bannerFranchisor Stories

Romeo's Pizza Looks to Add 20+ New Franchise Locations in Charlotte

Following the success of a top-performing franchisee in Apex, North Carolina, the rapidly growing pizza brand has identified the Charlotte market as primed for growth as it aims to reach its goal of 70 units open by the end of the year.

Romeo’s Pizza, the 50-unit emerging pizza franchise out of Medina, Ohio, is getting ready for major nationwide expansion. After breaking sales records in both 2019 and 2020, the food-first pizza brand established itself as a major contender in the pizza segment. It isn’t just the brand’s sales that are growing — so far this year, the brand has already signed 27 new franchise agreements thanks to its franchisee-centric opportunity, community-oriented business model, wide open market availability and impressive sales trajectory. Now, with the goal of reaching 70 units open by the end of 2021, Romeo’s Pizza is looking for qualified franchise owners to help expand the brand across the country. Specifically, the team has their sights set on Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We’ve seen exceptional sales growth over the past two years, and because of it, tremendous interest in our franchise opportunity,” said Ryan Rao, Chief Franchising Officer. “Now, we have identified Charlotte as a market that is well-positioned for the Romeo’s Pizza concept as we look to surpass our growth goals for the rest of the year.”

The Charlotte metropolitan area is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country, and North Carolina itself is one of the nation’s top-growing states. Currently, Romeo’s Pizza only has one other location in North Carolina —  Apex — and since opening in 2018, the Apex restaurant has established itself as one of the top performing restaurants in the Romeo’s franchise system.

Todd Timmins, the owner of the Apex location, worked for the Romeo’s Pizza corporate team for two years prior to franchising with the brand, handling quality control and inspections. “I really saw the growth potential of the brand and loved the product,” said Timmins. “I had owned a Marco's Pizza location in Ohio and sold it years ago, but I wanted to get back to that type of business ownership. I had always wanted to move to North Carolina because of the weather, and I knew Romeo’s could be successful in the state.”

Timmins points to a few reasons why he was confident Romeo’s would be a hit in the North Carolina area. “There are quite a few people who move from Ohio to North Carolina and who already love the Romeo's Pizza brand,” he said. “There are also not a lot of brands similar to Romeo’s in this area. There are some New York pizza shops here because of New York transplants, but all the other competitors are the typical nationwide chains. Romeo’s offering is unique: the sauce, the dough, the quality. We offer something North Carolina customers don't see very often. That is why there is a good chance for success in the market.”

In addition to offering handcrafted pizza with high-quality ingredients and a signature sweet sauce, Romeo’s looks to make each location a pillar of its neighborhood, supporting the community both inside and outside the store through charitable organizations, school districts and more.

With this community-oriented model and beloved product, Timmins says he has seen incredibly strong sales increases over the past three years. “From when I opened in 2018 up until now, the percentage of sales growth has been way above company average, even compared to locations up north that are more established,” he said. “Our location is one of the top performing restaurants in the whole Romeo’s franchise system, and we're one of the highest-rated pizza shops in Apex. Overall, Romeo’s has seen double the growth that other brands are seeing.” 

This systemwide success is also a product of the brand’s recent franchisee-focused revamp. In 2016, CEO and multi-unit franchisee Ryan Rose and the brand’s corporate team embarked on a year-and-a-half-long project to refine Romeo’s franchise model and improve every aspect of the consumer and franchisee experience. Rose’s team reduced material costs, renegotiated contracts, scoured reviews to address negative trends and keep review scores high, and improved marketing strategies to drive more traffic to stores. The franchise has enjoyed record-breaking sales every year since.

Now, the team is excited to partner with qualified entrepreneurs and established restaurant operators who are looking to replicate Timmins’ success in North Carolina by investing in the Romeo’s brand. Plus, while many other pizza competitors may be sold out in the Charlotte area, Romeo’s Pizza currently has the capacity for more than 20 new locations in the market. 

“Our franchisees are an integral part of our operations and decision-making processes, and because we have so much valuable white space available, franchisees have uniquely lucrative growth prospects with Romeo’s,” said Rose. “It’s all about opportunity, and we offer a better opportunity for franchise ownership than any other brand in the segment. Our franchisees are not just buying a store; they are joining a family. That’s something we take very seriously, so we’re looking for people who share our values — people who want to support their communities and take an active role in growing the brand with us.”

The cost to open a Romeo’s Pizza franchise ranges from $190,800 to $640,500, including a $30,000 franchise fee. For more information on franchising with Romeo’s Pizza, visit