These are perilous times to be a worker in a restaurant, let alone the owner of one, but the people who run i Fratelli, a pizza chain in Dallas are unfazed. Because i Fratelli’s business is primarily takeout and delivery, it didn’t have to change its business model much after city and state officials issued orders to close dining rooms and shelter in place. People always need pizza, especially if they’re stuck at home.
Things are going so well at i Fratelli, in fact, that the chain opened a franchise location last Thursday, March 19, in Fort Worth, and plans to open another on Monday, March 30, also in Fort Worth.
“Obviously, [plans and construction] started long before COVID-19 started,” Chuck Ballard, VP of franchise development, told The Dallas Morning News. But since business is actually up compared to this time last year—4%, but still—i Fratelli’s executives are optimistic. “Both of [the franchisees’] existing locations are seeing a gangbuster of sales,” said Ballard. Another reason for i Fratelli’s newfound prosperity is that it uses its own delivery drivers and so it doesn’t have to pay third-party fees. (These drivers are now wearing gloves.)
The main changes i Fratelli has seen is that fewer customers order lots of pizzas during the day due to the lack of office lunches. (Hospitals are still reliable customers, though.) If there were ever a time for night pizza, this is it.