What Is Gatti’s?

One of the most beloved names in the pizza industry targets 300 locations open by 2022

For almost half a century, Gatti’s has been serving up delicious food and delivering family fun to pizza lovers in communities across the country. Our passion for pizza began in September 1964 when Mr. James Eure opened The Pizza Place in Stephenville, Texas. In 1969, he moved to Austin and opened “Mr. Gatti’s” as a tribute to his wife’s maiden name.

Mr. Eure worked long hours to master the elements that make people crave pizza: real cheese (no imitations allowed), yeast-risen dough made fresh every day, our signature tangy pizza sauce and toppings that can’t be topped. It wasn’t long before Gatti’s restaurants were popping up all over Texas and the Southeast.

Gatti’s evolved through the decades to become the thriving brand it is today. Much has changed in 50 years, but the most important things have stayed the same. We’re still following the recipes and causing new cravings to be born every day.

We are targeting 15 states for expansion across the Southeast and Midwest with a franchise growth and development campaign. With two business models, Mr. Gatti’s fast-casual restaurant and our tried-and-true Gatti’s Pizza family buffet with midway arcade, there’s a Gatti’s franchise that fits in most any market. Our goal is to grow to 300 locations over the next five years.

Americans love pizza, eating 23 pounds a year!

There’s never been a better time to join Gatti’s as a franchise owner. A $46 billion industry, pizza is America’s favorite comfort food. According to the Agriculture Council of America*, Americans eat 46 slices (or 23 pounds) of pizza each year.

Although it seems there is a pizza joint on most every corner, industry trends indicate there is still plenty of room in the market. An article published on Franchise Help, “Pizza Industry Analysis 2017 — Cost & Trends,” says that there’s no slowing of Americans’ love for pizza: “… Despite the obvious availability of pizza nearly everywhere, extremely strong demand together with the evolving tastes of the American consumer provides ample opportunity for entrepreneurs — particularly the franchisee.”

The Franchise Help article goes on to say that, “Fast casual restaurants are the fastest-growing segment of the restaurant market, and the ‘step up from fast food’ is finding great success in the pizza market. … Even in a market as well addressed as the pizza industry, opportunity abounds.” ** Mr. Gatti’s and Gatti’s Pizza are taking full advantage of those opportunities, carving out a lucrative niche in the market.

Our product is second-to-none and made with the freshest ingredients: fresh-packed tomatoes only four hours from harvest and steam-peeled; dough made fresh by hand daily and allowed to rise twice; and Provolone cheese reminiscent of the flavor our customers grew up with.

We pride ourselves on taking the customer experience up a notch. Our family-friendly game rooms and midway arcades offer entertainment that Mom and Dad can trust. We only allow “family-safe” video games (no person-on-person shooting or violence) in our restaurants.

We often see brands that concentrate either on fun gaming centers with mediocre food, or good food with a few games in a back room. We excel at both.

“We’re unique in that we are committed to the quality of the food and the quality of the experience for the family overall,” says Scott Kelly, Vice President of Technology and Entertainment. “We really believe in the family value and that family experience along with providing great food. We want all ages of the family to have a good time together.”

Gatti’s: Staking claim for the family

Whether you choose to open a fast-casual Mr. Gatti’s Pizza or a family buffet and entertainment center Gatti’s Pizza, one thing is certain: you’ll be selling best-in-class products, over-the-top customer service and an outstanding family experience. Gatti’s franchises often become a community center, appealing to old and young alike, offering something for everyone.

“From the menu variety and product quality to the mix of both redemption and attraction games, we make sure the Gatti’s experience includes something for everyone in the family,” says Jack Sibley, Vice President of Franchise Development. “We are intentionally staking our claim as an integral part of the communities we serve and a destination location for surrounding areas.”

Franchisees have built their businesses on the principles of serving families great food and a fun experience. This market segment is often overlooked or underserved, but Gatti’s knows that families and pizza go together like cheese and pepperoni. Today’s restaurant industry often attempts to cater to specific demographic groups. For Gatti’s, it’s the family.

According to a study from the Corporation for National and Community Service and reported upon in “The death of the American family dinner has been greatly exaggerated” from The Washington Post, approximately 88 percent of Americans say they eat dinner frequently with their family members, with the average family having dinner together more than five times a week. The survey also found that almost 60 percent of households with children younger than 18 sit down together for dinner six or seven nights a week.

Gatti’s has always been a go-to spot for American families who want to keep dinner time in their schedules while also enjoying wholesome food, fun activities and making memories. “When I think of Gatti’s, I think of a place where Mom and Dad can settle in, have a great meal, maybe get a glass of wine or have a beer, and the kids can play in a family-friendly game room,” says Michael Poates, President of Gatti’s.

Targeting families also makes good economic sense for franchisees.

“The family dollar comes with multiple consumers in one visit,” says Michael. “You are showing up with two to five consumers. That’s huge, and from our perspective that’s where the money is. That’s the consumer group that nowadays, in our eyes, seems to be forgotten about.

“You know, generation Y won’t always be here. Generation X, baby boomers and millennials won’t always be here, but families will always be here. It’s the one core consumptive that is stable and will always be around.”

Looking to our past to plan for our future

Ask most any Gen Xer who grew up going to Mr. Gatti’s and they almost always have a story loaded with nostalgia. Whether it’s outings with a church group, playing video games with their best friends or dunking pizza crusts into our unforgettable ranch dressing, our original customers are now parents themselves and can’t wait to share a piece of their pasts with their own families.

“We are eager to introduce a new generation of fans to our great pizza and family-friendly atmosphere,” says Michael. “While many brands are chasing the trends of the day or trying to hop on the latest fad, Gatti’s is taking a different approach. We are defining our future by revisiting our past and reconnecting to its latency, at a time and place when the brand had optimal market share and name recognition.”

This connection to the past makes Gatti’s a smart buy for franchisees and investors. With the huge level of customer awareness, latency and goodwill already present in most markets, we do not have to spend millions of dollars ramping up awareness for the brand. Our revitalization and growth strategy centers around a “refresh” of the original Mr. Gatti’s restaurants, bringing back many of the features that made us such an iconic brand in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s that “throwback” that’s working so well in our resurgence; we have built-in brand recognition. When a Mr. Gatti’s or Gatti’s Pizza opens in a new town or returns to a community, there’s instant demand for the pizza and fun we’re remembered for.

“Our goal in launching this franchising effort is to reconnect the brand to a loyal and passionate customer base that have become parents and, thus, use that original consumer to introduce the brand to a new generation of guests,” says Michael. “Since the introduction of new Mr. Gatti’s restaurants, we are hearing from guests who have great memories of Mr. Gatti’s when they were kids and are excited about being able to introduce their kids to one of their favorite childhood experiences.”

Bring Gatti’s to your town

We’re looking to partner with entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and investors who want to bring our iconic and legendary brand to their community. You can request more information by filling out the form below, or keep reading to find out more about our humble beginnings and how we’ve become the brand we are today.

*Reference.com, https://www.reference.com/food/many-pounds-pizza-americans-eat-year-93f6dc7e8f03f47f
** “Pizza Industry Analysis 2017 – Cost & Trends,” Franchisehelp.com, https://www.franchisehelp.com/industry-reports/pizza-industry-report

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