HotBox launching franchise effort

June 17, 2008
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HotBoxLocally based HotBox Pizza plans to introduce its pies to a nationwide audience. The pizza chain won regulatory approval last week to begin selling franchises in Indiana, Michigan and Texas. The chain is waiting on approvals from Illinois and Wisconsin, and also plans to sell franchises in Ohio. Owner Gabe Connell says the goal is to open up to 10 locations in the next 18 months, many of them in Indiana. He's looking at Carmel, Avon, Brownsburg, Noblesville and Greenwood. HotBox already has stores in Broad Ripple, downtown Indianapolis, Fishers and West Lafayette.

The chain has hired Illinois-based franchise development firm Francorp Inc. to assist in the launch. Francorp, which also advised Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings, believes HotBox could grow to more than 100 locations, Connell said. But the chain isn't in a hurry: Connell wants "slow and calculated growth" focused on training and careful selection of franchisees. He hopes to carve out a niche between gourmet, sit-down pizza shops and the big chains, doing for pizza what Chipotle did for Mexican food. The local HotBox restaurants originally opened as part of Bloomington's Pizza Express chain, but a legal fight led to the spinoff of HotBox three years ago. HotBox joins a crowded field that includes other pizza franchises with Hoosier roots: Noble Roman's is based here, and Louisville-based Papa John's was founded by Ball State University alum John Schnatter.

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  • what about flaherty collins sueing Ghazi in charlotte for extreme delays???
  • For now, you can read all about it here. I might post an update later, if anyone has an interest in discussing the case?
  • Anyone else miss Pizza Express? That was college @ 4:00 pretty much summed up. A Big Ten from Pizza Express, enough said. Now it's HotBox and they are throwing them in at Gas Stations or in the midst of 10 other pizza joints and trying to expand until they lose any and all local base. Why can't a place just remain what it is?
  • Yum! More HotBox! Hopefully, this means that we can finally have one in Carmel. Not that I mind heading to Broad Ripple every now and then to get my fill.
  • It just needs to be said the Hot Box is not Pizza Express, not matter how bad it wants to be. They may end up as a huge pizza franchise, but their pizza will never be as satisfying as a Big Ten at 4:00am after a night on Kirkwood.
  • Ok, so ive been a frequenter of HotBox since the Pizza Express days. I love it! I just moved to indy recently after graduating from Purdue, and the fact that there are so many down here is amazing! Its the only place I go that seems to have a sense of humor anymore. and, honestly, who cares if they changed their name, its a way cooler name, and the article above clearly states that there was a legal battle which resulted in the name change. Its the same thing! Quit making up lame excuses to try and speak ill of this amazing pizza. Also, all you die hard pizza express fans: The Deal is the same thing as a big ten, and its still called a big ten in west lafayette. Geeze!!!!
  • JAK is right, Hot Box is just not the same. The Big Ten is a freaking rip off now. It was only $10 back at IU.
  • You guys must be pretty old. I just graduated from IU and the Big Ten is $14. Also, Pizza Express isn't on Kirkwood. I hit HotBox when I'm downtown, but wouldn't mind a spot on the northwest side of town.
  • Best Breadsticks money can buy. For a fat-arse like me, 8 breadsticks, and a cup o' cheese and pizza suace makes for a delicious meal.

    I loved it when they opened up here because when I was at IU I lived in Teeter-Thompson and could walk across the street for breadsticks at 3am.
  • Teter-Thompason woo woo! What floor?
  • I was on the 5th floor, corner room over-looking the circle drive! I loved living in Teter and therefore remaind thru my sophomore year too.

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