Riko's Pizza is Franchising

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INSIGHTS FROM THE OWNERS: Fired up and ready for growth

What lies ahead as the Riko’s expands into pizza franchise offerings? Our conversation with Riko’s owners, Rico Imbrogno and Luigi Cardillo, explores the philosophies, strategic thinking, and hard work that has prepared Riko’s for the next step.

Q. When did you think about franchising Riko's?

A. "Franchising our pizza concept was in the forefront of our thinking right out of the gate." explains Rico. Opening three locations within 18 months – fast casual take-out/eat-in and a full-service restaurant -- gave the owners the venues they needed to define and refine Riko's business model. Over a seven-year period, they planned, implemented and revised the venues. They micro-managed every detail: recipes, food preparation, suppliers, equipment, menu, restaurant design, training and more to create well-oiled systems and processes that translate into a proven, turn-key operation. "We decided to franchise Riko's in July 2018, because we are confident that our regional brand is ready to go national," Imbrogno declares. "We have a proven concept and great business opportunity for franchisees.”

Q. How do you ensure quality in all aspects of the business as you move into franchising?

A. “In a franchise business you want owners to know you’ve thought through all the details. So, the ovens you’ve chosen have to be the best, most efficient technology to handle high volume peak hours and diverse locations. Making the crust has to be foolproof. You set standards and develop systems that are easy to follow and easy to replicate over and over. Then customers get the same great food no matter what they order and how often they get it. Our pizza franchisees are armed with the tools and knowledge to produce consistent, great result. Riko’s is a turn-key business model that works across all processes. We aim to keep things simple and do them the best they can be done.

Q. Why does Riko’s offer two casual options for pizza franchises?

A. “By developing both a fast-casual operation for take-out, dine in and delivery for about 900 to 1500 square feet and a full-service casual restaurant with a full bar, table service, and family-style dining in about 2800 to 3500 square feet, we offer franchisees a flexible universe to choose from. It’s a broad offering that suits diverse real estate and markets. A smaller fast-casual franchise can thrive in a mall, college campus, airport or urban setting. Our full-service model translates into a suburban neighborhood location. There are options for multi-unit owners and single franchisees. That’s unique in the franchise business. By designing operations and systems that ensure consistency and a footprint that translates into a variety of venues a prospective owner can invest in the option or options that match his or her vision.”

Q. How does Riko’s support franchise owners’ success?

A. Rico is quick to say, “That answer has to start with explaining how we view franchisees. We believe franchisees are more than business partners. They are extended family. When we talk about family values it’s more than warm fuzzy feelings, we pledge a commitment to treat partners with the same respect and integrity we demonstrate among our blood relations. When that is a core value of your business, you set up programs and tools that have been carefully vetted. You make sure the information you share and the training offered is clear, consistent and on-going. You have franchise experts guide you in establishing fees and cost structures so you are fully prepared. You share every bit of your knowledge, experience, and skills so that regardless of an owner’s depth of experience or the business model that appeals to them, they have the best tools and team behind them. I’m confident that because we’re doing our job on the little details, the big things will take care of themselves. And that sets the stage for growth and success of our pizza franchise business.”

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