In this Franchise Chatter Q&A, we get to learn more about Marco’s Pizza from Bryon Stephens, President and COO of Marco’s Pizza.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us a bit about Marco’s Pizza.
Bryon Stephens (BS): We are the nation’s fastest growing pizza franchise, and the only chain founded by an Italian native. Our first location opened in 1978, and now we have nearly 700 locations across the U.S., the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and India.
We make our dough fresh daily in every store, use an exclusive blend of fresh, never-frozen cheeses and our pizza sauce recipe was created by our founder and has never been changed since.
FC: Why did you decide to go on Undercover Boss?
BS: When I was first approached with the opportunity to go on the show, I was actually hesitant because I’m somewhat camera shy. But our goal at Marco’s Pizza is to become the pizza of choice, the employer of choice and the business partner of choice, and going undercover would provide me with an unfiltered view into our operations and possibly help me identify ways to improve.
FC: How many stores did you go to for the show? Where were they and what did you do?
BS: There will be four locations featured on the show: Marco’s Pizza stores in Dallas, Charlotte and Orlando, and our distribution center in Ohio. We are based in Toledo, Ohio, and our distribution center delivers our product to our stores.
In Florida, I worked alongside Tyler, a general manager, who I made pizza and took inventory with. Devin is a shift leader in North Carolina who I worked with making dough and doing tasks like cleaning the seating areas. In Texas, I delivered pizza to our customers with one of the delivery drivers, Howard, and in our distribution center, I worked with our delivery driver Tom bringing our product to our stores.
FC: What did you learn from this experience?
BS: This experience was extremely eye-opening, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity. In addition to gaining even more respect and appreciation for our team members who do such a great job every day, I have learned the ways in which we can do better, and we are committed to implementing new policies and procedures to do just that.
It was an incredible journey for me both personally and professionally, and resulted in some significant company-wide changes.
FC: What kind of changes took place as a result of the show?
BS: After going on the show, we are now asking every corporate employee to work a day inside a store every year to keep their finger on the pulse of our company. We also are taking steps to improve the security of our delivery drivers, among other things that you will have to watch to find out.
FC: What is on the horizon for Marco’s Pizza?
BS: We have been doubling every three years, and are on track to continue this pace for the foreseeable future. In fact, we are set to open our 700th location within the next few weeks and expect to reach 1,000 locations by the end of 2017.
In addition, the pizza category has been a big leader in technology in the restaurant space, and we are planning a number of technology changes to keep pace with that.
Communication and the relationship with our customers is at the forefront of our efforts, and will continue to be in the coming years.