Houston-based Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen have implemented plans for further expand throughout the south. The brands will support its growth plans with changes to operations and marketing.

"As other restaurants are closing their doors in the current economic state, Russo's is surging forward and positioning everything to reflect positive growth for the brand," said Anthony Russo, who opened his first restaurant at 17 in Galveston, Texas, and his first Russo's New York Pizzeria in 1992. "While we cannot change the economic climate, we can implement strategy to ensure continued success for existing restaurants and future franchisees."

Throughout the last 12 months, the franchise has introduced a new menu to complement its existing Italian signatures, designed a new logo to embrace the brand's culture and established a new training facility to ensure success among new and existing franchisees.

The Russo's restaurants feature authentic Italian dishes such as Gnocchi Bolognese, Chicken Picatta, Pasta Di Mare and handcrafted Italian Cannolis. New additions include the Eggplant Rollatini and Spinach and Artichoke dip.

In addition to opening two restaurants in 2011, the brand signed five separate agreements for 31 locations throughout the United States and the Middle East.

Company plans call for opening an additional 10 franchise locations in 2012.

"With all the positive changes implemented into the brand, now is the perfect time to execute growth procedures, and we are pleased with the expansion that we are seeing both domestically and internationally," Russo said.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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