Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Uncle Maddio's Kennesaw, A Flop For Years, Finally Folds

The Uncle Maddio's Pizza on Chastain Road in Kennesaw closed Sunday night after about six years in business, none of which were profitable, according to sources close to the restaurant's owner.  The Kennesaw restaurant, like the former Uncle Maddio's at Akers Mill Square, was owned by franchisee Shehzad Lutfeali.  Both units had been for sale on multiple real estate platforms for years.  

The former Uncle Maddio's at Akers Mill reopened this past December as Blaze Pizza, a similar but more popular quick-serve pizza brand with national name recognition.  

Franchisees Briann and Melissa Welborn, who opened the Gainesville Uncle Maddio's in late 2014 and became the third owner of the Buford location in early 2017.  They are in negotiations to take over the shuttered Newnan location and have expressed interest in taking over the Kennesaw unit as well.  (Carl Hoover, who owns the rights to Blaze in Atlanta, was reportedly offered the Kennesaw location too, but turned it down.)  

Briann, a veteran of both Taco Bell and McDonald's, among other chains, sees Uncle Maddio's as the leader in the quick-serve pizza arena, and is excited by the chain's growth prospects.  Despite the company's struggles, closures and negative sentiment, Welborn believes his customer service and "superior" product will win over customers. 

While an experienced, driven and invested operator can go a long way, it may prove difficult for Welborn to be in so many places at once or replicate his tenacity in other managers.   

The closure of the Kennesaw Uncle Maddio's location is the first in metro Atlanta this year, but is the 29th overall, leaving the once promising chain with just 32 locations.  Well-placed sources indicate that only a handful of the chain's remaining locations are profitable, which could lead to even more closures and the unfortunate possibility of there being more units closed than open.  

The Uncle Maddio's website, which has been updated to reflect a Copyright © 2018, still lists the Newnan and Kennesaw locations as if they are open and operating.  The website also features a press page that was last updated in late 2015,  and appears to be something a twelve year old could have designed.  

While no "upcoming locations" are listed on the website, there is reportedly at least one coming soon, a partnership location with foodservice operator Delaware North at the T Gates of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  The location was confirmed last fall, but has not opened with sources telling ToNeTo Atlanta it's far from opening.  

It's rather unfortunate when you consider the millions of dollars invested in the brand both by outsiders and franchisees.  The Welborns seem to be in it for the right reasons, but are fighting an uphill battle with a product viewed as mediocre and a franchisor seemingly more interested in selling franchises than building successful franchisees. 

Why do you think Uncle Maddio's has struggled so much?  Do you think Uncle Maddio's will survive or will go the way of Burger Chef chain?  What would you like to see open in place of Uncle Maddio's in Kennesaw?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Bryan Marquardt said...

Went in twice and had no service acknowledgement and walked out.

jeff a. taylor said...

No training, no training, no training.

Uncle Maddio's Kennesaw said...

Thanks for the post, we appreciate the entire Kennesaw community supporting us. We did the best we could over the years! As all businesses have operational and financial challenges, we had our own but our team did a wonderful job together to serve good pizza! We did close for operations as of Sunday. We apologize for any short comings and hope you can forgive us and wish us well.

Today, as a team, we created and donated over 100 pizzas, 40 salad trays, 20 gallons of drinks and more and decided to feed Children's Health Care of Atlanta in Kennesaw! Our team wanted to do something to give back to our community.

Thank you once again to the entire Kennesaw community!

Uncle Maddio's Kennesaw said...

You weren't acknowledged because we didn't want to serve you