Authentic Fast-Casual New York Pizzeria and Refined Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen Concepts Initiate Strategic Expansion Plan for Greater Memphis Area

HOUSTON – Russo’s Restaurants, the founders of dining concepts that include Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, announced today plans to significantly enhance the brands’ footprint in the Greater Memphis Area in order to continue expansion into key markets.

Demonstrating the excitement around the brand, Russo’s kicked off 2015 with the opening of the company’s twenty-first Houston location in Spring, Texas. An additional 10-12 restaurants are planned to open this year in Texas markets like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Currently, there are 20 Russo’s restaurants in development. Additionally, Russo’s New York Pizzeria has just signed two new agreements in the UAE, bringing its total to six.

“We’ve exceeded our growth goals,” said Chef Anthony Russo, a formally trained chef who opened his first Russo’s New York Pizzeria in 1992 and later developed Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. “Russo’s expansion just cannot be contained, and we are pleased to target Memphis as a growth market for qualified single and multi-unit franchisees.”

Today’s news follows an extraordinary year for Russo’s Restaurants. In 2014, Russo’s signed agreements to open seven new restaurants and opened several. The year ahead represents the brand’s most aggressive growth phase yet.

Already established in the Memphis area with a thriving New York Pizzeria in Germantown, Russo’s dedicated customer following in the area has ensured success for the market with repeat business, strong sales and a unique menu.

With a significant presence already existing in dozens of major U.S. cities including Memphis and the Middle East, Russo’s franchise development team is looking to Riverside, Downtown (Beale Street area), Midtown, Collierville and Cordova in Tennessee, as well as Oxford and Southaven in nearby Mississippi for growth.

Franchisees have found success in Russo’s proven concepts, which boasts over 32 years in the pizzeria business. The New York Pizzeria is a family-style fast casual format, while the Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen is a more upscale casual dining concept. Franchisees who searched for an authentic New York Pizzeria experience have found just that in Russo’s, and have begun expanding into multiple units. The Russo’s locations boast a unique design for each, separating it from it’s “one-look” competitors, with each unit reflecting a one of a kind design, thus setting these concepts apart in the cluttered restaurant industry.

The system wide average sales volume per unit is $1.1 million. The most recent Russo’s opening saw weekly sales revenue, between $35,000-$60,000, with food costs accounting for only about 22 percent.

“Our franchise opportunities can’t be beat – we have exciting and favorable conditions in lucrative U.S. and international markets for franchise growth,” said Russo. “For those looking to develop three or more units, our flexible incentives are sure to impress. Russo’s New York Pizzeria is the only authentic New York-style pizzeria that is available as a franchise.”

In addition to the unique restaurant designs, menu innovation is at the heart of Russo’s Restaurants. Blending generations of Russo family Italian recipes, Chef Anthony’s handpicked ingredients and his commitment to research and development, his brands have continued to stay ahead of culinary trends. A prime example is the development of a full line of gluten-free pizzas – a sincere response to the request for the great-tasting gluten-free pizza from thousands living with Celiac disease. The gluten-free pizza that originated in the restaurant is now available at thousands of grocery stores nationwide.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen trace their origins to a tight-knit family where the kitchen was the center of all activity. As a young child, Chef Anthony helped his grandmother roll dough for cannoli, carefully wrapping it around four-inch wooden broomsticks to get the right shape before cooked. By the age of 12, Anthony was learning authentic Italian recipes. Earning the Chef’s distinction as an 18-year-old, Anthony honed his skills as a culinary expert working in his parent’s fine Italian restaurant, and then opened his own pizzeria.

The Russo’s name has become synonymous with authentic Italian meals. Beyond the brand’s specialty New York-style pizzas, menu items include fresh salads (insalata), soups (zuppe) and homemade pastas. Authentic Italian cannoli, fresh seafood, chicken, veal and flatbread sandwiches are just some of the distinctive dishes on the menu.

About Russo’s Restaurants

Russo’s Restaurants is a 38-location national and international franchisor of the fast casual and casual dining brands Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. Based in Houston, Russo’s Restaurants are composed of a mix of corporate and franchised locations across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Hawaii. Russo’s has entered international markets as well, with locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. There are an additional 20-plus units in development both in the United States and internationally. Chef Anthony Russo has created his concepts from years of applying his unique, family recipes featuring New York-style pizza along with a broad variety of handcrafted pasta creations, calzones, salads, sandwiches, soups and desserts, reflecting his commitment to his New York roots where food and family come first. To learn more about Russo’s franchise development opportunities, visit www.russoscoalfired.com or contact Jim Carr, director of franchise development at [email protected].