Godfather’s Pizza got its start in Omaha, Neb., in 1973, and the next year it was acquired by Willy Theisen, who began franchising. Inspired by the hugely popular “Godfather” movie franchise, the pizza chain was acquired by Pillsbury in 1985, and Herman Cain was named president and CEO. Cain, who later became head of the National Restaurant Association and made a run for U.S. president, led a leveraged buyout with then-executive vice president Ronald Gartlan. In 2009, Gartlan bought out Cain, and Gartlan has served as CEO since 1995.
The chain is known for its six sizes of pizza, from four-slice minis to 12-slice jumbos. Traditional units also offer breadsticks, garlic bread, potato wedges, wings and calzones, along with dessert pizzas, monkey bread and a salad bar. Express units have a more streamlined menu.
Headquarters: Omaha, Neb.
Segment: Quick Service
Restaurant segment: LSR Pizza
Number of U.S. locations: 566
2020 Sales: $312.1 million
Source: Datassential Firefly 500
CEO: Ronald Gartlan