Plaza Pizza, a Columbus-area pizza franchise and home of the region’s premier thin slice pizza since 1971, announced plans to increase its footprint in the Buckeye State as well as Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. With two locations in Heath and Newark on the outskirts of Columbus, the brand is expanding with as many as six new units by the end of 2023.
“Plaza Pizza has been a staple in these communities for more than 50 years and has some fiercely loyal customers,” says co-owner Brian Claggett. He added that he grew up eating Plaza Pizza and was stationed in the military in Korea when his mother called to let him know Plaza was for sale. After doing some research and due diligence, Claggett and his two siblings, Ben and Olivia, bought Plaza’s Newark location in 2019. He said the establishment has changed tremendously since it first opened in the seventies.
“It was a beloved, old school mom and pop business that only accepted cash or checks,” he says. “But it withstood the test of time because customers loved the quality and the authentic flavors and ingredients.”
Claggett has not tinkered with the original menu very much and is still serving up popular pizzas such as All the Meats, which includes pepperoni, bacon, ham, sausage, and hamburger, and All the Way, which has pepperoni, mushroom, onion, green pepper, green olives, and banana peppers. A Cauliflower Crust is preferred by customers following keto or low carb diets, while toasted subs called Torpedoes are piled high with toppings. Unlike some pizza chains that rely on frozen crusts and toppings, Claggett says Plaza’s dough and sauce is made in-house every day and produce is noticeably fresh from supporting local farmers. Claggett added that Plaza’s success with two locations in the Columbus area is an indicator the brand will do well in other parts of the country.
“Columbus is a melting pot of diverse palates and preferences due in part to the influence of Ohio State,” he explains. “I’ve spoken with numerous industry experts who confirm that if a food concept can be successful in Columbus, it can be successful throughout America.”
Plaza Pizza is actively seeking entrepreneurs and investors to become franchise partners. Startup costs are attractive compared to similar options, as Plaza is a pickup franchise without the burgeoning overheads of dine-in restaurants There is a franchise fee of $45,000 with a special military discount extended to veterans. Claggett says franchisees will benefit from the knowledge, support, and resources of the corporate team, and will learn everything they need to know about running a successful business.
“We’ve seen incredible profits from our locations, so we have the playbook on how to succeed,” he says. “In addition to our efficient operations, I believe we’ve been successful because we are focused on doing one thing well – and that’s thin crust pizza. We are not trying to become a jack-of-all trades, and would rather be known as the premier thin crust brand in America.”