Noble Roman's Shifting Gears to Grow Empire

Hires Melton as ops VP; looking to c-stores

INDIANAPOLIS As part of its strategy to target the convenience store and other industries, Noble Roman's Inc., the franchisor of Noble Roman's Pizza and Tuscano's Italian Style Subs, has added Patrick D. Melton to the newly created position of vice president of operations.

Melton will assume responsibility for the strategic oversight and supervision of franchise operations, including the planning process for new locations. Previously, this responsibility fell with Mitch Grunat, vice president of franchise services, whose prior broad scope will now be [image-nocss] more narrowly defined, which should allow the company to pursue objectives more aggressively as it continues to grow.

The Indianapolis-based company said it believes its executive level staffing is now sufficient to manage its growth strategy.

Melton is a seasoned corporate executive with more than 30 years experience in the restaurant industry. Prior to joining Noble Roman's, he served nine years as executive vice president of operations for Souper Salad Restaurants Inc., a 125-unit restaurant chain based in San Antonio. Prior to that, he was regional vice president for Hardees Food Systems from 1995 to 1997, where he had responsibility for directing the operations and business strategy of 120 Hardees restaurants, and was the only executive to receive the Founder's Award for sales and profit growth. From 1987 to 1995, he was part owner and vice president of operations for Hardees Enterprises, a franchise organization that grew from 14 to 35 restaurants under his leadership.

Prior to that, Melton served in various capacities in the restaurant industry including the roles of franchise service consultant, district manager, area training manager and restaurant general manager. His experience directing and managing the growth and operations of chain restaurants should help the company accelerate the development of its Noble Roman's Pizza and Tuscano's Italian Style Subs brands, as well as provide quality leadership and expertise to existing franchises.

Noble Roman's has sold more than 1,400 franchises in 45 states from coast-to-coast. Also, it has sold franchise agreements for military bases in Puerto Rico, Guam and Italy, and for entertainment facilities and convenience stores in Canada. As in the past several years, under the strategic leadership and sales efforts of Troy Branson, executive vice president of franchising, the company plans to continue its focus of awarding franchise agreements for both Noble Roman's Pizza and Tuscano's Italian Style Subs in nontraditional venues. These include hospitals, military bases, water parks, universities, c-stores, attractions, entertainment facilities, casinos, airports, travel plazas, office complexes and hotels.

In addition, the company recently began offering dual-branded Noble Roman's and Tuscano's for standalone, traditional locations. In April, the company announced the hiring of Peter Ortiz, a sales executive with 17 years concentration in high-volume franchise sales, as national director of franchise development, and in July, the hiring of Don Waldman, a real estate executive with more than 24 years experience in site selection and development, as national director of real estate, to assist in accelerating that growth.

The company is also marketing development territories to area developers for the growth of its traditional dual-branded concept. Area developers would have the exclusive right to develop the dual-branded traditional concept in their area, subject to company approval on each franchisee and location.