Marco's Pizza has named Darren Gray as its senior director of menu and culinary innovation. Gray is experienced in the field with extensive experience in the food and restaurant industry, including 20 years of experience with nationally recognized brands.
Gray's deeply rooted passion and understanding for menu development and culinary innovation has led to a knack for developing and launching menu items and limited-time offers that brought success in his professional life. He is credited with helping the Fazoli's restaurant chain accomplish a record 30 consecutive months of same-store sales growth.
Gray showed off his creativity by taking 22 pizza concepts from raw ideas to final approvals during his tenure at Papa John's. He has a bachelor's degree in food science and nutrition from University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's in food science and technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
"The possibilities with Marco's Pizza are endless," Gray says. "The brand has an incredible story—beginning with its native Italian founder, Pat Giammarco, and his mandate to never compromise on products, to stick true to high standards of freshness, flavor, and quality. As the senior director of menu and culinary innovation, it's my goal to align menu and culinary development with the Marco's Pizza brand of Ah!thentic Italian-style pizza to create unique and craveable new products that will differentiate the brand from other food industry concepts."
Jack Butorac, CEO of Marco's Pizza, says he recognizes not only Gray's creative potential, but also his ability to keep the company vital and relevant moving forward.
"Having spent most of his career working in the restaurant industry, Darren has played an integral role in building menus and culinary effectiveness for several brands," Butorac says. "His expertise and creativity, especially in pizza and Italian food, will benefit our brand tremendously, taking our already fresh, high-quality ingredients and recipes to an entirely new level."
As the only national pizza chain founded by a native Italian, Marco's has made its name in the growing, $46 billion pizza industry by producing fresh, Italian-style, handmade pizza. Marco's Pizza has received accolades from Entrepreneurmagazine and AllBusiness.com, which ranked Marco's in its “Top 10 Allstar” franchise systems.