New Orleans-based NakedPizza has announced more planned stores with veteran franchisees, many affiliated with The Kraft Group, the Massachusetts-based private equity firm whose holdings include the New England Patriots.

New franchisees and stores are slated for Boston, San Diego, New Orleans, Cincinnati and Lafayette, La., as well as New Jersey. These awards come in addition to a list of previously signed area development contracts in Miami, Boulder, Orlando, Tampa, New York, and Kentucky, bringing the total number of units in development to over 200. NakedPizza launched its franchise company at the end of 2009.

Some have scoffed at the number of franchisees the to-be chain has signed, without any having come to fruition. But the concept’s development team says the first stores outside New Orleans will come on board in September in Miami – less than a year after the franchise process started.

“Our national rollout is the culmination of several years experience in the delivery/carryout sector, and we've put a lot of thought and energy into building our operations platform for our franchisees and area developers,” said Brock Fillinger, director of systems and supply. “We use readily available, natural ingredients that can be brought to our locations by a single broad-line distributor.”

The newest franchisees include members or affiliates of The Kraft Group, the equity backers of NakedPizza, such as Peter Biro, franchisee for the New England and Boston area. Biro is also a lead partner in a group that operates 18 Five Guys Hamburgers and Fries in the region.

The Lafayette area in Louisiana is led by Kevin Faulk. Faulk is a former LSU football star who helped lead the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl championships. He was introduced to NakedPizza by team owner Robert Kraft.

Other franchisees include Manuel Mattei, who will bring on San Diego and Orange Country. The San Diego and Orange County group is comprised of an experienced team of multi-unit operators with vast holdings in Mexico, the United States and Latin America.

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