Have a slice of Sbarro

With over 1,000 locations and growing, food recipes unique to its Italian Neapolitan roots and James Greco, CEO, heading up the direction of the Sbarro brand, it’s a franchise worth following

At the beginning of 2012, Sbarro welcomed James Greco to renovate and bring structure to the message and vision of the Sbarro brand. At this point in the year it is an exciting time and James has big plans to bring to the company over the next few years.

In spite of Sbarro being one of the largest international food chains in the world, it still plans to keep as close to their roots as possible and the Italian story behind the brand at the forefront of its brand positioning. James explains: “Sbarro plans to stay an iconic Italian brand, that echoes the quality of our recipes, service and authenticity.” James plans to grow the Sbarro brand lie in four core initiatives; people, place, product and positioning.

Sbarro’s story began in Brooklyn, in 1956, by a husband and wife from Naples: they came to Brooklyn to start their very own little Salumeria (Italian grocery store) and very quickly it became a neighbourhood favourite for its exceptionally fresh tasting ingredients, authentic Italian flair and homemade Neapolitan recipes. These factors still take high priority in Sbarro’s first initiative: product. James continues to build on the delicious authentic recipes that make the restaurant such a success: “We continue to add new lines and build on the original homemade recipes to keep up with customer demand. New recipes and product techniques are not decided lightly, new recipes go through several months of testing before making the menu.”

James illustrates it’s not just the product that has made Sbarro so well established, it’s also the people that run these franchises – service and experience is key to running a Sbarro franchise: “When considering any new franchise owner we look for a culture of hospitality in a person, experience as a restaurateur, personality and the passion for good food. This person’s enthusiasm should be to provide exceptionally good service with flair and creativity.”

Sbarro has exceeded its target with 65 new franchises already opened internationally for 2012, with James new structure and initiatives this is set to grow even further. His next priority territories have been chosen because of the vast amount of opportunity in these locations and the growth of the local economy. James explains: “We’d like to work with franchises across Europe, especially Britain and Germany, we feel these would complement our already vast portfolio of locations. Our aim is to have 70 new recruits next year outside the US.”

James focus worldwide is to communicate Sbarro as the leading Italian restaurant chain, a brand that will have brand recognition around the globe: “We are unlike other concepts, we don’t just sell pizza, we sell an experience, we are a destination restaurant and not just a fast food place.”

When I asked James what his advice would be to a potential Sbarro franchise owner, he described how the person should familiarise themselves entirely with their market, even though it is a franchise, it is still their business. He says: “Make sure you set yourself apart from competitors, believe that hospitality comes naturally, make a difference and understand success is the combination of remarkable service and superior quality food.”

There are many benefits to becoming a Sbarro franchise owner and Sbarro look for people with a passion of working with people and good quality tasting food, just like the Italians. However they also offer you the opportunity to travel, work with a well-established brand, bring excitement to the British market and be apart of a worldwide franchise: “It’s an exciting time to be here, there has been a real burst of growth and we expect more in 2013.”

Written by Jenna Leeds