Monday, August 12, 2019

[UPDATE] Uncle Maddio's Franchisee Dumps Brand to Launch "Pazzi's"

Multi-unit Uncle Maddio's Pizza franchisee goes rogue and rebrands.  Briann and Melissa Welborn have launched "Pazzi's Italian Grille" in place of their five Uncle Maddio's Pizza restaurants in Buford, Gainesville, Newnan, Savannah and Auburn, Alabama. [The Welborn's reportedly only manage, rather than own, the Savannah location.]  The change took place last month, but is still reflected only in limited temporary replacement exterior signage and on the restaurant menus.  Pazzi's offerings are "identical to Uncle Maddio's" according to an employee at the Buford location.
The new concept is described on the Pazzi's facebook page: "We’re known for our crazy good pizza, but we also serve a variety of salads, calzones, pastas, and paninis." 

After 25 years managing quick-serve restaurant concepts such as Subway, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell, Briann Welborn signed on with Uncle Maddio's in 2013 to become the owner and operator of three Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint locations. Welborn planned to open his locations in Cumming, Dawsonville, and Gainesville.  The Gainsville location opened on Dawsonville Highway in 2014.  The debut was part of what the franchise called a "banner year" with Uncle Maddio's planning to open 35 new units in 2014 with 165 additional locations in development. 

“With more than two decades of franchise restaurant experience, I know I made the right choice by joining the Uncle Maddio’s team for my franchise business,” Welborn told QSR Magazine in 2013. “‘Served with Love’ says it all. The culture and expertise of the entire team is far superior to any franchise that I’ve ever worked with. Uncle Maddio’s treats its franchisees and franchisee teams with respect, and that is what sold me on the concept.”

Neither of Welborn's other planned locations opened.  Instead, as other franchisees opted to bail on their restaurants, the Welborns swooped in and acquired several existing, but poorly performing, Uncle Maddio's locations. 

Welborn told ToNeTo Atlanta in 2018 that he 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 believed his customer service and "superior" product would win over customers.  Unfortunately, customers seemed to disagree.  Seven out of the ten most recently received reviews for the Buford location are one star ratings. 

Among the grievances were customers who indicated that the meal "looked and tasted like frozen pizza," "awful service," "not very good," "GROSS. Horrible value." 

Atlanta-based Uncle Maddio's Pizza filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past April. There have been no new Uncle Maddio's openings since the bankruptcy filing and it's unclear who is left at corporate to care or admonish the Welborns for dropping the franchise but retaining the menu.  
Following the rebranding of the five Welborn-owned locations and closures of others earlier his year, the once high flying chain is now down to just 23 locations, of which four are in metro Atlanta.

Have you been to Pazzi's Italian Grille?  What is your favorite quick-serve pizza joint?  Do you think Pazzi's will find success where Uncle Maddio's struggled?  

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

Eli Zandman, is a blackmailing fraud. He is not a journalist. All of these articles are negative, and he uses it to make his despicable living.

Anonymous said...

Obviously a socialist if he moderates comments. Only people who agree may speak. Classic. You should seek legal counsel next time.

Unknown said...

What is your evidence to support this theory of Eli? I have known him for years and he has been nothing but a great human being which is more than I can say for you.

He has never said/published anything about being a journalist. This site is a BLOG which says so in the about section: “The intent behind this blog is not now, nor ever was it to bad-mouth businesses or to cheer failures”. The last time I checked, anyone can blog about anything they want and Eli does a fantastic job so much so that other sites either quote him or outright plagiarize his posts.

He in no way, shape or form profits off this site; it’s just something he’s passionate about doing. I suggest you, anonymous, find something you’re passionate about instead of posting comments that fall under the libel category.

Alan Cason said...

Who's moderating comments?
You obviously are scared to reveal your identity after making such accusations.

Alan Cason said...

Amen! Eli is passionate about food and retail and makes nothing from posting this!

Anonymous said...

I don't know Eli, but I enjoy this BLOG and am amused when someone hops on to ANONYMOUSLY make accusations like the one in this thread.

Online content is like television, radio, etc., if you don't like what you're reading or watching, DON'T! Go elsewhere!

That aside, how about you grow a set and identify yourself when making such accusations?!

Anonymous said...

" I suggest you, anonymous, find something you’re passionate about instead of posting comments that fall under the libel category."

Libelous - like CNN, WaPo, etc, et al...? If they can't be sued and shut down for the propaganda and LIES - what difference does it make?

Anonymous said...

Alan Cason just made an public a$$ of himself online and/or just wants his 15 seconds of fame? Or perhaps the REAL Alan Cason could sue for online impersonation and/or fraud? Unknown is no better than Anonymous - Hypocrite much?

No censorship. The liberal, socialist, left are destroying themselves. Let them do it quickly!

Anonymous said...

...and Pazzi's is apparently down to just two locations, Buford and Gainesville.

I went to Auburn this past weekend, and the location there was closed with a "for lease" sign in the window, despite no notice on Google that the store is permanently closed.

Based on the recent reviews, and likely the effects of the COVID pandemic, it was not a surprise to see them gone.

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