After 28 years in business, Pizza Patrón opened its first corporate-owned store in Garland, Texas. Pizza Patrón’s new expansion strategy includes development of company-owned restaurants as well as stores built by existing multiunit operators that possess solid track records, financial resources, and operational savvy.
In the past year, Pizza Patrón has strengthened its position and laid a foundation for high growth by suspending pursuit of new franchisees and eliminating low-performing operators, strategically closing over 20 percent of its stores. The company also narrowed its brand focus from Hispanic to Mexican to start 2014, intensifying its relationship with customers and further differentiating itself in the marketplace.
Despite having 20 percent fewer stores, Pizza Patrón’s yearly total sales are up 3.9 percent through May 18, and comparative sales are up 10 percent through May 18.
“We are very excited about the opening of this new corporate store,” says Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patrón. “This is the kickoff of a very new and highly controlled growth strategy. The company is focusing on building a corporate culture, which would be challenging to do with franchising where the brand has no say in the hiring process and those decisions are left to each individual franchisee.”
Gamm says the company is currently hiring team members and managers, and putting in the infrastructure to support team building for each new company store. Its corporate staff is expected to grow from 10 employees to nearly 150 by the end of 2014.
“Protecting the brand’s integrity in the marketplace is paramount and this direction gives us more control over training and execution, plus better access to front-line employees that are responsible for the customer’s brand experience,” Gamm says. “Also, company-owned stores align us with our franchisees—they see that we have skin in the game too!”