Marco's Pizza Sets Goal to Raise $50,000 Across 500 locations to Help 500 Veterans Find Employment

Nation's Fastest-Growing Pizza Franchise Celebrates Milestone 500th Location

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| Source: Marco's Franchising, LLC

TOLEDO, Ohio, May 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Starting Memorial Day, May 26, through Flag Day, June 14, Marco's Pizza, the fastest-growing pizza franchise in the United States, is celebrating 500 Strong, by honoring veterans and military families nationwide. During the three week period Marco's stores will be accepting $1 donations to benefit USA Cares Jobs Assistance Program, a national nonprofit that provides financial and advocacy assistance to post-9/11 U.S. military families. The veteran unemployment rate is around double the general population, and donations will directly benefit veterans seeking employment.

The 500th location is set to hold its grand opening celebration on Flag Day, June 14 at Hoggard High across from the new store located at 2305 S. College Road in Wilmington, NC. The milestone location is owned by area representative and military veteran, Joe Walker. Walker spent four years in active duty serving as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Iraq. After leaving the military in 2008, Walker saw franchise ownership as an appealing option given the similarities between the military and franchising. This milestone location adds to Walker's resume of owning and operating 11 locations with plans to open an additional three Marco's Pizza stores this year.

"This is really an exciting time in our brand's history, expanding across the country, entering new markets and opening our 500th location, with plans to open a total of 200 new stores this year," said Bryon Stephens, Marco's Pizza President and COO. "We share this milestone and our successes with our dedicated franchise partners and their hardworking teams, and of course with our loyal customers."

With hundreds of veteran employees and franchisees in the system, Marco's Pizza sees veterans as a great fit both as employees and franchise owners. Many of the attributes gained from military service such as leadership, attention to detail, working as a team, and following a structured plan directly translate to operating a successful franchise business. For this reason, and in celebration of the milestone 500th opening, Marco's Pizza is determined to help 500 veterans find employment.

As members of the International Franchise Association's (IFA) VetFran program, Marco's Pizza is dedicated to help provide ownership and job opportunities to returning veterans. In conjunction with the White House and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, VetFran helped more than 151,000 veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors enter the franchise industry by the end of 2013, with nearly 5,200 as franchise owners.

Marco's Pizza's recipe for growth has been a combination of a robust authentic product, a strong community image, and a mission to delight customers. As the only national franchise chain founded by a native Italian, Marco's Pizza has carved out a niche in the industry as experts in authentic Italian pizza, known for its fresh never-frozen dough made daily on site, a proprietary cheese blend that is fresh never frozen and a secret pizza sauce recipe. With 500 locations strong and more than 1,500 new franchise deals signed in 2013, the company is on track to quadruple its store count in the coming 5-7 years.

For more information on Marco's Pizza franchising and employment opportunities, visit http://marcos.com/join-our-team. For more information on how to donate please visit www.marcos.com/500STRONG.

About Marco's Pizza:

Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco's Pizza (Marco's Franchising, LLC) is the fastest-growing pizza company in the U.S. (based on the number of stores signed into development since 2007). Marco's was founded in 1978 by Italian born, Pasquale ("Pat") Giammarco and thrives by making Italian Pizza with fresh ingredients. The company has grown from its roots as a beloved Ohio brand to operate 500 stores in 34 states, and the Bahamas. Marco's Pizza recently ranked 11th place in the "2012 Pizza Industry Top 100 Movers & Shakers" by PizzaMarketPlace.com. To inquire about franchise opportunities with Marco's Pizza visit marcosfranchising.com.

About USA Cares:

USA Cares is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that helps post 9/11 military families bear the burdens of service with financial and advocacy support. Its mission: To help with basic needs during financial crisis, to assist combat injured Veterans and their families and to prevent private military home foreclosures and evictions. USA Cares has responded to over 50,000 requests for assistance with over $11 million in indirect-support grants. Military families anywhere in America can apply for assistance through the USA Cares web site, www.usacares.org or by calling (800) 773-0387.

About the International Franchise Association:

The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the more than 825,000 franchise establishments, which support nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.

Kelly McNamara, Fishman PR,
847-945-1300,