Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen has 54 items backed by an extended historical past of expertise and craftsmanship. After a rebrand, the corporate is poised for worldwide progress.
Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen, helmed by CEO and Founder Anthony Russo, may simply be coming to a city close to you quickly.
With franchising ramping up, it has change into a world model, with 4 items in Dubai and 4 shops in Saudi Arabia. Russo can be exhibiting at a franchise present in London in April within the hopes of franchising Europe. There are greater than 50 shops in complete, and 7 are anticipated to open in 2022.
The corporate has an extended and storied historical past. Russo’s mother and father moved to Texas in 1978 and opened Russo’s Italian Restaurant, and it was there that Russo reduce his enamel on the restaurant business. Through the years he is owned a number of ideas, together with a 500-square-foot pizzeria at simply 18 years outdated, a trattoria and a café, and, within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, he opened a fine-dining Italian restaurant.
By the late 80s, he’d opened a New York slice store referred to as New York Pizzeria in a Houston medical middle making conventional New York slices and it took off. By 2000, he started franchising.
Three years in the past, the corporate rebranded as Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen.
“We wished to make it extra private, extra chef pushed,” Russo mentioned in a telephone interview. “We wished to have an identification, a face with the model, as a result of I am a chef. New York Pizzeria is only a generic title.”
“There’s an actual Russo behind the model,” he mentioned, “so as to add my title as a substitute of ‘New York Pizzeria.'”
He began the franchise enterprise from scratch with none attorneys to assist and studying as he went.
At present, there are 54 areas. Seven are corporate-owned and the remaining are franchised. AUV sit at $1.1 million to $1.2 million.
After 10 shops, franchising obtained a little bit simpler.
“I needed to develop recipes, SOPs and coaching supplies,” he mentioned. “It took years to develop all these techniques that I felt have been going to work in a franchise world. I wished to maintain the identical household recipes in every retailer.
Every part is comprised of scratch, and Russo’s does not make the most of a commissary.
“If we make it a Russo’s, it is the identical household recipe from 1978,” he mentioned. He developed the spice packs and spice mixes for his eating places, and people stay proprietary. “My cheese, my sauce, my olive oil — all of the proprietary stuff — I nonetheless use them immediately that I used 30 years in the past. I have never modified.”
The eating places use Baker’s Satisfaction and Woodstone deck ovens to bake their pizzas utilizing handmade dough.
His mom is from Sicily, so when he travels to Italy, he is capable of make offers with olive oil farms and the dairy farms to construct relationships to import substances instantly from Europe and the franchisees are capable of have the identical substances at their very own shops.
“These are all fine-quality substances through which I’ve constructed relationships through the years,” he mentioned. “We carry them from Italy to the USA. If you choose the fitting substances on your pizza and pasta dishes, you are going to have an incredible product on the finish of the day.”
These high-quality, all-natural substances makes Russo’s a standout in opposition to his competitors. On high of these substances, Russo and his govt crew make retailer visits to make sure compliance with the Russo’s manner to make sure continuity throughout the model.
Franchisees prepare as much as six weeks on the residence retailer, the place they study the distinction between cheaper merchandise and the high-end merchandise Russo’s makes use of so the franchisee may be happy with what she or he serves.
“There’s not premade substances that you simply purchase out of your distributor,” Russo mentioned. “It is fairly distinctive merchandise. That is what makes our idea very totally different within the market and at them similar time I will preserve my meals prices as little as 20 to 21% as a result of I haven’t got a commissary or copacker to pack our stuff for us and make us pay increased margins. We’re making do-it-yourself. I haven’t got to purchase frozen doughballs. Once I was researching different franchise ideas, they do not make their sauce anymore. They do not make their doughballs anymore. They purchase all the pieces premade, and if you purchase all the pieces from a 3rd celebration, they cost a premium for it.”
Labor price sits at about 27%, and it is all in the best way they make their objects, Russo defined. For instance, when he makes lasagna, he makes 5 trays on the similar time, every at 28 servings. Twenty kilos of floor beef will make, nicely, lots of hand-rolled meatballs (floor veal can also be used within the meatballs).
“It isn’t laborious to cook dinner if you understand how to do it,” he mentioned. “It is a part of the commerce secrets and techniques that you simply present your franchisees.”
Well-liked menu objects embrace the pizza made with recent mozzarella, lasagna, baked ziti, fettuccine Alfredo and hen parmesan.
Since he grew up in advantageous eating institutions, he introduced over advantageous eating recipes and translated them for informal and fast-casual set-ups.
Franchisees are in a position to decide on full-service or counter service designs relying on location. Every is constructed with a customized design, which makes it engaging to franchisees. Full-service designs sit at about 2,200-3,500 sq. toes, whereas counter companies weigh in at 1,500-2,000 sq. toes.
“On the finish of the day, it is the standard of the meals that units us aside,” Russo mentioned.