Co-owners of the Marco’s Pizza in Conyers, from left, Sanjay Patel and Gani Mohammed pose with the chain’s mascot in front of their recently opened restaurant in the new Publix Shopping Center. (Special Photo)
Before Gani Mohammed opened his business, Marco’s Pizza, in the new Publix shopping center on Ga. Highway 20 in Conyers, he carefully researched the franchise.
Mohammed, who holds a master’s degree in business from the University of Maryland, worked for almost two decades in management for Pizza Hut and also oversaw Starbucks and a convenience store chain.
While his experience in the food service industry and the affordability of the Marco’s franchise influenced his decision, in the end, the taste of the food sold him on the restaurant.
“I wanted to make sure it was the right company for me and what really tipped the scales for me, what interested me, was their product,” said Mohammed, who operates the business with partner Sanjay Patel.
“My personal principal is I cannot profess to champion or be passionate about a product I don’t truly care about. Since I know so much about the pizza business it had to be a product that I can put my name behind and enjoy as a consumer.”
Marco’s, established in 1978 in Toledo, Ohio, specializes in pizza but also serves subs, salads and appetizers. The franchise is located in 29 states and three countries.
“We are the second largest growing pizza franchise in the country. It’s the best kept secret and it’s coming at you fast. It’s coming to a neighborhood near you,” quipped Mohammed.
The pizza choices include all the usual toppings and a sampling of the specialty pizzas includes: the White Cheezy, comprised of four types of cheese, bacon, onion, tomatoes and garlic butter sauce; the Deluxe Uno, with cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and extra cheese; and the Garden, featuring four kinds of cheeses, mushrooms, black olives, onions and tomatoes.
On the sub menu, customers will find the Italiano, with ham, salami, provolone cheese, banana peppers, tomatoes, red onions and sub dressing; the Chicken Club Tuscano, with chicken breast strips, bacon, cheese tomatoes and mayo; and the Meatball Fabio, with meatballs, provolone cheese and sauce.
Mohammed said all the ingredients are prepared fresh daily.
“We get the whole produce and cut them up every day at the store,” said Mohammed, who added that the sauce is made from fresh tomatoes, not concentrate, and the cheese has no fillers. “The freshness of the product gives it a very discerning taste. There’s not a pizza chain out there that uses that kind of quality.”
Mohammed said since opening the Marco’s Pizza business at the end of May, he’s had plenty of customers, who hail from cities where people are choosy about their pizza and come in the door with trepidation about ordering from a chain. He tells them to try the pizza. If they don’t like it, he’ll refund their money.
So far, Mohammed has not had to hand out any refunds.
“They’ve been pleasantly surprised. We’ve been the unsung story at this point,” he said. “I have skeptical converts who have walked into the store and have become repeat visitors, from Bostonians, to Chicagoans and even New Yorkers, who are proud of their pizza, they are my converts.”
Marco’s Pizza is located at 2133 Ga. Highway 20 and Miller Chapel Road and can be contacted at 770-761-5661. Orders may also be placed online at www.marcos.com. The hours of the restaurant, which has seating both inside and outside on a patio, are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Delivery is offered within a three-mile radius, and catering is also available.