Russo’s Restaurants, the family of dining concepts that includes Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, announced plans to significantly enhance the brands’ footprint in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, all of which have a current Russo’s presence.
Russo’s kicked off 2014 with the opening of the company’s first Hawaii location in Ewa Beach. An additional 12-15 restaurants are planned to open during the remainder of the year throughout markets like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Currently, there are 25 Russo’s Restaurants in development.
“We’ve exceeded our growth goals,” says chef Anthony Russo, a formally trained chef who opened his first Russo’s New York Pizzeria in 1992 and later developed Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. “Russo’s expansion just cannot be contained, and we are pleased to provide our loyal fans with additional Russo’s locations in these three lucrative growth markets.”
This news comes on the heels of a year of growth for Russo’s Restaurants. In 2013, Russo’s signed agreements to open four new restaurants and opened six. The year ahead represents the brand’s most aggressive growth phase yet.
“We have carefully selected Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas for continued growth,” Russo says. “Russo’s Restaurants can be found in many major Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas cities, and we are excited to expand our footprint even further.”
With a significant presence already established in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Russo’s franchise development team is looking to El Paso, Lubbock, Tyler, Denton, McAllen, Fort Worth, Midland, and Odessa for growth in Texas, as well as Greater Tulsa, Greater Oklahoma City, and Greater Little Rock in the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“Our franchise opportunities can’t be beat - we have exciting opportunities in profitable U.S. markets for franchise growth,” says Alfred Naddaff, Russo’s director of franchise development. “For those looking to develop three or more units of one of the best pizza concepts or a distinctive full-service Italian restaurant, our flexible incentives are sure to impress. Our pilot program is designed for a franchisee that is looking for the chance to own part of a brand that is built to stand the test of time – a pair of proven concepts.”
Franchisees have found success in Russo’s proven concepts – the New York Pizzeria is family-style casual, and the Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen is a bit more upscale full-service concept.
“Russo’s has made a huge splash in Conway,” says Ben Allen, the owner of a Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen outside of Little Rock. “We couldn’t have done it without the top-notch training program, ongoing franchisor support and the convenience of tapping into Russo’s resources and proven concepts. The positive response from our community has been overwhelming – there is virtually nothing like it here, and our guests love the “wow” factor we deliver with every plate of delicious, homemade Italian food.”
From traditional Italian appetizers like bruschetta and fried calamari to coal-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and an impressively authentic Italian dessert selection, diners at the New York Pizzeria run an average of $23 per check. Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen guests spend an average of $42 per check.
“I have prior restaurant ownership know-how, but I have never had as positive of an experience in the restaurant business as I have had with Russo’s,” says Guillermo Medellin, who owns a Russo’s New York Pizzeria in Houston. “It’s been going extremely well – so well, in fact, that I’m in the process of opening another Russo’s in the Houston area. The franchising team has been incredibly supportive of this process.”