Texas-based Pizza Patrón was sold in a deal that will give one of its largest franchisees leadership of the company.
Founder Antonio Swad sold the 30-year-old brand to Charles Loflin, who owns 33 of Pizza Patrón’s 93 locations, all of which are franchised.
“[Loflin is] someone that I’ve known for nearly two decades. I know him to be a very competent operator, and he’s an excellent franchisee and a super smart businessman. … That opportunity to put a company that means so much to you in the hands of somebody you think so much of rarely comes along,” Swad says. “This is a 30-year-old company that still, in many ways, is a kid. It has a lot of head room. The brand is still very relevant, even maybe more than it was 30 years ago. And I think that’s something that Charles recognizes and will continue.”
Loflin is also a franchisee of Wingstop—another brand founded by Swad—and operates 67 restaurants, bringing in an estimated $100 million per year with about 1,200 employees.
Pizza Patrón sets itself apart in the quick-serve segment by targeting to the Hispanic population through its use of Spanish in marketing and promotions such as accepting Mexican pesos at its locations.
Swad says Loflin will continue this brand mission, while bringing a fresh perspective for “tremendous growth” going forward.
“We basically pioneered the segment and defined a customer base not so much by economic factors, but basically by culture and language, and we did it before anybody was doing it,” Swad says. “We said this is who we are; this is the first choice for our customer. Obviously, we are interested in selling pizzas to anybody with a little bit of money and an appetite, but our first choice is this particular customer. And that’s a courageous thing for a company to do.”
Swad founded Pizza Patrón in 1986, before beginning franchising in 2003. He also sold Wingstop in 2003, which now has nearly 450 locations in the U.S. and Mexico.
Swad won’t retain ownership in Pizza Patrón, but he’s not resting either.
He says he has developed a grocery store kiosk that he’s in the process of launching and will also open a 300-seat full-service restaurant focused on comfort food and country music in Dallas.
Terms of the Pizza Patrón sale were not disclosed.
By Alex Dixon