After 28 years in business, Pizza Patrón has opened its first corporate-owned store. It is located at 1456 Beltline Rd. in Garland, Texas. The company’s new expansion strategy includes development of company-owned restaurants as well as stores built by existing multiunit operators with solid track records, according to a press release. In the past year, the company has laid its foundation for this plan by halting the search for new franchisees and closing low-performing stores. More than 20 percent of its stores have been closed as part of this strategy.
Despite having 20 percent fewer stores, Pizza Patrón's yearly total sales are up 3.9 percent through May 18, and comp sales are up 10 percent. The company also narrowed its brand focus from "Hispanic" to "Mexican" to further develop a relationship with customers and differentiate in the marketplace, the release said.
"We are very excited about the opening of this new corporate store," brand director Andrew Gamm said in the release. "This is the kickoff of a very new and highly controlled growth strategy. The company is focusing on building a corporate culture which would be challenging to do with franchising where the brand has no say in the hiring process and those decisions are left to each individual franchisee."
The company is currently hiring team members and adding the infrastructure to support each new company store. Its corporate staff is expected to grow from 10 employees to nearly 150 by the end of 2014.