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Our pizza franchise continues to grow thanks to franchisees who believe in the future of the brand

Mountain Mike’s is celebrating the opening of another new pizza franchise location. Davis, California, welcomed a new Mountain Mike’s in September in The Marketplace shopping center. It is one of over 15 new locations opening this year.

The Davis location is owned and operated by a veteran multi-unit Mountain Mike’s owner, Gurjeet Mann, and two of his former store managers. Mann owns eight Mountain Mike’s Pizza locations in California and has incentivized his store managers with potential ownership stakes in future franchises.

The new store represents a trend in our growth in the latter half of 2020: Existing franchisees are excited to open new stores. That not only helps us grow the brand, but it lessens the learning curve for new owners in our franchise system.

Mann’s partners, Hanish Kumar and Sumeet Benipal, already embrace the Mountain Mike’s culture because they’ve been working in it. In Benipal’s case, he was General Manager in Mann’s Concord location for two years. Kumar was General Manager at another of Mann’s locations for two years as well.

Internal growth during COVID

We are always excited to bring new owners into our franchise system, but growth from within signals something important about a brand — and franchisees’ belief and trust in the future of that brand. For veteran franchisees like Mann, who has been with our system for 20 years, to continue growing during a global pandemic truly means a lot.

“To the franchisees who are growing with us, we thank them,” Co-owners and Co-CEOs Chris Britt and Ed St. Geme said. “They are the backbone of Mountain Mike’s Pizza. During this time, a lot of people would pull back from developing a restaurant, but these franchisees took a leadership position and opened up new restaurants to provide that great guest experience for people who are craving Mountain Mike’s Pizza.”

Many in the restaurant industry have struggled during the pandemic, but Mountain Mike’s, like so many in the pizza segment, has thrived. We already had delivery and carryout down pat, so swiveling to make those systems contact-free and therefore safer for guests and employees alike was relatively easy. It means we haven’t had to skip a beat; indeed, we’ve been able to step up and have generated strong sales when other restaurants just couldn’t.

Legacy keeps growing

Mountain Mike’s has been a beloved pizza brand in California since 1978. Our continued brand expansion allows us to continue serving our loyal fans while introducing our spectacular product — “Pizza the Way it Oughta Be” — to a whole new segment of guests.

With limited capacity indoor dining, for now, the Davis location still offers our signature welcoming environment while showcasing our recently updated restaurant design that features an outdoor patio and big-screen TVs throughout.

Like all our Mountain Mike’s locations, the Davis team is putting the safety of guests and staff at the forefront of everything they do. To ensure guests feel confident about their experience, Mountain Mike’s is adhering to the strictest health and safety guidelines set by the state and the CDC, including requiring all employees to wear masks and gloves. Tamper-proof safety seals have also been implemented.

“When we look out to 2021,” Britt says, “I think one of the things that we’re most excited about is how to support our franchisees’ continued growth. We have the largest pipeline amongst our existing franchisees interested in new growth that we’ve seen in our history.

“Our job is to support them, help get those restaurants open, help support those restaurants and continue to help them pursue their dream as franchise owners in the Mountain Mike’s system.”