Dara Maleki never expected his business concept to become so popular.
After opening The Pizza Press in 2012 in Anaheim, California, the company steadily gained in popularity and customers frequently requested Dara to expand beyond his original location.
The Pizza Press currently has two locations in Orange County, and Dara and his team have been responding to the public’s demands to expand.
Franchising was the natural next step for the business; The Pizza Press has spent the past three months assembling their franchise team to ensure proper sales support. They are currently working with five or six applications with 20 more to process.
“We’ve had great success and have always built [The Pizza Press] out to be a multi-unit. In the very beginning we wanted to make sure the concept was sound and it was. After about nine months we had a lot of inquiries from Canada and surrounding states about franchising; people saying they would love to have one in their town,” explained Dara.
“That’s what really drove me to deeply consider that and look at all the different ways to grow our business. Franchising seemed to be a great way to share a concept with some other great business owners. We have had so much interest and met a lot of good people along the way. It’s awesome.”
The Pizza Press is a fast casual pizzeria with a twist: customers get to “Publish Your Own Pizza” – with their pizza being made right in front of them by a friendly Pizza Editor, they get to pick and choose from a wide variety of fresh vegetables, meats, sauces, cheeses and finishers.
All pizzas are freshly baked through a conveyor oven and are ready in less than four minutes.
The Pizza Press also offers “Publish Your Own” salads which follow the same customization process. Since customers can “Publish Your Own”, each meal can cater to a variety of dietary needs.
The personal touch of building your own pizza at The Pizza Press makes them stand out, but they provide more than just food and drink – The Pizza Press offers an experience. “In this technological age when you are buying everything on Amazon and you’re able to shop for all your clothes online, there is a lack of interaction between people,” said Dara. “It’s not an experience they have every day. They go in [The Pizza Press] and have great service in a great environment in a place where they can share a conversation with their friends and family.”
The Pizza Press also prides itself in offering their customers a vast selection of fine craft beers from local breweries. Each future location of The Pizza Press will continue to support surrounding areas and stock its taps with local beer.
“We like to support that local feel and get some great finely crafted beers that we can then share with our guests because, to be honest – there is nothing better than a hot pizza and a nice cold beer,” Dara explains.
Franchisees receive ample support before and during ownership, with a week of training at The Pizza Press facility in Orange County and an additional five days of training before a grand opening.
Once set in place, restaurants will have an operations manager who acts as a supporter, a team member and an advocate to help franchisees overcome the challenges that every restaurant faces during a store opening. Technological support is always available and a website, social media and marketing program is provided.
“The service we offer to our guests in our restaurant holds true in our values with our franchisees. If we can’t support our franchisees and give them the same amount of customer service and support that we give our guests who come in, we didn’t really feel like that would be the right thing to deliver,” said Dara. “We make sure they are sound financially, make sure their costs are where they need to be to ensure they are being as lean and as profitable as they can be.”
Location is important to The Pizza Press concept. The original location in Anaheim, California is across the street from Disneyland and their second location in Orange, California is near the university in Old Town Orange. Both locations give a Main Street USA vibe which connects with The Pizza Press brand. Although locations can be anywhere, owners should be familiar with the area in which they operate and securing a location will be determined during the franchising process.
“All stores and all locations come in different shapes and sizes but we want to make sure that every Pizza Press franchise is customized to that area. Just as much as our pizzas are customizable, the store experience is too,” said founder Dara Maleki.
Business owners should be passionate people who have a desire for excellence in business, service and taking care of others. Those interested in franchising The Pizza Press should be hardworking individuals with a positive attitude, solid skills in business operation, problem solving and leadership. Having previous restaurant experience is preferred but not required.
Dara attributes the success of The Pizza Press to his thrive for business and inspiring others to reach greatness as well as creating a team environment and genuinely caring about fellow employees.
With the success The Pizza Press is experiencing, many plans are slated for the upcoming year. “We want to get our product out there and we have been flooded with applications. By 2015, we want to build out the support side for our franchisees and get about twenty new franchise locations opened in that year,” said Dara. “It’s been a whirlwind, we have had great responses from people and they want to get onboard. They are loving what we do, loving our culture and the product The Pizza Press has to offer.”
For more information visit: www.ThePizzaPress.com/franchise