This article is brought to you by Hunt Brothers Pizza.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Back in 1991, when brothers Don, Charlie, Jim and Lonnie Hunt combined their talents to create a turn-key foodservice operation, it seemed unlikely that two decades later their business would be spread across 30 states and serve 7,800 businesses. Today, Hunt Brothers Pizza has earned the title of “largest supplier of made-to-order pizza in the U.S. convenience store industry.”
That achievement was the result of a lot of hard work and dedication to several guiding principles, one of which is “Be a blessing to people,” according to the company website. And while Hunt Brothers Pizza has store partners in metropolitan areas, suburbs and inner cities, the turn-key pizza program has been a blessing to convenience operators in rural areas and other communities that major distribution companies don’t serve.
“We want to help our store partners succeed,” said Dee Cleveland, director of marketing, Hunt Brothers Pizza. “We offer a national branded pizza program that builds credibility and ensures consumers that they’re getting the same high-quality product no matter where they purchase it. Best of all, our program is super simple because we’ve eliminated 90% of the prep time typically required to produce a quality pizza.”
Hunt Brothers Pizza has been a blessing for Gunter Oil of Birmingham, Alabama, according to Sonya Young, director of retail and marketing for Gunter. Over the years, Gunter has had different national foodservice programs in store, but none have provided consistent client support comparable to Hunt Brothers Pizza. Today, nine Gunter stores carry the program, and the company hopes to add two more locations within the next year.
“Hunt Brothers is a family owned company just like Gunter Oil, and there is a lot of overlap in our values and goals” she said. “We are constantly impressed by Hunt Brothers’ thoroughness in testing new products and how they manage to stay ahead of the competition. The account managers are our dependable advisers. They’re friendly, professional and extremely knowledgeable. They’re mindful of the daily store operations, and they help us manage the program.”
Account managers have even helped Gunter bake pizzas and distribute them to local businesses to get the word out about the product. “But Hunt Brothers doesn’t add additional costs for their time, labor or expertise, which is not always the case with other foodservice providers,” said Young, adding that Hunt Brothers Pizza also doesn’t charge franchisee or marketing fees and never requires signed contracts.
“Our success comes from filling a need in the c-store industry,” Cleveland said. “We tell everyone that our end goal is to be a blessing to our store partners and team members, and to support them as they do the same for the customers and communities they serve.”
This is the first installment of a two-part series about turn-key pizza programs in convenience stores. Look for the second installment in the August 24 edition of NACS Daily.