed what people liked about the restaurant: deep-dish pizza.

“If you came into our restaurant and tried to find pizza on our menu, you would have had a hard time because we hid it in the back,” Hadley told the Boston Globe in February 2015. “It’s about going back to what made the brand great to begin with.”

Hadley said the updated restaurants have had 10 percent growth in sales.

Another major management change in the company occurred in October 2014 when Louie Psallidas became president and CEO. Psallidas was the company’s chief financial officer for six years prior to his promotion.

Uno Partners With New Marketing Agency

Helping Uno with its rebranding efforts is AMP Agency, an integrated marketing agency based in Boston and New York that the restaurant chain selected as its agency of record in October 2014.

“It’s near impossible to find an agency partner who provides strategic thinking to help grow the business, who generates breakthrough creative ideas and who executes flawlessly across all channels,” Hadley said in a press release. “I am thrilled to say the search is over, and we are excited to move forward with this partnership with AMP Agency and grow our business.”

Uno Pizzeria & Grill, which introduced deep-dish pizza when Ike Sewell opened his first pizza restaurant in Chicago in 1943, has 140 restaurants in 24 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of Uno Pizzeria & Grill franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2015 FDD) and Analysis



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