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Gatti's Restaurants Eyeing 15 States For Expansion


Fort Worth-based Gatti's Pizza is rolling out a new prototype, updating an existing one and preparing to expand nationwide.

Mr. Gatti's is a new family fast-casual concept with a small arcade. The other concept, Gatti's Pizza, is a pizza buffet with a newly emphasized family entertainment center.

Private equity firm Sovrano purchased the Gatti's Pizza brand in 2015. It has created corporate-owned locations in five North Texas cities to prove these concepts, and now it is moving forward with franchising.

It is targeting franchises in 15 states, with a focus on smaller towns in the southern U.S., including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North and South Carolina. For Mr. Gatti's, the chain is seeking locations ranging from 3,800 to 6,800 SF in neighborhoods averaging $75K or higher household income.

“The Mr. Gatti’s fast-casual model represents a great movement back to our roots, and we think this is a great offering for urban areas,” Gatti's President Michael Poates said in a release. 

Gatti's Pizza locations range from 6K SF to 30K SF and can go in markets with $55K to $80K average income.

“Our sweet spot as a brand, really, is at that 7K to 16K SF unit with an arcade or game room attached,” Poates said. "In those [smaller] markets, we’re not just another place with games and pizza. We end up being a community center."

Besides entering new markets, Gatti's is trying to revive its presence in markets where it once had a foothold: Thomasville, North Carolina; Opelousas, Louisiana; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; College Station, Texas; Corpus Christi, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; and Tyler, Texas.

Gatti's Pizza was founded in 1964 as The Pizza Place in Stephenville, and became Gatti's when it entered Austin in 1969. There are 97 restaurants under the Gatti's umbrella, including GattiTown restaurant/arcades.

Related Topics: Gatti's Pizza, Mr. Gatti's, Sovrano