Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Uncle Maddio's Can't Handle The Heat Near Cumberland Mall, Sells to Blaze Pizza

Uncle Maddio's Pizza at Akers Mill Square has closed. The QSR pizza restaurant which opened in 2012 and was one of the first franchises of the Atlanta based chain, closed after lunch yesterday, August 29.  Signage posted to the restaurant's front door states that "we have decided to sell our business."
The Akers Mill Uncle Maddio's restaurant opened long before SunTrust Park opened, even before there was even talk of the development.  With the development now open and increased traffic around Akers Mill, the fact that the restaurant's owners opted to sell rather than continue to operate is a testament to the troubles facing not only the location, but the Uncle Maddio's brand as a whole.

The Akers Mill Square restaurant was owned by the same franchisee as the Kennesaw restaurant on Chastain Road. Both restaurants were previously marketed for sale by The Shumacher Group, an Atlanta-based real estate brokerage specializing in restaurants.  Sources say that the Kennesaw location remains "on the market," although Steve Josovitz with The Shumacher Group confirms his firm did not broker the Akers Mill sale nor is his firm actively involved in marketing the Kennesaw location.  

Started by former Moe's Southwest Grill co-founder Matt Andrew in 2008, Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint was heralded as the next great franchise opportunity.  Despite the Moe's Southwest Grill pedigree, about two dozen Uncle Maddio's locations have closed, leaving the once promising chain with fewer than 40 restaurants in operation.  

Following closures of Uncle Maddio's locations in Buckhead, Midtown, Edgewood, Alpharetta and Woodstock among others, the chain has just ten locations open in Georgia: Northlake, Dunwoody, Smyrna, Kennesaw, Buford, Canton, Gainesville, Savannah, Warner Robins and Newnan.  
Despite recent claims that "Uncle Maddio's is on track to have 300 restaurants open in five years with 1,000 units in development," more restaurants are closing than opening, with a pipeline far smaller than the company suggests.

ToNeTo Atlanta has been working on comprehensive coverage of the issues facing Uncle Maddio's and plans to publish an eye-opening report in the coming weeks.  

As for the Akers Mill location, sources say that Blaze Pizza, a similar, but thriving QSR pizza restaurant, will open in the coming months in place of Uncle Maddio's.  One clear difference between Uncle Maddio's and Blaze, is that Uncle Maddio's cooks their pizza in a conveyor belt oven contraption, but Blaze uses an actual pizza oven to bake their pizzas, and the results speak for themselves.  
The upcoming Blaze Pizza at Emory Commons near Emory University 
Blaze launched three years after Uncle Maddio's, but has already eclipsed the fledgling Atlanta chain with over 200 locations open.  Like Maddio's, Blaze was started by an established operator, in their case, Rick and wife Elise Wetzel of Wetzel's Pretzel's.   

Blaze will officially enter the Atlanta market on September 7 when their location at Emory Commons opens.  

Reached via Facebook, Blaze indicates that they don't have an exact date for the opening at Akers Mill but it will be "soon."  

Are you surprised to see Uncle Maddio's locations continue to close?  Are you a current or former Uncle Maddio's franchisee who would be willing to share your experiences in an upcoming post?  Do you think Blaze Pizza will succeed where Uncle Maddio's failed?  

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Never visited that location although I am over there frequently. The Subway two doors down has to be one of their best stores company wide. There are a ton of dining options in that shopping center.

But doesn't conveyor belt pizza just make your mouth water?

CloseOTP said...

So many consider the QSR pizza the next (or current) burger, yogurt, cupcake craze. I actually think it's worse. All these chains offering something that "regular" pizza places have offered for years - a quick product at a low price point. I'd go to Fellini's for a slice any day over a QSR pizza place. I'd go to Antico for a full pie. Or Mellow Mushroom. Or Blue Moon. Or NY Pizza Exchange. Or... (the list goes on.) Compare this to the QSR burger craze - let's pick Grub since it's in the same Akers Mill shopping center. I feel there's a definite spot for a place like Grub. I want super quick, well then I may have to go to McDonalds. I want a relaxed meal where I'm served - I can go next door to Longhorns. But if I want a good quality burger that's relatively quick, I can go to Grub. I feel there's a legitimate spot for that type of burger. But QSR pizza, I just don't see it - especially because I feel the quality at QSR pizza is lower than even places like Pizza Hut. Maybe I'm missing something if Blaze is doing so well...

Related - do you know anything about Big Daddy Burger going into Jonquil at Atlanta/Spring Roads (Publix Shopping Center)?

Anonymous said...

I have tried Blaze pizza and they are actually really good. I hope this location is good as well. As for the Grub burger, I have tried them several times and yes they are quick, but I just can't get past the grease. Every bite results in tons of grease dripping out of them. I get sick every time I eat there. I like the ideas of being able to get a drink with my burger. Thats the only reason I have tried them more than once. I just can't go back. I don't know anyone who likes their burgers.

ImAndy said...

The only time I eat at any of these pizza places is when they run 10% statement credit on my BofA card at Your Pie. I also will not try the new one at Town Brookhaven until they pick up all their illegal signs they littered everywhere. Bad neighbors!

Carl said...

@CloseOTP; do you mean "Bad" Daddy?

Anonymous said...

MADDIO'S pizza went down in quality. I stopped eating there a long time ago, especially when i found out YOUR PIE HAS a better deal and THE pizza was DELICIOUS and fresh. MADDIO'S Pizza had become DRY and unappealing.
Kinda glad they are closed. i hope BLAZE PIZZA is a better !! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am a franchisee and their leadership sucks!! The franchise is bleeding and cannot keep their executives.

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