Pizzeria Uno has solidified itself as a piece of pizza history, recognized as the true birthplace of Chicago-style deep dish. Their established reputation and long-standing franchise structure have helped franchisees thrive for decades in free standing restaurants. And in 2022, Pizzeria Uno began leveraging its heritage and franchise infrastructure as a branded-restaurant player in the lodging industry.
“2022 has been a record year for growth for Pizzeria Uno, and we attribute much of our success to our franchise model,” says Erik Frederick, Pizzeria Uno CEO. “For one, we have a collaborative franchise environment and work together in many aspects of the business. Secondly, we focus on bringing in franchisees who are passionate about the brand. When you have that passion, that's going to carry over to the quality of your food and guest service. Maintaining that culture really is the secret sauce of our pizza and brand.”
Launching a new hotel-restaurant conversion strategy gave hotel owners a chance to open a full-service Pizzeria Uno restaurant connected to their hotel, tapping into the brand’s nationally recognized menu and universally in-demand product to serve both guests and local members of the community.
During this monumental year, Pizzeria Uno had five new signings—more than they’ve signed since 2011. These include locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia. Notably, the franchisees that have opened have already signed on for more locations after seeing great success from partnering with the brand.
The first of these five hotel conversions to launch was a Chicago-area hotel that opened its doors in August. This location, which was previously an unbranded restaurant, marked the first time Pizzeria Uno expanded its original Chicago deep dish recipe outside its iconic downtown location, which opened nearly 80 years ago.
“To bring the iconic Pizzeria Uno brand to our hotel has been an amazing opportunity,” says Victor Ravago, who is part of Bravo Hospitality Group, the franchisee behind the opening. “We have seen revenue increases from day one. We are not only seeing increased hotel guest traffic, but we are also seeing customers from the local community frequent the restaurant, which hadn’t happened previously.”
Increased business isn’t the only benefit franchisees can expect when partnering with the 40-year veteran franchise company. Pizzeria Uno also provides its owners with in-depth support in all aspects of the business, from planning to build-out, operations to supply chain, and marketing and finance. And since hotel operators already have the kitchen and most of the equipment in place, conversion costs are minimized, giving owners confidence they will have everything they need to run the restaurant efficiently.
“For years, restaurants in hotels didn't get much outside traffic because the perception was that they were too expensive or that they did not have great food,” says Fred Houston, Vice President of Franchise Operations at Pizzeria Uno. “But we've been able to alleviate that hurdle for guests. We are providing quality food from a trusted brand and they are glad we are there.”
As part of a strategy to pique the interest of more potential developers, Pizzeria Uno participated in several trade shows and conventions during 2022. In Tampa, the brand attended and hosted a booth at The Franchise Show that saw over 2,000 attendees. Pizzeria Uno also attended the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) National Convention as well as the AAHOA regional show in Orlando. The company was also a member of the BITAC conference in Florida which pairs together hospitality industry decision-makers and owners with development and solution companies. These events, along with others, have filled the pipeline with interested prospective franchise partners as the company moves into the new year.
Looking ahead to 2023, Pizzeria Uno is targeting 10 to 15 new units, with more to come in the years ahead. With demand for pizza booming and travel picking up around the country, the time has never been better for hotel operators to optimize their food and beverage program with a Pizzeria Uno restaurant conversion.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.