FOUR Star Pizza’s new CEO Colin Hughes has revealed plans to open 45 new stores and create 900 new jobs on the island of Ireland over the next three years.
The Irish-owned pizza chain, established in 1986, currently operates 42 outlets in the Republic of Ireland and 14 in Northern Ireland but Hughes, and a new senior management team, have set their sights on bringing the total number of FSP stores to more than 100 by 2025.
With a wealth of senior executive experience for a host of major hospitality-based companies, Northern Ireland-born Hughes took over the role of CEO for Four Star Pizza (Ireland) in January this year.
Mr Hughes has identified several areas for growth, setting a target to open an additional 27 stores in the Republic and a further 18 in the North.
He has named Cork as a possible location for one or more new stores to be opened by the company over the next three years.
The proposed timeframe for this expansion includes the opening of four new stores this year with a further 16 in 2023 and 25 more in 2024. An average of 20 jobs per store will see the company create a total of 900 plus new jobs during this period.
“It’s been an extremely busy, but very productive, first few months in the job,” said Mr Hughes.
“Our ultimate goal is for virtually everyone in Ireland, north and south, to have access to a local Four Star Pizza outlet, and the road to achieving that has already started.
“As purse strings tighten across the country, the convenience, affordability, and value for money that Four Star Pizza provides, without compromising on quality, has provided a platform from which we can expand to satisfy increasing demand from our loyal and ever-growing customer base.
“From the outset, my priority was to carry out a full review of the business and speak to each and every one of our valued franchisees, who have been amazing in helping me understand the many facets and challenges of running one of the country’s biggest franchisee networks.
“Add the current situation in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis into the mix and, as far as the wider business environment goes, we’re currently in the midst of a perfect storm but the frontline feedback from our franchisee base remains positive with sales volumes and average transaction spends holding up well.
“The good news, from a Four Star Pizza point of view, is that we are operating from a position of strength, having just enjoyed our best year to date in 2021*, and having carried out a data-driven location analysis of our business, I am very excited at the potential to grow the business across many areas, not least geographically,” he added.
Aside from company expansion, Hughes has targeted a number of other areas to accelerate Four Star’s forward momentum and continue improving the quality of its products and services to customers. These include a focus on franchisee training, quality control, menu improvements, new product development and innovation, brand refreshment, store refurbishments, delivery options, enhancing the company’s digital proposition, and – crucially – securing all-important supply chains which have been significantly impacted by global events.
“Whilst we are excited by our growth plans, we’re under no illusions that the road ahead will not be easy, as we continue to operate in the most challenging of business environments,” continued Mr Hughes.
“Global supply chains are under pressure and, while consumer demand remains strong, the impact of Covid-19, Brexit, and the war in Eastern Europe continues to impact supply chains. Recruitment, especially in the hospitality industry, is very difficult, freight markets are unbalanced, and price inflation is increasing all the time.
“One of the most important aspects of my role to date has been to review our supply chains and work with our key suppliers to ensure continuity of supply across all products, including flour, cheese, proteins, and packaging.
“There’s no point in creating demand if you’re not in a position to meet it, so that has been a priority for us and we are now well positioned to move ahead with our expansion plans.”
Currently, the company is engaged in a proactive campaign to identify new store locations and recruit potential franchisees.
According to Colin Hughes, interested parties do not need any previous pizza experience as Four Star Pizza will provide all the necessary training in food preparation, accounts, customer service, delivery, and marketing.
“Becoming a Four Star Pizza franchisee requires a lot of commitment but we are here to help and we offer an extensive training programme to enable franchisees to reach the required levels in terms of operations, marketing, and customer service.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a Four Star Pizza franchisee can do so at https://fourstarpizza.ie/franchisee-opportunity/ or by sending an introductory email to email@example.com, or by calling the company at (01) 7037300.