Mr Gatti’s Pizza may be an under-the-radar pizza brand, but it’s flying in hot this year, with 16 new franchise agreements signed in less than six months.

The family-oriented chain, founded by James Eure in 1969, also achieved the biggest spring break sales surge in its history, the company said in a press release.

Known as a go-to spot for kids’ birthday parties and hometown sports teams’ celebrations, Mr Gatti’s now has 140 locations open or in development and has been seeing steady growth since 2020. Not bad at all for a buffet pizza chain coming out of a years-long pandemic.

Related: Can third-party delivery revive Domino’s same-store sales?

This year alone, the chain, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, has awarded agreements for nine units spanning across Arkansas and Missouri, plus three units in Louisiana and four in Texas.

Over the 2023 spring break, Mr Gatti’s experienced a 7% increase in same-store sales and a nearly 11% increase in system-wide sales compared to the same time period in 2022.

Jim Phillips, Mr Gatti’s CEO, said the company “has been at the top of its game in every aspect lately.”

“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,” Phillips added. “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.”

The company said multi-unit franchisee George Kash, owner of Round Rock Mr Gatti’s Family Entertainment Center in Round Rock, Texas, saw sales of more than $225,000 in a single week during spring break 2023.

Meanwhile, Rick Shetler, owner of a Mr Gatti’s store in Lake Charles, Louisiana, celebrated 40 years as a franchisee this year. “I’ve watched this brand persevere and evolve through some of the toughest circumstances and still come out on top,” he said. “All the while, I’ve received unwavering support through my franchising journey. I am confident there’s an even brighter future ahead for us.”

Hoping to double its number of total locations across the U.S. in the next couple of years, Mr Gatti’s is looking for prospects with a keen focus on the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest regions.

Pizza News