KONO Pizza, an Italian concept that serves pizza in a portable cone format, has planted a flag in the U.S.

David Ragosa, Carlo Ruggerio and Greg Kinlaw struck a deal to franchise the entire U.S. territory, establishing KONO USA in August in Edison, N.J., and there are currently more than 15 units in the development pipeline domestically.

KONO Pizza already has 130 locations operating in 20 countries. The brand was developed by Rossano Boscolo in 2004.

Ragosa, Ruggiero and Kinlaw discovered the concept during a trip to Europe and were inspired by "the opportunity to shake up the pizza market," according to a news release.

"The KONO cone is pizza reinvented," Ragosa said. "You aren't likely to see a guy in a business suit walking down 5th avenue eating a droopy slice of greasy pizza. Our cones are created around mobility and high-quality ingredient. Our pizza tastes better, you feel better about eating it, and you won't spill sauce down your shirt."

Served in a cone and filled with ingredients imported from Italy, the pizza cone features a thin crust and low-moisture cheese and averages 250 to 280 calories each.

"KONO Pizza is fast and easy to prepare, nothing is pre-made, and every single cone is cooked on the spot. Our pizza cones can be eaten anywhere, anytime," Ruggiero said.

The newly established U.S. franchisor plans to open ocations across the country in traditional kiosk formats and standalone stores. Startup costs are expected to range between $250,000 to $400,000. The recipes and cooking processes are standard throughout all locations, and each location requires a limited staff of 8 to 10 part-time employees and one full-time manager.

"There are more than 70,000 pizzerias, but no other franchise out there in the United States has a product like ours," Ragosa added. "We are offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with an innovative franchise in the quick-service pizza segment — a concept that's already been proven successful around the world."

Read more about franchising and growth.

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