Oggi’s is a Franchise with over 25 years of experience
Oggi’s is a unique family-owned restaurant franchise with eighteen locations throughout Southern California and Arizona. The Oggi’s franchise is the creation of 2 ingenuous brothers, George and John Hadjis, who began serving up their own pizzeria experience in August 1991. After more than 20 combined years working in the technology industry, George and John opened a restaurant in Del Mar, California as a franchisee of an existing local pizza chain.
This has been a family business from the beginning, with George’s wife Dora, daughter Estella, son Tommy, and John’s son Shawn, involved in the business. They found themselves in a crowded market consisting of a mix of delivery chains, by-the-slice pizzerias and casual dining eateries with little demand for yet another pizza restaurant. They knew that they would have to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack in order to survive.
Innovation is a hallmark of Oggi’s
The first step in the evolution focused on adding home and office delivery. Not only did this allow the business to be one of the very few full-service restaurants to offer delivery at the time, it also insulated it from the ups and downs in customer traffic due to inclement weather. To refine its core concepts and further differentiate its own “slice of the pizza pie”, the family re-examined its customer base in the mid-90s. At the time, its customer base consisted solely of families dining in mainly for dinner, a segment of the population that was easily affected by changing market conditions, such as a recession or a decrease in discretionary spending.
Adding a sports focus attracts a new customer base
The Hadjis Family decided to expand its concept once again, to include other segments of the population including sports enthusiasts. This decision demanded sweeping changes in the design of the restaurant. At the Del Mar restaurant, the family added 20 televisions, satellite and cable access, and complemented the décor with sports memorabilia from all arenas of competition. This allowed customers to view sporting events from around the world, many of which were unavailable in their homes. This evolution attracted several new segments of the population to dine-in for lunch and dinner, and lengthened the average customer stay. Customers were entertained while they waited for their orders, and they became much more likely to order appetizers and other menu items, which increased the average sales ticket.
The business’ next evolution took advantage of the micro-brewed beer popularity explosion. In 1995, a micro-brewery was added, blending perfectly with the main product (pizza) and the established sports focus, broadening the customer base even further.
Success yields additional growth
These decisions greatly expanded the concept that we know today as Oggi’s, and steadily increased revenue and profit margins. By early 1995, the revenue from the Hadjis Family’s franchised Del Mar location exceeded all the other stores in the chain, and the family was approached by the master franchisor to expand the evolved pizza restaurant concept and open new locations.
By the end of 1995, the family franchised its first store under the new concept to a franchisee in Carmel Mountain Ranch, San Diego. This store mirrored the Del Mar location in every aspect and was an immediate success. It redefined the concept’s potential for success as it opened its first month at over $120,000, quite a feat at the time.
Sports-talk radio drives traffic
With the concept well off of the ground, the family expanded the marketing efforts, and began partnering with top-rated radio shows in each region. Sports talk radio is a natural fit for the concept’s pizza and beer crowd, and sports-related promotions at these stations helped drive traffic to the stores. Franchise interest was generated as far north as Santa Clarita and covered Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. By the end of 2001, the family had franchised and opened six additional stores under the concept and began separation negotiations with the master franchisor. The concept emerged as Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company.
“Oggi” stands for “today” in Italian
It symbolizes freshness and “the here and the now”. It is congruent with high quality pizza, pastas, salads, beer and even sports. The name also appeals to the female demographic as well as the male demographic. The latest research continues to show that over the balance of this decade the workforce will shift to reflect almost 61% as female workers. Thus, females will make more and more of the buying decisions including those related to “Home Meal Replacement”, a key ingredient to Oggi’s revenue strategy. The name Oggi’s is the perfect complement to its fresh, high quality meals, and the fresh and fun experience at Oggi’s.
Oggi’s is the Official Pizza for professional teams
To focus on building a strong franchise and corporate infrastructure, the Hadjis Family opened a 10,500 sq. ft. corporate facility in San Clemente, to accommodate Oggi’s administration, training and centralized brewing needs. The Brewery houses a steam-fired, 30-barrel Century Brewing system with one 30-barrel fermenter, four 60-barrel fermenters and three 120-barrel fermenters. By 2004 the biggest single group of customers to consistently frequent Oggi’s locations was the 25-to-34 year old active adult. This demographic is affluent, has dual income families, and lives very active, outdoor lifestyles. Oggi’s continued to make great strides to brand itself with activities that would appeal to this demographic, and negotiated partnerships with professional sports organizations in each of its markets. Oggi’s has been called the official pizza of the San Diego Padres, the San Diego Chargers, the Phoenix Coyotes, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and the Anaheim Ducks. Additionally, Oggi’s is a proud partner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the exclusive pizza sold at Angels Stadium.
Oggi’s has a strong and stable team
The Del Mar location was sold to a franchisee in July of 2005. Oggi’s corporate staff now consists of George Hadjis (President), John Hadjis (Vice President), Dora Hadjis (CFO), Estella (Hadjis) Ferrera (Vice President), Shawn Hadjis (Director of Operations), Tommy Hadjis (Director of Brewing Operations), Jesus Gamez (Operations Manager), Jason Tsiames (Corporate Chef), Cherie Bechtel (Bookkeeper), Jamie Hutton-Potts (Franchise Business Consultant), George Kitsinis (Corporate Trainer), Jim Gotses (Real Estate), Jay Scalise (Franchise Broker), Rena Farah (Marketing Manager) and Julie Hennessey (Executive Assistant).
The outlook is continued growth
Overall sales for 2014 are running at a pace that will generate nearly $36 million system wide. Oggi’s has won numerous awards regionally, nationally and internationally for its service, pizza, and micro-brewed beer. Our 5-year outlook is exciting with the launch of the new Oggi’s Sports|Brewhouse|Pizza brand, new restaurant design, as well as the launch of the fast-casual concept, Oggi’s Pizza Express – all which will result in expanded market coverage.