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Increasing customer engagement during pandemic kept franchisees strong, set stage for growth

As the world started changing, Mountain Mike’s pizza franchises had to change with it. Here’s how we led the way to ensure better safety for our guests and workers.

Mountain Mike’s workers wearing masks over their mouths and noses stand behind the counter, which is guarded by Plexiglass to reduce the spread of germs during the pandemic, giving a thumbs-up to the camera.

Employees wear masks for the safety of others, part of the strategy we adopted early on during the pandemic to help Mountain Mike’s customers feel valued.

Mountain Mike’s has always been big on connection. When our world changed early this year, we changed with it. We knew we had to find a way to continue supporting our franchisees and their employees and to continue serving our communities. 

As a pizza concept, we were already well-versed in carryout and delivery in ways that other restaurants simply weren’t, and in the early days of the pandemic that gave us a huge advantage. 

“Restaurants that did not have a delivery model really struggled at the beginning,” says Steven Adyani, VP, Operations. “We were able to jump right in and increase delivery and carryout.”

STEVEN ADYANI

STEVEN ADYANI

We also quickly implemented policies to increase safety and build trust during challenging times. Here are a few elements that we have implemented:

  • Tamper-free safety seals: All of our carryout and delivery packaging comes with stickers to ensure the package is not opened prior to a guest receiving it.
  • Physical distancing floor decals: The floor decals assist in maintaining the recommended six-foot distance between guests entering the restaurants for carryout or dine-in.
  • Contactless delivery: Minimizes contact between delivery drivers and guests.
  • Gloves and face masks: Protect guests and team members from transmission.
  • Hand sanitizer: Offered to guests when they come in for carryout or dine-in.

Changing in a changing world 

We began to seriously consider making operational changes around March, Adyani says. “We basically took a step back and tried to reimagine our business in a new way that would allow us to keep providing the same great service without impacting the guest experience. At the same time, it was vital that we protect our team members as well as guests from any health or sanitary risks.”

The new health and safety measures we’ve adopted across our 200+ restaurants have gone a long way toward making our franchisees and their teams feel safer while instilling confidence in our guests.

Our approach was to meet every morning, recap the news and industry changes, and issue new operational procedures as often as needed. We made sure our franchisees felt supported throughout. The result, Adyani says: “We were very fortunate to increase our sales substantially.”

In this together

All along, we fielded many questions from our franchisees on everything from supply chain to staffing and recruiting to royalty fees and PPP loans, Adyani says. “We provided as much info as we could. We were just really honest.”

It has taken a lot of flexibility on everyone’s part. Before local or state or federal regulations were put in place, sometimes we jumped in and made our own decisions.

“As anxious and stressed out as we all were, we all understood,” says Adyani. “It was happening at home, at work, to our guests, all over the U.S., all over the world.”

We kept our eyes on the competition to see what the big pizza chains were doing, and we were leading the way. We implemented contactless delivery before they did. We added safety seals before they did. “Their teams of 200 people couldn’t provide more expertise. There was no playbook for this. No one knew what to do.”

We don’t know yet what the long-term impact might be on operations. We do know our world has changed, and some of those changes might be permanent. As Adyani notes, once the global threat of COVID-19 has diminished, everyone will be working hard to make sure we don’t face that situation again.

“The global aspect of the spread of coronavirus really brought us together in a way that we don’t speak of very often,” Adyani says. “The human race went into survival mode. As a business, our success was about staying flexible and taking it one day at a time.”

Learn more

If you’d like to find out more about investing in a franchise with Mountain Mike’s, please get in touch. Fill out the form to download our Free Franchise Report. You can also explore more about the brand and the business model on our website.

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