If you’re a pizza lover looking buy into a growing pizza franchise, it’s time to consider everyone’s “Favorite Pizza Chain”. That’s right! I’m talking about Marco’s Pizza, the pizza concept that won that award in 2017. With over 1,000 locations, this pizzeria is positioned to be one of the dominate concepts in the United States.

How much does it cost to open Marco’s Pizza? Fortunately, Marco’s is open for franchising! The estimated initial investment for Marco’s Pizza is $552,713 with a franchise fee of $25,000. The financial requirements for eligibility include a minimum liquid capital of $150,000 and a minimum net worth of $450,000.

Want to learn more? Keep on reading to dig into my full review of the Marco’s Pizza franchise opportunity, including how much each store makes each year, the advantages and challenges of the business. Take our 7-minute franchise business quiz to find out if this is the right pizza concept for you. 

Financial Requirements and Fees

Fees / Expenses Financial Amount
Liquid Capital $150,000
Net Worth $450,000
Total Investment $183,408 to $552,713
Franchise Fee $25,000

The fees above are what Marco’s Pizza requires for interested franchise applicants. Don’t forget about the royalty fees of 5.5% of sales. Marco’s Pizza corporate reserves the right to increase royalty fees to 6%. Such an increase will be notified to franchisees so you don’t have to worry about sudden changes in payments. Multi-unit franchisees that achieve specific growth benchmarks could be eligible for a discounted fee.

Marco’s Pizza also requires advertising fees of 7%. This includes the National Advertising Fund of 4%, regional or local store marketing of 2%, and 1% for brand development.

Before investing in this opportunity, make sure you’re alright with sending 12.5% of your gross sales off the top to corporate. This is a significant slice of each pizza pie you sell, considering you’ve still got to pay for all the other standard overhead of a pizza business.

The pizza chain also offers incentives for veterans, first responders, and multi-unit franchisees. For veterans, the franchise fee is discounted to $15,000 and is waived completely if a veteran has a 50% or more military service-connected disability rating.

For first responders with five or more years of experience, the fee is discounted to $20,000. Discounted franchise fees and royalty fees are also offered for multi-unit franchisees that sign up for more than 5 units. Marco’s Pizza also offers additional incentives for franchisees that start 4 or more units on an accelerated timeframe. Interested applicants must also have a credit score of 680 or above.

Average Sales / Revenue per Year

Half of Marco’s Pizza units generated $1,059,571 or more per year in sales. If you operate a Marco’s Pizza, you certainly want to be in the upper half of sales performance in order to cover costs like franchise fees, labor, lease, insurance, food cost and the other expenses associated with running a restaurant.

According to reports, Marco’s Pizza’s revenue for 2020 was $760 million. A 21.0% growth was also recorded for them as compared to their 2019 stats. As long as Marco’s Pizza continues to add more units, you can expect system-wide sales to continue increasing as well.

Marco’s Pizza Franchise Facts

Total Units Over 1,000
Incorporated Name Marco’s Franchising LLC
Franchising Since 1979
Industry Quick Service Restaurant
Subsector Pizza; Food and Beverage

Marco’s Pizza is known as the only national pizza chain in America founded by an Italian. Pat Giammarco, who was from Sulmona, Italy, and moved to the United States with his family when he was 9 years old, started Marco’s Pizza in 1978 in Toledo, Ohio. Giammarco’s belief in making a delicious pizza stemmed from his roots in Italy where ingredients were fresh and natural. The pizzeria makes their dough fresh daily, uses fresh Roma tomatoes for their sauce, and also uses a special three-cheese blend to create that delicious pizza.

Aside from the fresh ingredients, Pat Giammarco also believed in quick service. As part of the training, Marco’s Pizza holds championships among its employees in making the fastest and perfect pepperoni pizza. One employee was able to do this in 39.7 seconds.

Marco's Pizza Franchise

Their menu consists of pizzas, sub sandwiches, salads, and chicken wings. They also offer pizza bowls which are crustless pizzas baked in bowls. Customers can customize their pizza bowls with 4 toppings. This is the pizza chain’s way of offering a low-carb / high protein options for customers. They also offer catering packages for events and large groups. Dine-ins, take-outs, and deliveries are also available in these stores.

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Marco’s Pizza has over 1,000 locations and they are found in 34 states as well as in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. They’re very well-known in which they’ve won an award for being America’s Most Favorite Pizza in 2019. Marco’s Pizza is also one of the “fastest growing pizza companies” in America and ranked 6th on Restaurant Business’ Top 500 Chains in 2020 under the Largest Pizza Chain category.

They’re also in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 Rank in 2021. They’re serious about their franchising that they provide 8 weeks of training to franchise operators. Their last week of training includes franchisees being able to make pizza for the corporate staff. This training is held at the learning lab in Toledo, Ohio.

According to the chain, the average unit volume of the top 50% of Marco’s Pizza’s franchised stores had $1,059,571 in sales for 2020. As for a single store, one Marco’s Pizza chain in Fulton County is making $908,000 and is up for sale. This is a fantastic listing to evaluate deeper to understand the exact costs of a Marco’s Pizza business. In other words, you get to take a look under the hood of the business operations. A few highlights from this listing:

  • Asking Price: $250,000
  • Monthly lease: $5,125
  • Square feet of store: 2,400
  • Dining: Seating for 42 customers. No drive-thru window according to the business listing.

You can also find existing Marco’s Pizza locations for sale here. I strongly urge you to dig into the financial details of these existing pizza shops to understand the costs / profit potential of the concept. These financial documents will give you the real world results of a single unit and can provide insights that franchisor marketing materials don’t offer.

Should you decide to sign up to become a franchise operator, you can apply here. It takes 30 to 90 days for the franchising team to evaluate your application and once everything is approved and all set, it takes 180 to 270 days from the time of signing to open up your Marco’s Pizza store. You’ll also be fully equipped with several technology and marketing support to run your franchised store.

As for real estate properties, Marco’s Pizza is looking for the following qualifications when it comes to building a store:

  • 1,200 to 1,600 sq. ft. of space
  • Pick-up windows
  • Highly visible location
  • Can be an inline, endcap, or standalone store
  • Has great co-tenants

Though Marco’s Pizza has over 1,000 locations, they are still open to franchising across the United States, especially eyeing future markets in Washington, Oregon, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine. They’re also available for franchising internationally. As of the moment, they’re looking for international opportunities in Costa Rica and Mexico.

Marco’s Pizza is currently headed by Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer Jack Butorac.

How Much Does Marco’s Pizza Make in Profit?

There are no exact figures as to how much does Marco’s Pizza franchisee’s make in profit.

However, we can also make an estimate of bottom line profit after expenses by looking at the profitability of the pizza industry as a whole. According to data from Pizza Today, a pizza shop can expect to profit 7% after expenses. There are of course some higher-margin that can go as high as 10% – 20% margin so your profitability operating a Marco’s Pizza may vary.

Using 7% as a rough profitability metric, we can assume that if an average unit makes $1,059,571 per year in profit, a franchisee could expect $74,169.97 to hit the bottom line. If you want to make more money you can increase sales, cut costs including waste, or expand into multiple franchise locations (encouraged by corporate). As you can see, if you were able to operate a few Marco’s Pizza locations, you could generate a healthy full-time income.

In a report by QSR Magazine, Marco’s Pizza’s sales grew at about 20% in 2020 so we can deduce that profit may be doing well for this pizza chain. This is a concept that’s poised for growth over the next 5 years.

Advantages of a Marco’s Pizza Franchise

Interested in franchising Marco’s Pizza? Below are a few advantages of what this pizza chain offers.

Special Recipes

Marco’s Pizza is considered an authentic Italian pizza because of its founder’s roots but they’re also known for serving up delicious food because of the special recipe they crafted and maintained through the years. The special recipes mentioned above are their freshly made dough, Roma tomato sauce, and three-cheese blend.

A restaurant that has a special recipe is also a sign that a brand took great care in developing their menu. And with many attesting to the taste and quality of Marco’s Pizza, you know that they have remained successful through the years because of this.

From personal experience, I take my daughters (ages 2 and 5) to a Marco’s Pizza location near our home at least one time per month. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for my two small kids and the girls love the cheese and pepperoni pizza. Sometimes we dine in or do takeout. The location near our home always seems busy with plenty of customers picking up pizza and delivery drivers heading out the door quickly.

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Well-Known Brand

With over 1,000 locations, Marco’s Pizza is a well-known pizza chain. They’re on Entrepreneur’s list, awarded Favorite Pizza Chain, and Most Loved, Most Trusted Pizza Restaurant Brand of 2019. Not only do they serve good food but they also make sure customers are able to receive them fast. If you franchise with them, you’ll be a part of this popular company that’s been perfecting delicious pizza since 1978.


Marco’s Pizza has a training lab where they make sure all franchise operators leave their 8-week training filled with knowledge on how to run the business. As mentioned above, they don’t just teach you the management side of things but they also teach you how to make a good pizza.


Marco’s Pizza cares for their employees. Their Slice of Support program is aimed at helping their employees that are facing personal or family problems such as severe illnesses, destruction of homes and property from natural calamities and accidents, death, and unexpected emergencies. Slice of Support is also a non-profit organization that helps selected charities as well.

Challenges of a Marco’s Pizza Franchise

Before franchising with Marco’s Pizza, you also need to know the many challenges you’re going to face when you sign up to become a franchise operator. Here are some you can expect.

Lack of Global Presence

For a pizza chain that has won awards and has more than 1,000 locations, Marco’s Pizza is only well-known in the United States. They’re not popular in other countries since they haven’t expanded yet but with more than 40 years in operation, it’s high time that they consider opening locations in areas outside of the United States. Not only will this strengthen their global presence but this will also elevate the competition within the pizza industry.

Does Not Provide Financing

Unfortunately, when you sign up to become a franchise operator, Marco’s Pizza does not provide financing. They’ll provide a list of their preferred lenders instead to help you.

Is the Marco’s Pizza Franchise Right For You?

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian pizzeria that already has a stable franchise business model, Marco’s Pizza is an opportunity worth evaluating further. Despite being around for more than 40 years, the growth opportunities remain strong. For instance, if you are looking to franchise outside of the United States, there is a chance you can do so since Marco’s Pizza is looking to expand outside of the country.

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What is an alternative pizza franchise?

Other than Marco’s Pizza, one chain that’s available to franchise is Papa John’s. They’ve been in business for over 30 years and have more than 5,000 locations worldwide.

The total investment to franchise Papa John’s is $115,120 to $794,420. The franchise fee is $25,000. To know more about how much to franchise Papa John’s, check out our guide here.

With the pros and cons of Marco’s Pizza all laid out for you along with the financial requirements and expenses to expect, I hope you were able to learn a lot from this guide and understand the considerations you need to evaluate before going into the pizza business.