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Pizza giant Marco’s slowly inches into Idaho

Marco’s Pizza has nearly 900 locations, but so far only one in Idaho in Meridian. Photo courtesy of Marco’s Pizza.

Toledo, Ohio-based Marco’s Pizza took its first bite in Idaho in January with a shop in northwest Meridian at Ten Mile and McMillan roads.

Now, the seventh largest U.S. pizza chain is looking for franchisees to add five more Marco’s in the Treasure Valley, said Keith Sizemore, Marco’s vice president of new territory development.

Marco’s was the largest U.S. pizza chain without a Boise metro presence until this year.

The expansion into Idaho is part of Marco’s blitz into the western states, where the brand is still not widely known.

Marco’s has only 55 of its 890 stores in the western states of Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and Idaho, with none so far in Oregon and Washington.

Sizemore said Marco’s aims to have 200 to 250 stores in the West by 2020, nearly doubling the national count to 1,500 stores. But strategic planning for Idaho has not gone beyond the five in the Treasure Valley for now.

“We have not nailed down a trade area (in Idaho) where we want to be in yet,” Sizemore said. “It depends on the interest of franchisees (elsewhere in Idaho).”

Nation’s Restaurant News ranks Marco’s Pizza as the seventh largest U.S. pizza chain in terms of sales and the third fastest growing in terms of sales and number of stores.

Marco’s Pizza was founded in 1978 by Italian immigrant Pat Giammarco. Sizemore said the chain insists on using fresh, never frozen cheese with sauce and dough made in-store.

The chain stuck mostly to the Rust Belt until about 2006. The first western Marco’s opened in 2004, but the chain didn’t look much to the West until the first Arizona store opened in 2008, Sizemore said.

“It depends on where master franchisees were,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot in the West.”

A group of doctors from several states, with operating partner Craig Hixson, has the Meridian franchise, but Sizemore said that group has not indicated an interest to operate additional Marco’s.

Largest pizza chains by sales

  1. Domino’s, $5.9 billion
  2. Pizza Hut, $5.5 billion
  3. Little Caesars, $3.7 billion
  4. Papa John’s, $3.0 billion
  5. Chuck E. Cheese’s, $838.3 million
  6. Papa Murphy’s, $832.5 million
  7. Marco’s, $561.3 million

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.