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TAMPA, FL-Marco’s Pizza is on a major expansion plan, signing an agreement with Dough Developers to open more than 200 units throughout Florida over the next seven to 10 years.

Marco’s opened its first Florida location, a unit in Newport Rickey, in the spring. The company will open three units in the state this year, six restaurants in 2008, 10 in 2009, and then “ramp up precipitously after that,” Cameron Cummins, Marco’s franchise development vice president, tells GSR.

“The per capital pizza expenditure in Florida is low,” Cummins says. “There’s a lot of demand and not a lot of supply except for the Big 4 [Dominos, Little Caesars, Papa John's and Pizza Hut].

The restaurants will offer customers its menu of custom-made pizzas, salads, chicken wings and soft drinks with carryout, delivery and some sit-down service, in units ranging from 1,200 sf to 1,400 sf. Founded in Toledo, OH, 28 years ago, Marco’s now has 158 franchised and company-owned locations in Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Nevada, Wisconsin, and South Carolina. Plans call for expansion to North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Tennessee and California.

“Our goal is $1 billion in sales by 2012,” Cummins says. Sales were $82 million in 2006. “We have big plans.”

Founded two months ago by three restaurant industry veterans, Dough Developers will be Marco’s exclusive developer in Florida.

“[We were drawn] by the absolute quality of the product,” says John Gaudineer, a Dough Developers principal. “And enjoyed the people who developed the brand. This is as close to a mom-and-pop delivery pizza as possible. It really speaks for itself.”

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