Pizza Franchising – The Common Questions

May 30, 2017

The Russo’s Franchise Team was in high demand at the Franchise Expo at NRG Park in Houston May 20 – 21.

The two-day event is one of the largest in our home city designed to present franchise business opportunities to entrepreneurs. The team hosted a constant stream of visitors at our booth interested in learning about the pizzeria business.

And we had a lot of great news to tell them – how Nation’s Restaurant News named us one of the Top 20 Emerging Brands in 2016, how our food and labor costs are some of the lowest in the industry, and how we use the best ingredients to make our foods fresh, homemade every day.

And then there was our most exciting news – our latest store model that is a perfect fit for malls, strip centers and airports. It offers a smaller venue (1,200 to 1,500-square feet) with fast-paced counter service, and dine-in, takeout, delivery and catering. Three store models, four revenue streams and we offer some of the freshest food around. It made for great convention conversation.

But the best thing about these shows is the many questions we’re asked. Whether we’re in Houston or Timbuktu, some questions are universal.

Here are some of our most common questions answered. If you’d like more information about a Russo’s franchise opportunity, be sure to check out our website at

What makes Russo’s different?

We don’t do things the old-fashioned way. We make everything fresh in our stores daily. Fresh pizza dough, never frozen. Made from scratch sauce, fresh toppings, fresh dishes. Customers realize it when they taste our menu items and New York-style pizza, and that’s what keeps them coming back.

How much money am I going to make?

Whether it’s the first question or not, this one always seems to work its way into the conversation. And we get it. It’s an important one to get answered. Our return on investment is phenomenal for the industry – and you can find all the financial details on Our stores offer four different revenue streams – dine-in, takeout, delivery and catering. When you combine that with our updated designs for our stores and our authentic, chef-inspired cuisine, it drives success.

How much is Chef Russo involved in the business?

Chef Russo is hands on, but we also allow our franchisees to run their own business too. He’s always looking for new sources for the freshest products we can use to make our menu items. He travels to Italy every year to learn about the latest on olive oil production and other innovations in cooking. He’s the creative mind – all our recipes come from him. He stays in touch with all our franchisees to hear about what’s happening in the stores so he can help them. And they all know they can call him anytime.

My family has a great recipe for gumbo, fried fish, steak, coffee cake (fill in the blank here) and if I open a Russo’s I’d like to add it to the menu.

No one is more appreciative of family recipes than we are – some of ours are 100 years old. So we’re always respectful when asked something like this. But the answer’s always the same. We’re not looking to expand our menu in this way. We pride ourselves in authentic New York-style pizza and fresh, homemade Italian from recipes handed down in the Russo family for more than a century. That’s what our customers expect and that’s what we’re going to be making.

If I can find a cheaper source for cheese and other products to make the pizza can I substitute it?

Another one where we respect the question, but the answer is always the same. We have a motto at Russo’s – “If it isn’t fresh, don’t serve it.” To make a true New York-style crust you need the right flour, not a cheaper substitute. The tomatoes for our homemade pizza sauce are grown in California, our pizzas are topped with mozzarella cheese from a Wisconsin dairy farm. Our fresh, real ingredient make our dishes have the highest quality with the best flavor. So, no, we’re not going to change that with lesser ingredients.

How much money do I need to have to open a Russo’s?

The second most popular money question we are asked. The answer again varies on which restaurant model you are interested in. has all the information, including our financial details, which is where we direct people for the information. That’s also where you can contact us for more information.

*The following data involves historic performance information for Domestic Restaurants corporate- or affiliate-owned, open and operating under effective Franchise Agreements by the same franchisee for fiscal year 2021. There are 35 franchised domestic Russo’s New York Pizzeria Restaurants operating under effective Franchise Agreements as of December 31, 2021. 30 of which had been open for 12 months or longer. The following results include (a) the average Gross Sales for the 24 Domestic Russo’s New York Pizzeria Restaurants that were franchisee owned, open, and operated for fiscal 2021. (b) The cash flows for the FOUR (4) company-owned Russo’s New York Pizzeria Restaurants operated for fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. Because we do not maintain the accounting records of our franchisees, we are unable to make any representation to the reliability of the financial data provided by franchised Restaurants.
This website and the franchise sales information on this site do not constitute an offer to sell a franchise. The offer to sell a franchise can only be made through the delivery of a franchise disclosure document. Certain states require that we register the franchise disclosure document in those states. The communications on this web site are not directed by us to the residents of any of those states. Moreover, we will not offer or sell franchises in those states until we have registered the franchise (or obtained an applicable exemption from registration) and delivered the franchise disclosure document to the prospective franchisee in compliance with applicable law.
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