Marco's Pizza, the nation's fastest growing pizza company, announced today that is has named Darren Gray as Senior Director of Menu & Culinary innovation. As an expert in the field with extensive experience in the food and restaurant industry, Gray brings over two decades of experience from nationally recognized brands to the Marco's Pizza team.

Prior to joining Marco's Pizza, Gray successfully developed and launched several new menu items and Limited Time Offers, including driving the ideation and creation of recipes and restaurant level procedures as Director of Culinary Innovations of Fazoli's LLC. His culinary contributions helped set a new record of 30 consecutive months of same store sales growth. Previously at Papa John's, Gray found significant success designing and developing 22 new pizza concepts from initial ideas to final approval. With a Bachelors of Science in food science and nutrition and a Masters of Science in food science and technology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Gray has a deeply rooted passion and understanding for menu development and culinary innovation that will drive results.

"Having spent most of his career working in the restaurant industry, Gray has played an integral role in building brands' menu and culinary effectiveness," said Jack Butorac, CEO of Marco's Pizza. "Gray's expertise and creativity, especially in pizza and Italian food, will benefit our brand tremendously, taking our already fresh high-quality ingredients and recipes to an entirely new level."

As the only national pizza chain founded by a native Italian, Marco's has made its name in the growing $40 billion pizza industry by producing fresh, authentic, handmade pizza. Italian food is famous for its quality and generous servings, and Marco's prides itself on crafting every pizza in the classic Italian tradition by using ingredients that are fresh. At a time when 91 percent of Americans eat pizza once a month, more people are increasingly choosing the quality pizza that's synonymous with Marco's name.

"The possibilities with Marco's Pizza are endless. The brand has an incredible story beginning with its native Italian founder, Pat Giammarco, and his mandate to never compromise on products, sticking true to the authentic standards of freshness, flavor and quality," said Gray. "As Senior Director of Menu & Culinary innovation, it's my goal is to align menu and culinary development with the Marco's Pizza brand of authentic Italian to create unique and craveable new products that will differentiate the brand from other food industry concepts."

Because of the company's strong corporate backing, ability to take market share, its Italian food standards and its people, the Marco's Pizza franchise system took less than five years to more than double in size. As a result, Marco's Pizza has received high praise from Entrepreneur Magazine and which ranked Marco's in the top 10 Allstar franchise systems. Most recently, Marco's Pizza ranked as number 2 on the Nation's Restaurant News' second 100 top 10 newcomers. 



Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco's Pizza (Marco's Franchising, LLC) is the fastest-growing pizza company in the U.S. (based on the number of stores signed into development since 2007). Marco's was founded in 1978 by Italian born, Pasquale ("Pat") Giammarco and thrives by making Italian Pizza with fresh ingredients. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate more than 400 stores in 32 states, and the Bahamas. Marco's Pizza recently ranked 11th place in the "2012 Pizza Industry Top 100 Movers & Shakers" by To inquire about franchise opportunities with Marco's Pizza visit

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