An executive at Fort Worth-based Mr Gatti’s Pizza calls it a “strategic evolution”—a new franchise opportunity that includes a pizzeria/convenience store option.

The brand, which has 140-plus restaurants in Texas and across the U.S., announced the innovative move this week, marking its first expansion to non-traditional locations.

“In our 55-year history, Mr Gatti’s has continually innovated, and our latest model exemplifies this spirit by offering our franchisees enhanced revenue streams and operational flexibility,” said Scott McIntosh, vice president of franchise development at Mr Gatti’s Pizza.

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“This new venture attaching our delivery and carryout (DELCO) format to convenience stores allows franchisees to capitalize on a compact, adaptable footprint, catering to today’s fast-paced consumer lifestyle with a premium, convenient dining experience. It’s a strategic evolution,” McIntosh added, “ensuring our franchise partners not only grow with the brand but also lead the way in the ever-evolving food service industry.”

Convenience stores that offer pizza is nothing new. Hunt Brothers Pizza can be found in more than 9,000 C-stores in 30 states, and 7-Eleven offers everything from Brooklyn-style pies to breakfast pizzas and a take-and-bake option.

Casey’s goes so far as to claim it’s the country’s fifth largest pizza brand, reportedly baking up 30 million pies a year.

But a name-brand pizzeria with a C-store franchise model is a different thing altogether. It will feature a smaller footprint and a pickup window, with orders accepted online and via Mr Gatti’s mobile app. This new concept will initially focus on Texas and the Southeast, the company said, while future expansion plans will target the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest regions.

The C-store concept was inspired by Mr Gatti’s standalone DELCO model. The expected investment ranges from $374,000 to $652,866, mirroring the costs of current DELCO models. Designed for flexibility, the model caters to spaces ranging from 800 to 1,500 square feet, providing franchisees with a versatile and adaptable opportunity in locations that include travel centers, airports, amusement parks and more.

Along with the new convenience store model and DELCO-only operations, Mr Gatti’s offers a Family Entertainment Center format as well.

Mr Gatti’s Pizza first opened its doors as The Pizza Place in Stephenville, Texas, in 1964. The brand changed its name—in honor of founder James Eure’s wife, whose maiden name was Gatti—when it moved to Austin in 1969.

In July 2023, CEO Jim Phillips said the company was on track for a record-breaking year. “Mr Gatti’s has been at the top of its game in every aspect lately,” he said in a statement at the time. “We awarded more new franchise agreements in the last three years alone than in at least an entire decade prior, while our sales across our network have been consistently rising…all despite a pandemic and economic downturn. We’re certainly on track to continue at this pace and have our sights set on opening at least 60 more new locations between now and the end of 2026. In the meantime, we look forward to supporting our powerhouse franchisees as even our oldest locations continue setting new sales records.”

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