In this exclusive Franchise Chatter Q&A, we learn about Urban Bricks Pizza, a fast-casual pizza franchise that serves authentic, customizable Neapolitan pizza. Sammy Aldeeb, founder and CEO of Urban Bricks Pizza, tells us about the concept and how it stands out among the competition.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What is Urban Bricks Pizza?
Sammy Aldeeb (SA): Urban Bricks Pizza is a fast-casual chain serving next generation, quick artisan pizza and salad. We offer authentic, customizable Neapolitan pizza. We’re about giving customers choices; they can choose from more than 30 ingredients that are prepared fresh each morning to top their pizza. They also have the option to select from build-your-own salads, wings and premium Italian gelato.
FC: Tell us more about the menu and its offerings.
SA: We pride ourselves on our fresh ingredients and quality Neapolitan flavor. Our pizza is 100 percent natural with zero preservatives, and we prepare our ingredients fresh each morning. The tomatoes and flour are imported from Italy, and we also make the dough and sauce in-house every morning. Additionally, gluten-friendly, vegan and wheat options are available.
FC: Tell us how Urban Bricks Pizza was started.
SA: I emigrated to the U.S. from Dubai in 1998. At the time, I was unfamiliar with American business culture and I had no college degree to fall on, so I jumped into franchising and invested my life savings to open a Marble Slab Creamery in 2005. That location performed so well that after six months, I bought a Subway franchise in the same mall and within 10 years, I amassed a portfolio of more than 20 franchise locations between Marble Slab, Subway and Great American Cookies.
I decided to then explore the fast-casual pizza industry because I heard about the consistency and profitability of it. I researched franchise concepts in the space but couldn’t find one that I liked, so I created my own brand.
I launched Urban Bricks Pizza in San Antonio in 2015. It was so successful that within two months of opening, I decided to sell all 20+ of my other franchises to focus on Urban Bricks Pizza full-time. I sold the first franchise within eight months of opening my first corporate location. Today we are certified with the Small Business Administration, and have been mentioned in several nationwide publications.
FC: What kind of support does Urban Bricks Pizza provide franchisees?
SA: We provide hands-on support for our franchisees through our field support personnel. As a former franchisee myself, I understand what it’s like. Our concept is very innovative and forward-thinking.
We also pay extreme attention to location selection and work with franchisees to really adapt the brand to their location. We provide lease negotiations with landlords and guidance along the construction process through our in-house Construction and Design Department.
We also have an in-house Marketing Department that provides the strategic marketing calendar, graphics, and marketing guidance to franchisees, and handles online reputation.
FC: Tell us what you mean by innovative.
SA: Urban Bricks Pizza is the only fast-casual pizza brand that offers delivery, drive-thru or a full sports bar module. Our restaurants are hip. We’re all about entertaining the customer – from our Fitscape for kids to our Bottoms Up Beer dispensers. The Bottoms Up Beer dispenser gives customers the perfect, quick, hands-free pour from a pump on the keg that fills up a cup with beer from the bottom and is a true spectacle to watch.
Our large imported Italian ovens are not only the perfect oven to fast bake our pizzas, but also entertain crowds with the sight and sound of the large flame.
Urban Bricks is an adaptable brand; we want to be the go-to spot for the main demographics in each location.
FC: Who is Urban Bricks Pizza’s ideal franchise owner?
SA: We seek individuals with previous restaurant experience and sufficient infrastructure in place. It’s important to us to find franchisees who fit into our company culture and believe it’s more than just a pizza, but a lifestyle.
FC: What’s the typical investment to open an Urban Bricks Pizza franchise?
SA: The total investment to open an Urban Bricks Pizza franchise ranges from $281,000 to $757,750.
FC: How is Urban Bricks Pizza growing?
SA: We currently have 12 locations open in Texas and Ontario, Canada, with two under construction and 25 committed leases. There are more than 120 committed stores through our master franchise agreements.
We’re seeking additional Master Franchise Partnerships to launch the brand in new markets, and will sign single unit agreements in markets where Urban Bricks Pizza is already open. The brand is currently set for nationwide expansion, especially in the southeastern corridor between Texas and Florida.
FC: How can someone learn more about franchise opportunities with Urban Bricks Pizza?
SA: Visit our website at www.urbanbrickspizza.com/about/franchise.