PIZZAWORLD: Why Did the Marion, IA PizzaWorld Franchise Close?

(Franchise Pick)  The Marion, IA PizzaWorld franchisees were so enthusiastic, their interview dominates the PizzaWorld’s franchise sales video (they are the couple).  They were enthusiastic about the need for a PizzaWorld in their market, the quality of their products, the diversity of the menu, the family-like culture of the franchise system and their franchisor’s integrity and dedication to their success. 

So why did they fail?

In her post (When a Boomer Franchise Fails, Who’s to Blame?), my fellow b5 Business Channel blogger Jean shares her enthusiasm for the Marion, IA PizzaWorld franchise, stating “We found the owners friendly and the food excellent…  They were in a good location in a growing area of town, and we were thrilled to find a good pizza place, particulary at lunchtime.”  She identifies the woman in the blue sweater in the video as the owner who created a positive experience.

“Sadly,” writes Jean, “Yesterday my husband went there for lunch and found only the realtor sign and nothing else.  They were gone.”

The pizza industry is a brutally competitive and operationally taxing business – and real pizza operators love it for just that reason.  They know they’ve always got to be at the top of their game.  As a marketer, I find the pizza segment invigorating because pizza guys and pizza gals are some of the most creative and relentless marketers on earth.  Pizza industry trade magazines, like Pizza Today and PMQ, are treasure troves of local store marketing ideas.

However, there’s not much “margin” for error… literally.  Successful pizza operators are masters of controlling food and labor costs, as well as promotions and customer service.  In her post at Small Business Boomers, Jean makes some excellent observations as to what may have gone wrong, including:

  • High labor costs
  • High food costs
  • Non-competitive pricing
  • Too much competition

Unfortunately, providing great quality, huge portions and excellent service can be expensive and force you to price above the competition.  Even if everyone raves about your restaurant, your pricing may be creating once-a-month customers instead of the weekly or even several-times-per-week customers you need to stay in business.




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