Pizza Patrón has an aggressive growth plan: 1,000 units in the next 10 years. And for those familiar with the San Antonio-based chain, which has more than 90 restaurants in four states, you’ll see a brand in motion quite different than the one that has served up fresh pizza with a Latin twist since 1986.
On Monday, Pizza Patrón unveiled its brand relaunch. This includes a refreshed logo, modernized visuals, and an updated corporate website with a user-friendly online ordering platform.
CEO Charles Loflin and president Christopher Partyka took some time to chat with QSR about the changes, and what the future of this growth-ready brand looks like. The pair purchased the franchise in late 2016 from founder Antonio Swad. To fuel the rebranding process, Pizza Patrón hired chief marketing officer Stephanie Yzaguirre and partnered with Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency based out of Kansas City, Missouri, and Boulder, Colorado. The partnership began in February 2017. The changes took about 11 months to complete.
Firstly, why the logo change? What inspired the new design?
In order to stay attuned to the ever-changing needs and interests of our consumers, we knew the importance of the need to constantly evolve in order to stay ahead of the competition. As any successful brand does, we are modernizing our logo to reflect the modern and vibrant era we live in. Our logo had become outdated, and this change will reinvigorate the brand. With a name like Pizza Patrón, we knew our look had to resonate with what it’s like to be a Boss. We kept the foundation of our icon and gave him a younger, updated look, to reflect the vibe of our guests. We need a logo that reflects our Latino inspiration while appealing to a wider audience.
Above is the old logo. Below are variations of the new logo.
What are some of the other key changes and how do they align with the company’s mission to craft "pizzas powered by culture?"
In the past, we relied on our heritage to speak only to the Latino audience while alienating others at times. Now, we know we are a Latin-inspired pizza place. We’re proud of our rich heritage and culture. We know our Latin influence is inherently fun and unique, and we want to share that Pizza Patrón flavor with the world.
Explain the new color scheme. What details will guests notice right away?
Red and black used to be our primary colors. They are still part of our color palette but are secondary colors now. Our two primary colors are young, vibrant colors—a teal/blue color and a red/orange color.
Upon entering our stores, guests will immediately notice a modern, streamlined menu board. Our menu shows our Latin-inspired pizzas, along with all our specialty pizzas and our combos, and encourages guests to create their own flavor using traditional and Latin-inspired ingredients.
The biggest change will be in our pizza boxes. The pizza boxes have not been redesigned in many years, and the new boxes will reflect our new brand colors and brand messaging. Employee uniforms will also reflect our fresh, new look.
How does the culture angle play into these decisions? What about the brand’s multicultural movement makes it stand out from other chains in quick service and around the country?
We craft pizzas powered by culture. We’re a Latino-inspired brand, serving an Italian food to an American audience.
For those who are the boss of their own culture, Pizza Patrón is the liberator of pizza’s restraints, offering bold choices and more value so that our guests are free to express their own flavor without compromise. Pizza is a universal language that knows no demographics or ethnicities. Pizza speaks to all mindsets.
We use our Latino inspiration to develop unique specialty pizzas and LTOs, with ingredients like our smoky chorizo and spicy ranch. We own the Latino pizza flavor, and while other chains can merely try to create LTOs, they will not be as authentic as ours. Our culinary innovations look to infuse other cultural flavors with our Latino flavor.
Talk about the website revamp. What can we expect to see from the online ordering platform and what stands out about the new corporate site?
Our new website reflects our fresh, vibrant, urban culture while showing the love people have for our pizzas. We rolled out online ordering to the entire system at the end of 2017. Online ordering was an easy decision in our process of enhancing guest experience. We wanted to ultimately create a seamless and enjoyable way for guests to order the pizza they love in the new age of digital technology.
Why was now the perfect time to make these changes?
We bought the company in December 2016. Last year was really all about setting the foundation for our future. We hired a Corporate Chef, Director of Digital Technology, Guest Experience Manager, and Chief Marketing Officer. These key positions helped launch key initiatives that are important for the growth of the brand. We also put a focus on operational standards and emphasized the importance of training within our restaurants. Although it may have seemed as if nothing was happening within the brand, there was a lot going on behind the scenes.
In regards to the brand relaunch, we hired an advertising agency to do a thorough deep dive of our brand. This new brand identity was thoroughly tested and a time-consuming project, and now we landed on what we feel is a great place!
With the changes in place, how does this position Pizza Patrón for future growth?
In the past, everything was done in-house, including marketing and advertising. We know in order to grow this brand, we had to turn to the experts and partnered with the best vendors to take our brand to the next level. A lot of our decisions and new initiatives are grounded in sound research by these partners. We’re also focusing on digital technology—from a new POS system, to marketing campaign, and training materials. We live in a digital world and we’re taking the necessary steps to make sure the brand is always innovating.
What is the growth strategy moving forward?
We plan on opening up franchising later this year. We plan on focusing in markets where Pizza Patrón used to exist but have since closed down restaurants. We see a lot of social chatter in these markets, asking us to come back. We have a very aggressive plan for growth. We plan on having 1,000 restaurants in the next 10 years.