A Slice of Grimaldi’s

A Slice of Grimaldi’s

Airpark-based pizza chain starts franchise program

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Airpark-based Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is giving business groups the chance to have a slice of its restaurants with its new national franchise program.

“Our goal for Grimaldi’s is to have one in every neighborhood,” says Grimaldi’s Pizzeria CEO Joseph Ciolli.

The program is available in U.S. markets including Arizona.

Opening a restaurant takes time; something he says he doesn’t have. So he’s relying on “qualified operators” to make his mission viable. To apply, visit grimaldispizzeria.com/franchising/domestic/.

Besides the challenges of financing and finding a location, there are state regulations to consider.

“We used to follow federal guidelines, but every state is like a different country,” says Ciolli, who is opening a location in Dubai in mid-September.

“It was different back in the day. We have minimum wage changes. It’s better served if we have a someone in the market who understands this.”

As part of ensuring a successful domestic franchise launch, Grimaldi’s engaged franchising advisory firm MSA Worldwide to help optimize the program so franchisees can take advantage of Grimaldi’s suite of tools, resources and staff for ongoing support.

Ciolli says he’s had a good response so far and he’s specific about his franchisees’ qualifications.

“Our main focus has been on bigger groups,” he says. “We’re not looking for the individual mom-and-pop groups. There are 30-plus states we’re not in.”

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria operates 43 company-owned restaurants in 12 states from coast to coast with six in the Metro Phoenix area and one in Flagstaff.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria produces hand-crafted pizzas, calzones and antipasto, as well as a variety of salads and housemade desserts. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria features a full bar offering specialty cocktails, craft beers and a robust wine list, including its signature Mille Gradi red blend, produced in Tuscany, Italy.

Featuring an open kitchen concept, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria invites guests to watch pizzaiolos work. Grimaldi’s coal-burning ovens deliver a thin, crispy crust balanced with a slight smokiness to bring out the flavors of its signature mozzarella, garden-fresh toppings, secret recipe sauce and 100-year-old dough recipe.

“We have an incredible brand with more than 100 years of history in its making, enjoyed by pizza lovers from around the world,” Ciolli says. “We take our brand and our quality of pizza pretty seriously. We want to find the best of the best to bring our concept to the next level.”