San Antonio-based Pizza Patrón is gearing up for massive expansion in the Southwest and has hired a new chief operating officer to lead the charge.

The Latin-inspired pizza chain has brought on Guy Carney, who formerly served as director of restaurant openings for Mediterranean fast-casual chain Cava, to streamline employee training and operations and make it possible to open more stores faster.

Charles Loflin, a Pizza Patrón franchisee since 2003, and Chris Partyka purchased the company from founder Antonio Swad in early 2017, and Loflin became the CEO. They moved its headquarters from Dallas to Loflin’s own home base of San Antonio.

At that time the brand had 92 stores. It presently has 89 stores in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Laredo, Texas, plus the Rio Grande Valley and Arizona. But Pizza Patrón’s management wants to add 160 new locations over the next five years, the San Antonio Business Journal reports.

Carney told the San Antonio Business Journal that he has been tasked with modernizing Pizza Patrón’s employee training process to retain and grow talent, train employees better and improve managers’ training skills as well. The goal is to move skilled employees into management roles more quickly so the chain can open more locations.

“You have to have something that you can replicate, and it has to be easily digestible,” he said. “The team members have to understand it, and you have to approach all of the different learning styles that people have.”

This photo shows a smiling Latino woman holding two boxed pizzas and standing before a mural at a Pizza Patrón location.

Pizza Patrón / Facebook

Pizza Patrón was founded in 1986 with an eye on the underserved Latino market. In addition to classic pies, the chain offers a Latin-inspired menu, with pizzas such as the Mexicana (a four-cheese blend, green peppers, red onions, Mexican chorizo sausage, ground beef, and a choice of fresh or pickled jalapeños); the Choriqueso (Chihuahua cheese, chorizo, onions and a spicy crema sauce, served on Pizza Patrón’s signature Maíz crust); and the Carne Asada (grilled steak, Poblano peppers, red onions, roasted tomatillo salsa verde, fresh lime and a Maíz crust).

“There’s a lot of pizza places out there,” Carney told the San Antonio Business Journal. “There’s Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut. Everyone knows them. They’re publicly traded companies. But nobody really is in the Latin-inspired segment of pizza that we are, which is why we feel there’s such a niche that we can dominate in.”

And there’s no denying the power and reach of that niche. As the Pew Research Center noted in June 2022, the U.S. Hispanic population reached 61.2 million in 2020, making it the second-largest racial or ethnic group—behind white Americans and ahead of black Americans—and one of the fastest-growing groups in the country. The demographic has grown in nearly every corner of the nation.


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