The Gulf Coast pizza market will get a new player, one with a twist.
The entry is Papa Murphy's, a Vancouver, Wash.-based chain that sells uncooked fresh pizzas that consumers buy and bake at home. The concept is popular in some areas of the Northeast and Northwest, the latter of which is a large market for Papa Murphy's.
But the concept, while not novel, has yet to saturate Florida. That's why Papa Murphy's executives smell opportunity, says Stephen Maeker, the company's vice president of franchise sales. The chain, the fifth-largest pizza business in the country with 1,250 stores in 37 states, has seven stores in Florida, in the Jacksonville and Orlando areas.
The first Gulf Coast target is Tampa, followed by Fort Myers. The company hosted a franchise sales seminar event in Tampa June 23 and another one is planned for Fort Myers July 14.
“We are ecstatic about the opportunity to enter Tampa,” Maeker tells Coffee Talk. “Florida is one of the states we are aggressively trying to grow in.”
Adds Maeker: “The key is finding the right franchise partner.”
The chain hopes to do that by offering three ways into the franchise network: one store; multiple stores in one area; or an exclusive agreement to open stores in a regional multi-county location. A franchisee can expect to invest $209,330 to $396,710 to open a Papa Murphy's, according to company franchise documents. At least half of those costs go toward equipment, supplies and improvements to the physical space.
Maeker says one palpable challenge, for both the corporate office and franchisees, will be to build local brand awareness. In the Northwest, says Maeker, the Papa Murphy's brand is well established. But on the Gulf Coast, the company will utilize both social media and traditional advertising to cultivate the brand.