For Mici Italian’s first franchisee, Lucas Farnham, brand authenticity is what secured the 30-unit deal he signed last year.
“You can’t create authenticity,” said Farnham, who also operates Black Bear Diner and Smashburger franchises in Colorado. “A lot of brands have tried.”
Mici’s, a fast-casual concept serving homemade New York-style pizza and pasta, is filling a void in the Phoenix market, where it has pledged to expand 30 stores. “I think that’s what’s missing and what I wish I had so I could order for my family. Really good pizza, reasonably quick and reasonably priced,” Farnham told the Franchise Times earlier this year.
Farnham has signed an agreement to open 30 Mici stores in the Phoenix market. Mici has nine locations, including seven company-owned stores in Colorado and franchise restaurants in Gilbert, Arizona — the first in Farnham — and Frisco, Texas. Mici also extends to Michigan. The brand has signed deals for 58 new units, including a 25-unit development deal with Serve Hospitality Group, a major Tropical Smoothie Cafe operator.
Farnham’s first restaurant opened in June, and another was due to open by the end of the year, but is now about five months behind schedule, he said. “Delays are ordinary. They were exceptional, but now they are ordinary.
Chief growth officer Matt Stanton, who left his role as WellBiz Brands chief development officer last fall to join Mici, said the company would like to open 150 stores by 2027, but that goal isn’t strict. . “So if it’s good for the brand to be a little more patient, then we will,” he said.
While Mici is new to franchising, Stanton said the company’s nearly two decades of experience is attractive to potential franchisees. Founded in 2004 by siblings Jeff, Kim and Michael Micelli, the concept’s Italian cuisine is based on family recipes, and one of the company’s first employees now trains new hires at franchise stores.
“It’s a lot of time to really figure out a lot of things, to make sure the economy is working well, to make sure all of these cooking processes are really smooth, so we can get food out of the kitchen quickly. , so that we can have high-income hours that don’t seem chaotic,” Stanton said. Coming with a strong, established base is what gave franchisees the confidence to sign a deal, he said. “Now it’s time to replicate that success.”
Mici has launched a new brand image with its franchise program, Stanton said. Mici’s new look and feel is “a bit more playful and fun for the brand”.
The Farnham location in Gilbert, Arizona was the brand’s first franchise location to open. So far, the store has garnered great reviews and things are going well on the operations side, Farnham said.
“We’re filling a niche,” Farnham said. “There really is a place for it in the market.”
The total investment required to open a Mici Italian restaurant is $244,205 to $586,605. Average sales in 2021 were $1.3 million.