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Paciugo Gelato Acquisition Means More Real Estate Options


Paciugo Gelato Café

Sinelli Concepts International is ready to bring its newest acquisition into the limelight. 

The owners of the Which Wich sandwich chain and Burguesa Burger picked up the franchised Paciugo Gelato Café brand out of bankruptcy court back in October. The brand is known for its authentic gelato, with many ingredients come directly from Italy to the brand's 20,000-square-foot production facility.  

Since the acquisition, Jeff Sinelli said he and the new management team have been hard at work. 

“We wanted to make sure the company was financially sound, so we shored up all the financials and put it on solid ground. We put in a new management team, got our heads around operations and distribution,” said Sinelli, Which Wich's founder and CEO. “When you make acquisitions, you want to be real cautious about what you have. So we really spend the fist half of the year learning about what we bought, and doing what we do best, putting in systems.” 

He said the company looks to enhance the offerings for different dayparts by honing the morning coffee offering and lunchtime paninis. And Diego Comparin, the “mad scientist of gelato” that came along with the acquisition, is innovating on the core dessert day part. Expect to see things like the “Paciunicorn,” an adorable take on gelato ripe for Instagram. The restaurant operations also support a retail program. 

Sinelli said he didn’t have a set goal in mind for unit growth, but the new brand positions the company well for future real estate opportunities for franchisees. 

“What we’re really trying to achieve is a diverse portfolio,” said Sinelli. “When you see diverse real estate options that don’t need sandwiches, we can plug in another brand. Then when it’s time to get sandwiches in there, we’ve already made a relationship with the landlords.” 

He said the efficient footprint of Paciugo means it can fit almost anywhere. 

“I think it’s important to be versatile. In a mall, you might have a kiosk, we’re doing food truck work, there’s so many platforms to get a restaurant brand out there,” said Sinelli. 

So far, a few Which Wich franchisees have signed on and have co-branded locations in the works. And Sinelli said independent operators have also inquired about filling out their authentic Italian concepts with Paciugo. 

Keep an eye out for Paciugo offerings at Which Wich and Burguesa Burger as well. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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