Kisses From Italy Inc., a U.S. based fast-casual and quick service Italian deli concept with an All-American flair, with locations currently in South-Florida and Bari, Italy, has announced the launch of a strategic franchising initiative that will expand the brand throughout key regions in the United States and Canada.

The growth strategy, which pinpoints Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Massachusetts as markets for expansion, will add to the momentum Kisses From Italy has already generated through existing locations in southern Florida, Italy, and soon, California.

“This year has been challenging for us all in certain ways, but it also provided us with the time and bandwidth to develop a robust franchising strategy that will drive major growth opportunities for Kisses From Italy in 2021,” says Claudio Ferri, co-founder, co-CEO and CIO. “As we head into the new year, we know that our concept is built for the future and we are more than ready to bring the Kisses From Italy experience to local communities with entrepreneurs who are passionate and eager to be a part of our family.”

A fusion of Italian heritage with American staples, the Kisses From Italy menu includes hot dogs, burgers, chicken wings and fries, alongside Italian delicacies including a full deli stocked with meats and cheeses, sandwiches and panini off the grill, lasagna, panzerotti and an assortment of cakes and deserts. Breakfast is served around the clock, making savory omelets, bagels, sandwiches and sweet pastry offerings available to guests any time of day. Store hours cater to both night owls and early birds, starting the day at 8 a.m. and closing at 3 a.m. in many locations.

Founded by two childhood friends, Montreal natives Claudio Ferri and Michael Di Turi, Kisses From Italy began as a quick-service restaurant with Italian-American roots. Inspired by the delis and bakeries Di Turi’s grandfather owned in Italy in the 1950s, the Kisses From Italy concept boasts a traditional Italian charm paired with modern restaurant technology and service that doubles down on customer convenience. When customers visit a Kisses From Italy restaurant, what they see on the menu is what they get—unique offerings that avoid processed foods and tasty, fresh and authentic meals.

Since recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Irma in 2017, Kisses From Italy quickly pivoted to adjust and prepare for any future issues. Long before the pandemic, the brand outfitted every store for takeout and delivery, switched to small footprint models and implemented health and safety precautions such as frequent cleaning, plexiglass shields and decreasing dine-in capacity. After the COVID-19 outbreak, additional cleaning measures and mask mandates for employees were added across all Kisses From Italy establishments.

“When our locations were impacted by Hurricane Irma, we came out stronger than ever. We learned how to deal with unexpected challenges and have been poised to overcome obstacles ever since,” says co-founder, president and co-CEO, Michael Di Turi. “Prior to the COVID pandemic our company celebrated two great achievements. The first was completing our public filing initiative in September of 2019 and we began trading as a publicly listed company on the OTC Markets under the ticker symbol ‘KITL’. The second, in January of 2020, was the signing our first Franchise Agreement for the State of California. In June of 2020, even with the pandemic in full swing, we were able to finalize a Master Franchising deal in Canada for 100 locations. The pandemic brought out that resilience in us again and proved that now is the perfect time for us to bring Kisses From Italy to communities across the country.”

As the brand sets sites on expanding into key markets, Kisses From Italy is seeking qualified single-unit and multi-unit owners looking to invest with an emerging brand. Prospective franchise owners should share a passion for food, family and being an active member of their community. Ideal candidates have a background in restaurant operations and business ownership, demonstrate good work ethic and are willing to grow with the business. Franchise owners must have a minimum net worth of $350,000 and meet the minimum liquid assets required of $150,000.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, Franchising, News