Managers of the Salvatore’s restaurant chain are getting a piece of the pie.
Founder Sal Lupoli is transferring ownership of the five restaurants to their general managers, offering them no-interest financing to facilitate the deals.
“Since I started this organization, I always said we are going to reward the people who work the hardest for us. We’re very loyal in our company and our culture,” he said.
Lupoli will retain a hand in the restaurants’ operation as chairman of the board, which has the final say over such issues as prices and quality control. It’s a rare opportunity for rank-and-file employees to gain an ownership stake in the restaurants, all of which are “highly profitable,” Lupoli said, and would require a upfront, seven-digit investment. Lupoli declined to discuss the financial terms, but said he’s fielded numerous offers for the restaurants from local and national restaurant companies.
The East Boston native founded the Sal’s Pizza chain in 1990 and opened the first Salvatore’s sit-down restaurant in 2003. The Lawrence restaurant was intended to provide an amenity for tenants of the Riverwalk mill redevelopment that Lupoli acquired in 2003. Since then, additional locations have opened in Boston’s Seaport District and Theater District, Andover and Medford.
“We have the best all-stars and now we just gave them equity in the restaurants. No one will work harder than in an owner-occupied location,” he said.
Lupoli retains control of the Lawrence and Andover real estate. The Boston and Medford locations are leased.
Peter Ackerman will own the Boston locations. Kevin Branco will take over the Andover restaurant and Denise Baker will own the Medford Square restaurant. Michael Agricola is the new Lawrence owner. Combined, the managers have approximately 50 years of experience with the company.
Lupoli is expanding his commercial real estate ventures in the Merrimack Valley, with plans to redevelop Lowell’s Thorndike Mill complex and a 53-unit expansion of the Monarch Lofts apartment complex in Lawrence that he acquired last spring for $38 million. Lupoli Cos. also is building a 40,000-square-foot addition to Andover Medical Center that is scheduled for completion next spring.