As expansion progresses, Marco’s is looking at a couple of key igniters.
Firstly, Stilwell is adjusting the path to get there. Marco’s is looking for multi-unit, multi-brand franchisees to fuel growth. People who might own other concepts but are struggling, or not growing. Or perhaps operators locked out of territories seeking additional runway with a different brand.
In the past, Marco’s growth mostly came from a single-vehicle growth model, which was expansion through its area-development community. Marco’s recently instituted a four-pronged model for growth that’s new for 2019.
One is still expanding through those area developers. Currently, there are 50 developing in 50 territories around the country.
Second is a ramp up of growth efforts through a more traditional franchise model, which Marco’s hasn’t done before. This involves selling franchise territories in areas where it doesn’t have area representatives. Marco’s has a vice president of non-area representative restaurants, Keith Sizemore, whose official title is VP of new territory development.
Next is international growth. Marco’s has 17 stores in Puerto Rico, six in the Bahamas, and three in India. Over the coming year, it plans to build 23 new restaurants in Puerto Rico and “several” in the Bahamas. Its sights are set on Mexico, too.
Lastly, Marco’s is looking to increase its points of distribution around the country, Stilwell says.
To date, there are traditional units and some non-traditional outlets. The latter option is ready for take off, he says. Marco’s has an arena location in Colorado at the Pepsi Center. More are coming. The chain recently opened in a couple of hotels and is working toward setting up agreements with Aramark and Sodexo so it can target campus expansion.
If you just look at the map, Marco’s hasn’t come close to flooding the marketplace. It’s a far cry from, say, Domino’s and its clustered locations that cut down on delivery times. (Although worth noting that Domino’s isn’t anywhere near done growing, either). Looking at the graph below, you can see how Marco’s footprint west of Texas is wide open, especially in California. Even east, there aren’t any stores in New England or New York.