The FINANCIAL -- GE Capital’s Franchise Finance (GEFF) business has provided a new $7.6 million term loan and $2.0 million revolving credit facility to Milano Restaurants International Corp. The funds will be used primarily to develop its new fast-casual pizza concept, Blast 825°, according to General Electric.
Milano’s first Blast 825° unit opened in 2013. It currently has four locations open and two more in development in California. The concept features a new fast-fired pizza format that allows customers to build personal 11” pizzas, choosing from 40 toppings, four sauces and three types of hand-stretched dough. The pizza is then cooked quickly in an 825° oven.
Based in Fresno, CA, Milano’s is a family business that owns, operates and franchises seven concepts, including Blast 825°, primarily in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Its largest concept is Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria. Founded in 1958, it has 33 company-owned units and 20 franchised units.
GE Capital has had a relationship with Milano’s since 2005, according to General Electric.
“As we prepare to expand our new Blast 825° concept, we decided to consolidate our financing with GE Capital,” said Marta Gray, CFO of Milano’s. “They know the challenges of being an owner-operator and they understand our industry and our region. It’s a pleasure to do business with a company that has such deep expertise in the restaurant space,” she added.
“Over its 50+ year operating history, Milano’s has shown that it knows how to build a loyal customer base and successfully compete with nationally known brands,” said Bill Kraus, a senior managing director with GEFF. “Although pizza is a highly competitive segment, we believe the management team is well-equipped to expand the Blast 825° concept,” he added.