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New CEO Reveals Four Star Pizza Growth Plans

By Dave Simpson

Four Star Pizza's new CEO, Colin Hughes, has revealed plans to open 45 new stores and create 900 new jobs on the island of Ireland over the next three years.

Details

The Irish-owned pizza chain, established in 1986, currently operates 42 outlets in the Republic of Ireland and 14 in Northern Ireland but Hughes, and a new senior management team have set their sights on bringing the total number of FSP stores to more than 100 by 2025.

Northern Ireland-born Hughes took over the role of CEO for Four Star Pizza (Ireland) in January this year.

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Following a root-and-branch review of Four Star's business, he has identified several areas for growth, setting a target to open an additional 27 stores in the Republic and a further 18 in the North.

The proposed timeframe for this expansion includes the opening of four new stores this year with a further 16 in 2023 and 25 more in 2024.

An average of 20 jobs per store will see the company create a total of 900+ new jobs during this period.

Hughes stated, "It's been an extremely busy, but very productive, first few months in the job.

"Our ultimate goal is for virtually everyone in Ireland, north and south, to have access to a local Four Star Pizza outlet, and the road to achieving that has already started.

"As purse strings tighten across the country, the convenience, affordability and value for money that Four Star Pizza provides, without compromising on quality, has provided a platform from which we can expand to satisfy increasing demand from our loyal and ever-growing customer base.

"From the outset, my priority was to carry out a full review of the business and speak to each and every one of our valued franchisees, who have been amazing in helping me understand the many facets and challenges of running one of the country's biggest franchisee networks.

"Add the current situation in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis into the mix and, as far as the wider business environment goes, we’re currently in the midst of a perfect storm but the frontline feedback from our franchisee base remains positive with sales volumes and average transaction spends holding up well.

"The good news, from a Four Star Pizza point of view, is that we are operating from a position of strength, having just enjoyed our best year to date in 2021*, and having carried out a data-driven location analysis of our business, I am very excited at the potential to grow the business across many areas, not least geographically,” he added.

Aside from company expansion, Hughes has targeted a number of other areas to accelerate Four Star’s forward momentum and continue improving the quality of its products and services to customers.

These include a focus on franchisee training, quality control, menu improvements, new product development and innovation, brand refreshment, store refurbishments, delivery options, enhancing the company's digital proposition and securing all-important supply chains which have been significantly impacted by global events.

"Whilst we are excited by our growth plans, we're under no illusions that the road ahead will not be easy, as we continue to operate in the most challenging of business environments," continued Hughes.

"Global supply chains are under pressure and, while consumer demand remains strong, the impact of COVID-19, Brexit and the war in Eastern Europe continues to impact on supply chains. Recruitment, especially in the hospitality industry, is very difficult, freight markets are unbalanced, and price inflation is increasing all the time.

"One of the most important aspects of my role to date has been to review our supply chains and work with our key suppliers to ensure continuity of supply across all products, including flour, cheese, proteins and packaging.

"There's no point in creating demand if you're not in a position to meet it, so that has been a priority for us and we are now well positioned to move ahead with our expansion plans."

Currently, the company is engaged in a proactive campaign to identify new store locations and recruit potential franchisees.

According to Hughes, interested parties do not need any previous pizza experience as Four Star Pizza will provide all the necessary training in food preparation, accounts, customer service, delivery and marketing.

"We're on the hunt for any potential entrepreneurs with a good business brain to consider joining our growing network and becoming part of a progressive company with a very strong brand," continued Hughes.

"In just a few months you could own a brand new business, built around a highly successful model and with all the support you need from a team of business experts to help you to recruit, manage, grow and thrive in your chosen town or city," he added.

"Becoming a Four Star Pizza franchisee requires a lot of commitment but we are here to help and we offer an extensive training programme to enable franchisees to reach the required levels in terms of operations, marketing and customer service.

"Even if someone is currently running another franchise but is thinking of a change, we would encourage them to get in touch to hear about our exciting plans," concluded Hughes.

Record Year

* 2021 was a record year for Four Star Pizza in Ireland, with a year-on-year sales increase of 21.5%, driven largely by a jump of 25% in online orders made via the company's own website and app. Own channel online orders now account for almost 42% per cent of all sales. Four Star Pizza's "Rewards" loyalty programme also played a significant role in driving sales with a massive 60% redemption rate in loyalty points across its extensive 300,000+ membership.

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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