Latino pizza chain savors national pie

July 18, 2005

GARLAND, Texas -- Restaurant entrepreneur Antonio Swad has coveted the Hispanic market since the 1980s, when he moved from Ohio to Texas "because that's where everybody else seemed to be going."

Now, two years after franchising Wingstop, his 8-year-old chicken-wing business, Swad is ready to enter the pizza franchise market.

The Hispanic-oriented, takeout-only pizza chain Pizza Patro is geared for its national rollout, according to the Dallas Business Journal. A prototype for the business opened Oct. 17 in Garland, Texas. The pizzeria features Latino background music, a bilingual work force and a sign that greets customers with the phrase "Pizza Ahora," Spanish for "pizza right now."

Swad has opened four Hispanic-oriented pizzerias since 1986, according to the newspaper. The stores are limited to takeout service and are open just 46 hours a week.

Charles Bernstein, editor-at-large for Chain Leader, an industry publication that follows chain-restaurant trends, said Swad has a good concept.

"It's great to have a niche rather than trying to be all things to all people," Bernstein said.

Pizza Patron franchisees will pay between $122,800 and $176,050 for a 10-year commitment, Swad said. After that, the franchisees will pay 5 percent of the stores' gross annual sales as royalties.

Dallas-based Multifoods Distribution will distribute the company's proprietary products, which include pizza boxes and spice kits used to make a special sauce.

Swad wants to have as many as 30 new Pizza Patro stores across the country within a year. His Wingstop franchise is planning 100 new locations during the next 12 months for a total of 178.

Topics: Operations Management

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