Chef Anthony Russo, the founder of chef-driven dining concepts that include Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, announced a franchise growth plan targeting key regions throughout Florida, such as Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando.

Fresh off of signing a multiunit development deal for the Tampa market and amid the success of its Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen location in Pembroke Pines, Russo and his team are looking to bring close to 30 additional locations to Florida’s key metro regions. Each restaurant will create 25 to 30 new jobs, totaling between 750 and 900 open employment opportunities in the area.

“The Sunshine State is full of promising possibilities for our franchise,” Russo says. “There is consumer demand that currently is not being met throughout Florida for authentic New York–style pizza and full-flavor Italian fare. Opening additional locations throughout the state is a crucial move in our growth strategy.”

Demonstrating the excitement around the brand, Russo’s kicked off 2016 by celebrating two grand openings in Katy and Brownsville, Texas, and finalizing plans to open in additional markets throughout the United States as well as internationally.

“We anticipate expanding across the state as Florida’s growing economy offers access to multiple attractive locations. With our established brands and a management team committed to supporting our franchisees every step of the way, we’re confident in our prospects,” Russo adds.

Russo’s devoted customer following has developed strong ties to the brand, connecting with its delicious, handcrafted, authentic Italian selections. By allowing the option to dine-in or takeout, as well as catering, Russo’s fans can enjoy a personalized customer experience.

The bonds developed with guests are a clear reflection of the performance of Russo’s restaurant locations. In fact, system-wide Russo’s units earn 24 percent average net profit, which includes average food costs of less than 22 percent, a figure well below the national average for the fast-casual pizza/Italian sector. Plus, the brands’ average unit volume surpasses $1 million. The most recent Russo’s opening saw weekly sales income between $35,000 to $60,000.

Another exciting development for the brand includes refreshed and redesigned menus for both Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. The new menus showcase more than 80 delectable items that take a fresh approach to Italian classics. New items include the Chicken & Kale Pesto Pasta Salad, made with grilled chicken and fresh kale, tossed with pesto sauce, cucumbers, Roma tomatoes and penne pasta, as well as the Spinach, Kale & Artichoke pizza covered in spinach, artichoke hearts, kale, all-natural Mozzarella cheese, and roasted garlic in a creamy Alfredo sauce.

“With our open kitchen concept, coal fired ovens and custom-designed units, it is our goal to transport guests to their favorite New York eatery,” Russo says.

Russo’s Restaurants offers a rare franchise opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in proven brands that are entirely chef-created, chef-inspired, and chef-driven. With full training provided, no prior restaurant experience is necessary. The franchise investment for Russo’s New York Pizzeria in spaces from 1,500 to 3,500 square feet is between $350,000 and $700,000 per location. 

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