Marco's Pizza, across from Suwanee Town Center, opened just two days before the 2011 Taste of Suwanee event. It's a good thing for Suwanee, as the Pizzeria won third place in the taste contest. Owner Dharmesh (DJ) Patel is not new to the pizza business. He spent 23 years with Pizza Hut before moving his career to the Marco's Pizza brand.
DJ is business partners with ViPul Patel (no relation) and they are the company's assigned area developers for the Atlanta area. The Suwanee Town Center location is their third store in Suwanee. The other two are off Old Peachtree and Mathis Airport Road.
DJ wanted to become an entrepreneur in the restaurant business and was attracted to Marco's for two reasons: the product, and the leadership team. He says that the leadership team “are all themselves franchisees. So they have a stake in the success of the business.”
Marco’s Pizza is headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, and the brand is committed to making Italian pizza with fresh ingredients. Their areas of focus are the dough, sauce, and cheese. Marco’s dough is made fresh daily in each store. They use a proprietary sauce recipe that blends spices and three different types of tomatoes, and they use a blend of three cheeses that are never frozen.
The new Suwanee store is “green.” It contains LED and CFL lighting throughout the store, and the oven has sensors that shut off power when there is not a pizza going through it.
DJ wanted to be directly in Town Center because it's the central location for so many Suwanee events. But since the business has delivery services in addition to take-out and dine-in, it needed to consider accessibility for the drivers.
The location he chose provided the proximity to Town Center with the accessibility of Buford Highway. Right now he is seeing more customers from the local residents than the park area. But he realizes that more business will come with word of mouth and name recognition.
DJ says that he and his partner ViPul can start stores in one of two ways:
Support franchisees that request to start a local store. DJ supports the franchise by providing training and then stays involved for the day-to-day operations and to enforce the brand standards.
They start a franchise and find a local manager to help run the store operations.
The kitchen in each Marco's is in the same format and layout, but the dining area and carry-out area can be unique to the each site. The Town Center Suwanee location is DJ's first full inside dining Marco's with a seating capacity for 84 persons.
DJ is already involved in the Suwanee community. He is working with the local schools to provide free pizza rewards for honor roll students. DJ has also provided sponsorship to North Gwinnett and Collins Hill football programs. He says the dine-in area is available for special events such as team parties.
You can find out more about the Marco's brand by following or viewing their information online.
Facebook => http://www.facebook.com/MarcosPizza
Twitter => http://twitter.com/#!/marcospizzacorp
YouTube => http://www.youtube.com/marcospizzallc
When you go, try the White Cheezy Pizza (no red sauce). It's the one marked with “Award Winning” on the menu.