Did you know that 93% of Americans eat pizza? With the pizza industry valued at more than $65 billion per year it’s no wonder prospective franchisees are evaluating proven concepts like Godfather’s Pizza that have remained business for roughly 5 decades.
But even though this chain has been in business since 1973 and is open for franchising, the total number of locations have gone from more than 1,000 units at the peak of the pizza chain, all the way down to 445 units at the time of writing. To see this many locations closing down or going out of business is not reassuring as a prospective investor.
Here’s my analysis of Godfather’s Pizza if you’re thinking about franchising. Click here to take our 7-minute franchise quiz and be matched with an opportunity that matches your interests, background, and budget.
Financial Requirements and Fees
The following are the financial requirements and fees that Godfather’s Pizza needs from their franchisees:
|Fees / Expenses
||$428,100 to $1,158,650
||$15,000 to $25,000
How much does it cost to open Godfather’s Pizza? This pizza chain will require a minimum liquid capital of $100,000 and a net worth of $200,000. The investment range to start a Godfather’s Pizza franchise is $428,100 to $1,158,650 and the franchise fee is $15,000 to $25,000.
The fees mentioned above will also vary depending on the type of Godfather’s Pizza franchise you decide to invest in. There are a variety of different units you can build with Godfather’s Pizza.
Godfather’s Pizza Express
This type of franchise is catered to convenience stores and has a limited area of approximately 390 sq. feet.
- $7,500 initial fee. Development incentives available for multiple locations.
- $1,000 continuing fee
- 6.5% continuing fee or $150 a week minimum
Godfather’s Pizza To Go
This type of franchise is smaller than the express with an area of under 100 square feet. This one usually has no kitchen area, has a limited menu and manpower, and is also catered to convenience stores.
Fees: No franchise fee
This type of franchise is a full-service restaurant that offers the full Godfather’s Pizza menu which includes desserts and beverages. You can have 2 options for this which is the traditional one that includes the whole package or the delivery/carryout setup which prioritizes take-out and delivery (dine-ins are only available if the area permits). Traditional restaurants have an area of 2,500 to 2,800 sq. ft. with a 50 to 70 seating capacity whereas the delivery/carryout set up has 1,200 to 1,500 sq. ft. with 0 to 15 seats.
Fees (which includes the franchise fee, advertising, equipment, opening inventory, three months of real estate, construction, insurance, signage, training, security deposits, three months of food and labor):
- The investment range for a traditional franchise is $607,100 to $1,158,650.
- The investment range for a delivery/carryout franchise is $428,100 – $774,950
- 6.5% ($350 per week minimum) continuing fee
Average Sales / Revenue per Year
According to reports, Godfather’s Pizza saw $274 million in revenue for the year 2021.
Godfather’s Pizza Franchise Facts
||Retail / Grocery
||Food and Beverage
Godfather’s Pizza started in 1973 in Omaha, Nebraska. The concept was running as a pizza parlor when it was bought by Willy Theisen and who began to franchise. By 1977, the little pizza shop based out of Omaha became recognized as the fastest growing franchise in the United States.
The menu at Godfather’s Pizza includes Create Your Own pizzas where you can choose the size, thickness of your crust, and the number of toppings you can add. They also have Specialty Pies such as their All Meat Combo, Hawaiian, and Veggie Pie.
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Godfather’s Pizza is widely known for their spokesman called “The Godfather” who is a parody from one of the characters in “The Godfather” films. Even the ads and other promotional marketing materials feature this gangster inspired spokesperson.
Spokesperson for Godfather’s Pizza.
To franchise Godfather’s Pizza, you’ll have to choose between Express, To-Go, or the restaurant types. When you’ve chosen the type of franchise you’re going to get, complete the interest form located on their website and provide the necessary information. For the traditional restaurants, you may contact them here.
You’ll be provided with the necessary training materials and equipment depending on the type of franchise you’ll sign up for. For instance, training classes are done at corporate headquarters for Traditional / Delivery types and Express franchises whereas To Go only has training aides.
At present, the owner, president, and Chief Executive Officer of Godfather’s Pizza is Ron Gartlan and their headquarters is still located in Omaha, Nebraska.
How Much Does Godfather’s Pizza Make in Profit?
Godfather’s Pizza is a privately held company so there’s no requirement to release financial information to the public. However, there are some publicly available estimates of its profitability. In 2019, the company was estimated to have generated $500 million in revenue and $50 million in profit. This would give it a profit margin of 10%.
However, it is important to note that these are just estimates, and the actual profitability of Godfather’s Pizza could be higher or lower.
Advantages of a Godfather’s Pizza Franchise
If you’re thinking of franchising Godfather’s Pizza, these are the advantages you can look forward to:
Godfather’s Pizza is a classic name in the American pizza industry. Admittedly, they may not seem as big as Pizza Hut or Domino’s at the moment. But they continue to be a recognized franchise, especially in the Midwest. And even if you mention it now, people will still remember Godfather’s Pizza.
Godfather’s Pizza gives you several options when it comes to franchising: Express, To Go, or Traditional/Delco. These options can be a great way for first time franchisees to explore what they really want to be doing with their business. It’s also very affordable which can help those franchisees that are on a tight budget but would still like to franchise.
National marketing support: Godfather’s Pizza provides franchisees with extensive marketing support, including national advertising campaigns, social media marketing, and in-store promotions. This can help franchisees to reach a wider audience and attract more customers.
Challenges of a Godfather’s Pizza Franchise
All franchise businesses have challenges you’ll need to overcome. Here are a few you can expect from Godfather’s Pizza.
Here are some of the locations where Godfather’s Pizza locations have closed down:
- Omaha, Nebraska: The original Godfather’s Pizza location closed in 1982.
- Chicago, Illinois: Several Godfather’s Pizza locations in Chicago have closed in 2018.
- Mission, Missouri: The location operating at 7002 Johnson Drive closed in 2018.
There have been news of some locations of Godfather’s Pizza closing but there are also reports of some locations re-opening. Another example comes from Thornton, Colorado where a Godfather’s reopened in 2016 after leaving the town 20 years go.
Some locations are changing into Express and To-Go concepts. Reports like this provide hope for the franchise. But going from 1,000 locations down to 445 units still doesn’t look good.
But it’s also nice to see them adapt to the times by opening up to c-store markets. All in all, I’m happy to see Godfather’s Pizza testing different formats and venues to generates additional sales.
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Taking a glance at Godfather’s Pizza menu shows you that their offerings are not really that exceptional. They’d have to revamp their menu to entice more customers to try them out.
As mentioned above, Americans eat a lot of pizza and the market is filled with tough competitors. You have Dominos, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, and more. And most of these names can be found worldwide. If Godfather’s Pizza wants to compete, they need to take a look at their marketing strategy and see how they can fight against the big ones and they may have a chance considering their name is still well-known.
Is the Godfather’s Pizza Franchise Right For You?
Godfather’s Pizza is an affordable franchise with different franchise options that can fit the budget of a wider spectrum of investment levels. As a starting franchise business, the lower barrier to entry could certainly be appealing. With that being said, I still suggest having a financial advisor guide you through the terms and conditions. Just because the startup cost is lower than other pizza franchises, doesn’t make it a good investment that will deliver a return.
What is an alternative Godfather’s Pizza?
If you’re looking for a pizza place that’s also well known in the pizza industry, check out Papa John’s. They’ve been in operation since 1984 and they continue to be a tough competitor among big pizza names out there with more than 5,000 locations worldwide.
To franchise Papa John’s, expect to invest investment $115,120 to $794,420 with a franchise fee of $25,000. To learn more about Papa John’s, check out our franchise guide here.
The pizza market may be filled with a lot of pizza companies but it doesn’t look like the demand is dying down soon. Hopefully you’ll be able to find the right pizza place for you whether that’s Godfather’s Pizza or a rival concept.