Marco’s Pizza, a brand headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, with 1,200 locations across the U.S., is fueling international growth with a master franchise agreement in Mexico. The deal, which will create more than 50 new locations over the next 10 years, marks Marco’s entry into the country, where the brand hopes to appeal to a new pool of consumers.

The development is spearheaded by Grupo Pizza Amantes SA de CV, a Mexico-based company run by four business partners who have more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant space. After achieving “strong penetration” in the United States, Marco’s is now targeting international development to fuel growth in 2024. The brand shares that near-term opportunities exist most abundantly in the Latin American region, with future sights set on the Middle East, Europe and Canada. Currently, Marco’s has more than 180 stores in development and hundreds of agreements signed across the globe. 

In Mexico, meanwhile, the team is currently in the process of building out a site and is seeking both traditional and nontraditional units, with the first store projected to open in the second quarter of 2024. “This is a historic moment for the Marco’s brand,” says Gerardo Flores, chief development officer of Marco’s Pizza. “The announcement highlights our commitment to growing our international footprint, specifically in Mexico, which is one of the most vibrant QSR markets today. Mexico shares several demographic profiles with the United States, and with a business-friendly environment and acceptance of U.S. brands, this is an ideal market for our continued international expansion efforts.”

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This expansion follows Marco’s successful penetration into the Caribbean, where it currently operates 60-plus locations across the Bahamas and Puerto Rico with a master franchisee. “Our successful expansions in the Caribbean reinforced the global appeal of our brand, and we’re confident in the Grupo Pizza Amantes team and their ability to grow our brand presence in Mexico City,” says Tony Libardi, co-CEO and president of Marco’s Franchising. “Marco’s is currently undergoing some of our greatest expansion to date.”

To assist franchisees and multiunit operators, Marco’s offers a development support system, including technology and tools to help identify the right territories for expansion, while providing support in real estate, construction management, field operations and finding financing. According to FRANdata, a research and advisory firm that analyzes the franchise market, Marco’s 2023 FUND Score of 895 is in the top 1% of all evaluated franchise systems and is among the top three scores for all QSR brands. 

Alongside expansion, Marco’s is prioritizing investments in new technology, innovation, leadership, strategic partnerships, product quality and variety, multichannel national advertising, and more—all with an eye on maximizing franchisee profits while meeting the needs of today’s customers. According to the brand’s Franchise Disclosure Document, the top 50% of Marco’s franchised stores generated average net royalty sales of $1,222,684 during the 2022 fiscal year.

The brand has also earned multiple awards and other recognition, ranking in Newsweek’s 2023 America’s Best Customer Service in the pizza chains category, nabbing a spot on QSR’s Top 50, and most recently claiming the No. 48 spot on Entrepreneur’s 2024 Franchise 500 ranking.

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