- Marco’s Pizza has hired Gerardo Flores as its chief development officer, the company announced Tuesday. He will be responsible for the chain’s U.S. and international growth.
- Flores, a nearly 20-year QSR vet, most recently worked as VP of real estate at Tropical Smoothie Cafe for nine months, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- This leadership appointment comes after Marco’s opened its 1,100th store in July and surpassed $1 billion in annual sales earlier this year.
Flores’ experience will help support the pizza chain’s rapid expansion, which includes 200 stores in various stages of development and over 350 agreements signed. In March, the company signed one of its largest deals with a 46-unit agreement in Phoenix over six years and continues to enter multi-unit deals in states like Virginia, South Carolina and Texas.
The company has also been making it easier for franchisees to grow. In April, Marco’s unveiled an enhanced franchise development program with a goal of reaching 1,500 units by the end of next year. The program provides incentives for multi-unit growth, support for securing financing, streamlined design and construction processes and additional expertise from its real estate support team. As of 2021, the company reported an average unit volume of nearly $1.2 million, a 12.8% year-over-year increase, according to the press release.
The new CDO will bring real estate experience from his positions at Jersey Mike’s Subs, Quiznos, Cold Stone Creamery and PetSmart, and has expertise in strategic market planning, according to the press release. In addition to domestic and international growth, Flores will be responsible for streamlining the development process and driving expansion.
Marco’s is also looking for additional cost-savings opportunities to lower upfront costs for franchisees, including smaller footprints, pickup windows and tools that can improve the opening process. The company is adding various tools to create more efficiencies as well as improve the customer service experience. The pizza chain began a 50-unit test of voice-to-text ordering in March and expects to expand this technology systemwide by the end of the year. In initial testing conducted in the summer of 2021 that system yielded 100% order accuracy.
The company is also in the process of transitioning to a cloud-based technology platform dubbed Marco’s Order Management System, which will reach all company-owned stores by the end of the year and reach franchises beginning next year. The system integrates different tools including point-of-sale systems, conversational ordering, labor scheduling and inventory management.