In 1965, Earl “Red” Schoenheider opened the first Red’s Savoy Pizza location on 7th Street in St. Paul. Since then, The Original Red’s Savoy Pizza name has become legendary throughout the Midwest, known for its spicy secret-recipe sauce and for its old-school atmosphere. Red’s outstanding, old-school thin-crust pizza has developed a cult-like following among its fans and has grown to 14 locations across Minnesota and Nebraska. Red’s Savoy Pizza takes pride in serving delicious, unpretentious pizza.
And now, entrepreneurs looking to open a restaurant can own a piece of the pie by investing and opening their own Red Savoy’s franchise.
Would a Red’s Savoy Pizza restaurant open in Inver Grove Heights if the right franchisee was in place? The answer is yes, says Jeff Thames, Director of Franchise Sales for Savoy Pizza. However – for that to happen, a franchisee has to make an investment in the business and choose Inver Grove Heights as a location where they would like to open.
Thames discusses this and more in this Q&A below:
Eat IGH: Red Savoy’s Pizza is fantastic pizza. Can you tell us about your franchise opportunities? How much does it cost and what does it take to succeed as a red savoy franchisee?
Jeff Thames: Franchising with Red’s Savoy is an opportunity to get into business for yourself with an iconic St. Paul brand. It seems that everyone who tries the pizza loves it. It is a premium product that simply sells itself. We have franchise opportunities throughout Minnesota and then we will expand into contiguous states. The good news for franchisees is that Savoy is a highly recognizable brand in the Twin Cities. We have brand awareness that continues to permeate throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.
Cost to open a Red’s Savoy restaurant varies fairly broadly depending on the size and the condition of the facility. We have some stores that are fairly small and do takeout and delivery only. And some of our recent restaurants have about 50 seats but have reasonable staffing requirements because they operate a fast-casual model. Costs are kept low in this model because there is no direct wait-staff. You order at the counter, are given a number and then the pizza (and other food items) are brought to your table when ready. Therefore, depending on the condition of the real estate we find and the size of your Red’s Savoy restaurant, your investment should be somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000.
The key to success with a Savoy restaurant is being able to promote your business, primarily by getting people to try the product. The pizza is second to none. Therefore, successful franchisees get outside the four walls and get the product in people’s mouths. Because once people taste our pizza they will come back for more.
EatIGH: We’ve ate at the original Red Savoy’s in St. Paul. We’ve ordered from Newport and Eagan Savoy’s. We liked the St. Paul and Newport locations best. People say “the pizza at x location tastes better” or “the pizza at y tastes better.” Do all franchises use the same ingredients/sauces?
Jeff Thames: We used to hear that when we first started franchising 3.5 years ago but rarely hear that anymore. All pizzas have the same ingredients, same portions, same ovens, same cook time, same cut, same everything. But eating is an emotional experience. Receiving a piping hot pizza at our downtown location, in a dark bar with a couple beers, might seem different than grabbing a slice to go at another location. But all pizzas are made the same.
EatIGH: What is unique about the opportunity to own a Red’s Savoy franchise? What opportunity does it provide?
Jeff Thames: You are providing a product that everyone enjoys. We have never heard anyone say they didn’t like the pizza. Someone might have said it was cold or over-cooked or whatever but no one has ever said they didn’t like it. We offer a ground floor opportunity with a product that everyone likes in a market where we have growing brand awareness. Individuals receive the opportunity to work for themselves, selling a product that puts smiles on the faces of all who try the pizza.
EatIGH: Would IGH be considered for a Red Savoy’s franchise if someone was able to make that investment? Has anyone discussed coming to IGH and what do you think of IGH as a place where Red Savoy’s could succeed? Does it matter that there is one nearby in St. Paul, Eagan or Newport?
Jeff Thames: Location does matter. Everyone gets a protected territory and another franchisee is not able to infringe upon an existing territory. But IGH should be a market onto itself. It is a very nice market with many, many people who deserve the Savoy Pizza product. The key is finding the right location. Once secured, an IGH franchisee will be able to grow her/his business serving the people of IGH.
EatIGH: There’s a lot of open real estate in IGH – but also a lot of pizza places. Is that competition considered when offering a franchise or considering a city?
Jeff Thames: Competition is considered but there are different types of competition. Savoy is in the premium pizza category (our house special weighs 3.5 pounds!). We wouldn’t want to be right next door to another premium pizza restaurant but we could be very close to a different style pizza restaurant. When we went into Eagan, there were 22 pizza restaurants in the area but our store there does very well. We take site selection very seriously and we do our best to place our franchisees in locations that out-position the competition and give our franchisees a great opportunity to grow their business.
EatIGH: What else can you say about Red Savoy’s pizza, franchising or what it would take to get one to come to IGH?
Jeff Thames: Another benefit of working with Red’s Savoy is that we are very hands-on with our franchisees. We partner with them for profitability and work closely together, assisting them with their growth initiatives.
Interested in a Red’s Savoy pizza franchise? Contact Jeff Thames:
Director of Franchise Development
Savoy Pizza Franchise, LLC