Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria, a create-your-own, hand crafted pizzeria concept out of Santa Barbara, California, announced it has signed a franchise development agreement to open as many as 20 restaurants in South Florida over the next five years. The agreement marks the first major franchising announcement since Persona launched its franchise opportunity earlier this year.

“Persona′s expansion into South Florida is a major milestone for the brand as we expand beyond our Santa Barbara roots,” said Glenn Cybulski , World Pizza Champion and co-founder of Persona. “We look forward to introducing the brand to guests in South Florida and have no doubt they will love the Neapolitan-style pizzas that have made Persona so popular.”

The development rights for the South Florida restaurants have been awarded to Sager Management Group, a multi-unit franchisee that already owns and operates 20 Subway and Auntie Anne’s in the area. Headed by Steve Sager, a 30-year veteran of the franchise industry who has himself developed more than 200 Subway restaurants throughout New Jersey and Florida during his career, Sager Management Group plans to open its first Persona restaurant by the end of the year.

“The growing number of pizzerias jumping on the fast casual trend really got me searching for an innovative option with a broader menu and better environment,” said Sager. “When I found Persona, I knew I had found the concept that matched perfectly with what I was looking for. I have never seen a start-up with Persona’s potential. Their speed of service, coupled with the quality of the product, is unmatched in the pizza field or any field in franchising.”

The only pizzeria concept of its kind the country with both a certified  Italian Pizzaiolo and classically trained chef, Persona’s Neapolitan-style pizza is modeled after the legendary pizzerias in Naples. Instead of waiters serving tables, customers order their pizzas – which start at $7.95 – through an assembly line similar to Chipotle or Subway. They walk in, pick a sauce and type of cheese, then choose from over 30 toppings. The team behind the counter puts it all together, then tosses it into an imported wood fired “Marra Forni” oven that is 300 degrees hotter than most eateries. Ninety seconds later, they pull it out, cut it into slices and there you have it.

Persona also offers fixed-price signature pizzas, based on Cybulski’s award-winning recipes.

All the pizzas come in one size – 12 inches – and are crafted from 00 flour and tomatoes imported from Naples, combined with locally sourced fresh vegetables, meats and cheeses. The meatballs, sausage and sauces, all made on-site, have won gold medal acclaim nationally and internationally.

“While nothing can replace a culinary pilgrimage to Italy, we’re determined to create a far more affordable alternative right here in the United States,” said Persona founder Joseph Baumel, a classically trained chef from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. “With the quality of our pizza, we’re saving you a trip to Naples and about $6,000.”

About Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria

Founded in 2013, Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria is the only pizzeria of its kind in the country with an Italian trained Pizzaiolo. The concept is authentic Neapolitan (thin crust) pizza – using the finest imported ingredients possible, along with the freshest produce available – that is affordably priced and baked in 90 seconds. With one location currently open and operating in Santa Barbara, California, Persona recently launched a franchise opportunity and intends to have as many as 250 locations nationwide in the next five years. For more information, please visit

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