If you love pizza, then there’s a good chance that you have either heard or read about Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. The company has been the subject of several articles and news coverage due to their phenomenal success as an upscale “fast casual” pizza chain. In fact, Anthony’s is currently ranked as one of the top 10 pizza chains in the country by Technomic, a restaurant research firm. However, what makes this particular pizza chain so unique? Well for starters, we can say with certainty that it has nothing to do with the food. In fact, from our experience, it was some of the worst pizza we have ever eaten. However, what makes them stand out is their business model and marketing strategy. Their company operates seven locations throughout Florida (with more planned), which are all operated by franchise owners who pay a licensing fee to use the brand name and food recipes.
The Story of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
As we mentioned above, Anthony’s is a “fast casual” pizza chain that is famous for their high prices, low-quality pizzas, and lavish spending. However, the story of how this company came to be is somewhat interesting. The company has a somewhat “cringe-worthy” origin, as it was founded by two brothers who were fired from their jobs after being accused of sexual harassment. Anthony and Nick Carfaro were the owners of a restaurant called Uncle Maddio’s, which they had built into a successful franchise. However, in 2016, they were fired when a group of women reported them for sexual harassment. In light of the sexual harassment allegations and termination, the Carfaro brothers decided to create a new restaurant concept. This new concept would be a higher-end restaurant that served pizza, and was located in the same mall as Uncle Maddio’s. Anthony and Nick hoped to use their new restaurant as a way to get revenge on their former employees and co-workers, while also making a lot of money in the process.
High Costs and Low ROI
As we mentioned above, Anthony’s has a very cringe-worthy origin. However, we also mentioned that this restaurant chain has a “high cost” problem. The company has very high costs of doing business that drive up the price of their pizzas and other menu items. In fact, the owners of Anthony’s are notorious for their inability to control and reduce costs, which has led to several franchise owners bailing on the brand. In fact, we were able to talk to one franchisee who bailed on Anthony’s after only a few months of operation. When we asked the franchisee why he bailed on the chain, he said that the owners of Anthony’s “spent money like it was going out of style”. For example, while most fast casual pizza chains will use a conveyor oven to bake their pizzas, Anthony’s uses “coal fired” pizza ovens. These types of ovens are very expensive, and in our opinion, they don’t make the pizzas any better. In fact, many people have said that the pizzas made in these types of ovens “taste like burnt cardboard”. Then, when you add the fact that the company uses very expensive ingredients, you get a recipe for disaster. In particular, many of the ingredients are imported from Italy, which adds to their costs.
The Culture of Excessive Spending
Another reason why Anthony’s has high costs is because of the culture of excessive spending that exists within the company. In particular, we noticed that the owners of Anthony’s love to fly around the country and stay at luxurious hotels, while eating gourmet foods. In fact, on Anthony’s “About Us” page, there was a section that was called, “Fun Facts”. Also In this section, one of the fun facts was that during the company’s first year of operation, Anthony and Nick spent over $1.6 million on hotels and airplanes. However, this amount didn’t include airfare for their wives and families, which added another $800,000.
A Look at the Menu
When it comes to Anthony’s menu, it is very rich and decadent. In fact, the company’s menu is so large that it takes about 10 minutes for the employee to explain it to you. In particular, the menu items are so over-the-top that one of their pizzas is called “The Works”. Furthermore, another pizza is called “The Works with Cheese”, and it’s basically the same pizza but with more ingredients. From our experience, we can say that these pizzas are so rich that they are almost too dense to eat. Anthony’s also serves a variety of appetizers, salads, desserts, and drinks. In particular, one of their most popular drinks is a $16 “Italian Lemonade”, which was featured in Business Insider as one of the most expensive drinks in the country.
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How They Make Their Money
If you’re wondering how Anthony’s makes money, the answer is through franchising. In fact, the company makes their money by charging high licensing fees to people who want to build a franchise using the Anthony’s brand. In particular, there is a one-time franchise fee of $45,000, which covers the initial costs of building the store. However, Anthony’s also charges an 8% royalty fee on gross sales, which adds up to a lot of money. In particular, based on our research, the most successful Anthony’s franchise has generated over $1 million in annual sales. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why Anthony’s has become such a successful chain.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, Anthony’s is one of the most interesting pizza chains in the country. In fact, it’s not even a pizza chain, but rather a “fast casual” chain that serves gourmet pizzas and Italian dishes. While the food is delicious, the real reason why Anthony’s has become so popular is because of the owners’ lavish spending and high-cost business model.