7 DAY SPOTLIGHT: Franzones

Nov 04, 2015 0 comments
7 DAY SPOTLIGHT: Franzones

Charles Franzone, a Philadelphia native, grew up in the family business, literally. "My dad has the Franzones located in Plymouth Meeting, and he basically raised my sister and I there. Every day after school, I would go to that Franzones and do my homework." Even though he initially started out a career in sales, completely unrelated to his family business, Charles was given a choice: either he moved to California and established his sales career, or he got involved with his family business. Needless to say, he went the Franzones route. Charles went on to explain how the pizza business has been in his family for decades, and that their secret to success lies in the traditional aspects they bring to the table. Everything, and we mean everything that Franzones offers is guaranteed to be deeply rooted in their sixty years of tradition and familial values. "Even some of our vendors are the same vendors we've been using for 60 years. We established relationships with everyone we did business with. Since they were loyal to us, we were always loyal to them in return," explained Charles. It is very clear that Charles has every intention of up keeping the family tradition. He successfully runs Franzones on 114 Levering Street in Manayunk. Stop by and grab a slice any day of the week! Let it be known that Charles and Franzones are still meeting the high standards established by his family 1955, when the entire Franzone franchise began.

Needless to say, this isn't the Franzone family's first rodeo. "There's a Franzones in Bridgeport, in Conshohocken, and lastly,  the Manayunk location that we just opened this year," answered Charles when asked about the current locations of his family business.  With such a successful business, rooted in family ties and traditions, we really wanted the breakdown of Franzones' history. "My grandpa started Franzones in '55, when he bought DeJohn's Steaks off of his mom and uncle. He then turned that steak shop  into Franzones Pizza." That Franzones is the still standing shop in Bridgeport. How did they expand, one might ask? "My grandfather left that store to his brother, because he had plans to expand. My grandfather then opened up another Franzones in Plymouth Meeting." And the rest is history. From then on out, the family business has been handed down from generation to generation. They have been successfully operating their shops and satisfying new and returning customers alike for 60 years. Changing very little, and continuing to charm customers with quality food and service, the Franzone franchise is iconic to the Philadelphia area. "I wasn't even sure what I wanted to do out of school, but I always knew I would end up in the family business," gushed Charles. And boy, are we happy he did!

Charles broke down the art of pizza making, and truthfully it sounded almost like a science. "There's a way to make pizza so that you aren't overpowering certain ingredients. You want to be able to taste everything, not just all sauce or all cheese," explained Charles. Warning, Charles' brief breakdown on making a pizza will increase your appetite and craving for some of their delicious food: "All the dough is homemade daily. As well as the sauce. My grandfather's mother came up with the sauce recipe 60 something years ago." Solely based on that, it's clear the Franzone family knows what they're doing. "We start with the dough, and we have to pound it out, since we are more on the thin crust side of pizza," said Charles. Here comes the twist: they don't make pizza the way one might typically assume. "We actually put the cheese on before the sauce, which most places choose not to do. We put the sauce on top, so every slice you bite into, you get the perfect cheese to sauce combination" described Charles. That mouth watering description had us thinking, exactly how many pizzas does Franzones make a day? "I would say about 100 a day, but we're trying to increase that." Charles explained that he hopes to reach numbers closer to that of the other Franzones locations, which climb as high as 400 to 450 pies a day! Like we said, the secrets in the sauce!

"The thing that gives me the most gratification is getting positive feedback from our customers, especially families." Charles feels the most rewarded from his work when he hears his costumers and their families are growing up on the same cheesy goodness that he did. "Like I said, I grew up in the Plymouth Meeting location, so seeing some of the same people from there come in here, and leave just as satisfied is easily my favorite part of the job." Contrary to a sometimes obvious assumption,  pressure to be a part of the family business is not why Charles opted to open his own Franzones.  It was more so his desire to satisfy his customers and emulate the traditions his father passed down to him that caused him to take this route, knowing it wouldn't always be easy."At the end of the day, I got into this business because of the family values, even though I know firsthand how tough the service industry can be." When asked what the most challenging aspects of his job were, Charles  paused for a while. "Everyone thinks that being your own boss is the best part of a job like this. But for me, it's probably the most challenging." Without further promoting, Charles explained what he meant by this. "I don't even view myself as my own boss. I'm working with people, for people. I view the customers as the boss, not myself. Without them, Franzones wouldn't even be able to exist," said Charles. This could explain why Franzones' customers keep coming back for more, providing positive feedback, and leaving with full hearts and stomachs! 

Charles was all but moved into his apartment in California to embark on his career in sales, when he happened to walk past a Manayunk corner building up for sale. "I just was walking by the building, saw it was for sale, and called my dad to get his opinion on opening up in Manayunk," said Charles. When asked about his feelings when facing such a pivotal fork in the road, Charles elaborated on his faith in the business. "I wasn't entirely sure about California, but I never doubted Franzones. It was a proven product." He also explained how his connection to the Manayunk area helped in his decision making process. "I knew people in this area, and a lot of them are from my area in Plymouth Meeting. I also knew that they were traveling all the way to the other two locations, just to get our food. So I figured with Manayunk, why not make it easier and more accessible to everyone who was already going the extra mile to get it." Charles explained how he always knew that Franzones needed more recognition in Philly, and Manayunk could offer that."It was a good step into the Philadelphia area, especially because it's expanding and becoming much more than what it once was." With a sincere smile, Charles summed up the importance of Manayunk to not only his business, but also to himself. "Manayunk is Philly's melting pot. Similar to Franzones, Manayunk has a little of everything to offer. Manayunk needed us, and we needed them."


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