Pizzeria Makes Major Move

Friday, December 23, 2005

Johnny Brusco's plans to open 10-12 new locations

Johnny Brusco's is spreading its New York style pizza throughout the Memphis area as the franchisor makes its first major move outside the Atlanta market.

The chain made its local entrance with a restaurant in Cordova four years ago. A second store opened in Collierville in September 2004, and a third opened in Olive Branch in July. A fourth Johnny Brusco's New York Style Pizza will open in January at Hacks Cross and Winchester, and a fifth is in the works for a March opening in Lakeland.

Company president Bruce Jackson says he anticipates 10-12 Johnny Brusco's in the Memphis area.

"It's our first real push out of Atlanta," he says.

Jackson started the company with business partner Scott Allen. Both men were employees of Johnny's Pizza in Syracuse, N.Y., moving to Atlanta's warmer climate in 1977 to open their own restaurant. Over the next 17 years, the two opened four Johnny's Pizza restaurants in the Atlanta area.

In 1994 they began franchising, and the company has since exploded to 50 franchise locations, including 45 in the Atlanta area. As the company expanded out of Georgia, the founders combined their first names for the "Brusco" in Johnny Brusco's, officially changing the company name in January 2005 to avoid branding troubles.

Five Johnny Brusco's opened in 2005, and 10 are in the works for 2006 including locations in Tulsa, Ariz., Charlotte, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla.

Local franchisees Shannon and Lisa Hayden first learned of Johnny Brusco's through a FedEx Corp. co-worker, Jim Magnini, who opened the Collierville store. They began seriously exploring the idea in January, and opened the 1,950-square-foot Olive Branch location six months later. Within weeks they were approached by developer Silk & Stewart about opening a location in The Shoppes at Hacks Cross, across from FedEx World Headquarters.

The couple plans to open 4-5 locations here, but they didn't anticipate expanding so quickly.

"We were way ahead of where we expected to be, but we couldn't pass up that location," says Shannon Hayden, who has worked for FedEx for 24 years.

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Brusco's Pizza Franchise Systems, LLC
189 Chappell Rd.
Fayetteville, GA

Phone: 404-455-0444
Fax: 770.719.9401

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