Stamford-based Riko’s Thin Crust Pizza chain has signed its first franchise with 19 Doughballs Inc. to open a Riko’s full-service restaurant on Long Island in 2019.
Namesake Rico Imbrogno, who co-founded the chain with cousin Luigi Cardillo, said that the three franchise partners have much in common, noting that members of the Doughballs group have experience with Panera Bread, Quiznos and Marriott International. “To attract such experienced and operationally focused individuals is a true endorsement of the strength of the Riko’s brand and the success of our system,” Imbrogno said.
“We looked at hundreds of concepts and kept coming back to Riko’s’ consistent quality of product and welcoming and superior service,” said Doughballs partner Frank Sciremammano. “Riko’s Long Island will replicate those great qualities, down to the well-known black and white ancestral photos that adorn the walls.”
Riko’s encourages each franchisee to use their own old family photos to underscore their roots and graphically call attention to the heritage that serves as the basis for Riko’s menu and décor.
The Riko’s chain began in 2011 on Selleck Street in Stamford, and has since expanded to include another Stamford location as well as one in Norwalk.
Franchise industry expert Gary Occhiogrosso, founder of Franchise Growth Solutions LLC, plans to further expand the chain to 15 locations by 2021.
“For years they’ve had people coming in and saying, ‘Hey, if you ever decide to expand, give us a call,’” Occhiogrosso told the Business Journal last year.