Mr. Gatti’s Pizza Sells 13 Units, Continues Franchise Push
A former Papa John’s executive is staying in the pizza game, buying 13 Mr. Gatti’s locations in the Austin, Texas, market. The sale of company restaurants comes as Mr. Gatti’s continues its refranchising program while also working to attract new franchisees to the system.
Jeff Tisdel, former vice president of operations for Papa John’s, purchased the locations as part of a franchise agreement that Fort Worth-based Mr. Gatti’s called “one of the largest multi-unit agreements in the brand’s history.” Tisdel, along with Kenny Starks, also formerly with Papa John's, and Richie Jarzombek form investment group Three Dough Boys, LLC. The group also has a development agreement to open 10 additional locations in Austin and surrounding markets.
“Mr. Gatti’s has been an Austin staple for nearly 50 years,” said Tisdel in a statement. “As we approach that anniversary, I am eager to join the Mr. Gatti’s family to take on the Austin market and continue to grow the Mr. Gatti’s brand in surrounding markets, including our hometown."
In addition to the 13 locations that Tisdel will operate, Mr. Gatti’s in South Park Meadows will remain a corporate location, and all other Mr. Gatti’s franchise locations in the surrounding Austin area will remain unaffected, the company said.
Private equity firm Sovrano LLC acquired Mr. Gatti’s Pizza in June 2015, installing its president, Michael Poates, as president of the chain. In 2017 the brand launched a new franchise expansion campaign and signed its first franchisee in seven years while also rolling out two new prototypes: Mr. Gatti's, a family fast-casual concept with a small arcade; and Gatti's Pizza, a buffet and family entertainment center.
“Mr. Gatti’s is experiencing a tremendous growth period as we reenergize our brand and attract new franchisees,” said Poates. “At the Mr. Gatti’s support center in Fort Worth, we put our resources into a business model that keeps our guests coming back. We believe that providing the highest quality pizza and fun while creating great memories for our families is where the rubber meets the road. Jeff and Three Dough Boys, LLC will be a powerful addition for our brand in the Austin area, where Mr. Gatti’s first began almost 50 years ago.”