A Conversation with Matt Loney, Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet, Atlanta, GA

Matt Loney, CEO, Stevi B's Pizza Buffet, pizza company, pizza chainMatt Loney lets us in on Stevi B’s Southeast growth plan and franchising

Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet   
Atlanta, Georgia
The buffet-style pizza chain ranks No. 71 on Pizza Today’s 2013 “Top 100 Pizza Companies” list with $32 million in gross annual sales. Stevi B’s has 47 units in eight states. President and CEO Matt Loney has plans to expand the company’s brand as a neighborhood pizza buffet.

Our main goal right now is to increase our density throughout the Southeast. There are tremendous growth opportunities for us in ancillary markets throughout Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.

In terms of identifying new franchisees to open these locations, we are looking for family oriented individuals that are embedded within the community. Ideal franchisees have a passion for our brand, a strong business acumen, children in the local school system and are involved with sports teams and/or local activities. Our operators often belong to a church in the community and participate in neighborhood events and fundraisers.

Over the past year, we’ve been focused on implementing a strategic growth plan that includes looking at every aspect of our business, from marketing and design to operations and profitability. Stevi B’s Pizza wants to embrace why our fans have grown to love us while, at the same time, enhancing our brand’s endearing qualities so that more of our neighbors will come out and join us.

One of the key factors in our ability to grow is the support from Argonne Capital Partners, one of the most prestigious private investment firms in the country. Best known for making restaurant concepts such as Applebees, IHOP and Krystal household names throughout the Southeast, the firm recognized the value of our brand and has doubled the size of the company’s footprint since acquiring it in 2008. We hope to continue tapping their expertise as we add new locations throughout the county.

Key growth markets include communities throughout Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and neighboring Southeastern U.S. markets. By growing into neighboring ancillary markets, we are better fit to support our franchisees and guide new restaurants in the early phase of their development.

It is also important to mention that we operate best in tight knit communities with a population density of 30,000–300,000 people. We like the close, family-oriented feel that is cultivated in smaller towns.

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The growth of our brand has been largely driven by the outstanding group of franchisees within our system, as well as our talented leadership team.

Our franchisees are exceptional operators that are doing amazing things in their community. Whether its school fundraisers or little league sponsorships, they know how to embed themselves into the towns that they serve.

We have assembled a supremely talented group of restaurant franchise experts to support our operators. Allyson Smith is a great example. The former vice president of brand and national marketing for Arby’s is now spearheading our marketing program as Stevi B’s chief marketing officer.

Additionally, it is important to mention that our franchisees and our leadership team are working with an award-winning concept. Not only does the quality of our food surpass others in our segment, but we have a proven brand with more than 15 years of building a phenomenal fan base. From our loaded baked potato pizza to our hot wing or mac and cheese pizza, we think outside the box to offer our customers a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

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