Two of the restaurant industry’s most iconic brands, Mr. Gatti’s Pizza and Gatti’s Pizza, announced the launch of an aggressive franchise expansion campaign designed to grow market share using both their family fast casual and family entertainment center platforms throughout 27 states.
It has been around 48 years since Gatti’s Pizza opened the brand to franchisees. Currently there are 42 franchisees operating under the Gatti’s brand in 76 locations throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. In addition to continued growth in those markets, Gatti’s is targeting Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.
Gatti’s Pizza, one of the most popular pizza brands in the 1970s and 80s, and Gatti’s Pizza, recognized as one of the top 25 pizza franchises in the United States by Pizza Today, offer franchise prospects two distinct operating concepts under the Gatti’s flagship brand.
Gatti’s Pizza features a buffet-style format while Mr. Gatti’s Pizza is designed around tableside service with an expanded menu featuring traditional Mr. Gatti’s items as well as new offerings such as gluten free crust that is more in demand among today’s diverse dining audience. Both concepts feature the beloved game room that includes both current and vintage options.
“We are eager to introduce a new generation of fans to our great pizza and family-friendly atmosphere,” says Michael Poates, president of Fort Worth-based Gatti’s Pizza, who will be speaking Tuesday at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas. “With the emergence of the new wave of pizza options sweeping the restaurant industry, the time is right to reintroduce the original Mr. Gatti’s concept and bring in new franchisees who are excited about the brand and its product.”
Gatti’s Pizza traces its roots back to the 1960’s in Texas. By the 70s, the chain had experienced dramatic growth and become a household name. Almost 50 years later, the Gatti’s brand has expanded to include Gatti’s Pizza as a family entertainment concept, in addition to the Mr. Gatti’s restaurants.
During the last 18 months, Poates has focused a comprehensive revitalization and growth strategy for the Gatti’s brands. In 2016, Gatti’s Pizza “refreshed” the look of the original Mr. Gatti’s Pizza restaurants, bringing back many of the features that made it such an iconic brand in the 1970s and 80s.
“While many brands are chasing the trends of the day or trying to hop on the latest fad, Mr. Gatti’s Pizza is taking a different approach,” says Poates. “We are defining our future by revisiting our past and reconnecting to its latency, at a time and place when the brand had optimal market share and name recognition.”
The Mr. Gatti’s menu, much of it prepared in a copper tiled, stone fired rotary deck oven, reintroduces the original Neapolitan-style crust and a Sicilian deep dish crust. New offerings include build-your-own pizza and pasta creations while choosing from a variety of sauces and toppings. Additionally, they offer additional menu items that include several legacy favorites including lasagna, meatballs and fresh salads.
Four of the revamped Mr. Gatti’s Pizza restaurants have opened in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with nine more in various stages of development across the region.
“Our goal in launching this new franchising effort is to reconnect the brand to a loyal and passionate customer base that have now become parents and, thus, use that original consumer to introduce the brand to a new generation of guests,” says Poates. “Since the introduction of new Mr. Gatti’s restaurants, we are hearing from guests who have great memories of Mr. Gatti's when they were kids and are excited about being able to introduce their kids to one of their favorite childhood experiences.”
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