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Our pizza franchise embraced the challenges last year threw at us, and our customers embraced us in return with more business than ever.

Last year was unlike any other — and we mean that in a good way. We ended the fiscal year 2020 with total system sales up 13.3% and same-store sales up 7.3% compared to 2019, which held the previous record.

The year was challenging for everyone in the restaurant industry, but the pizza segment proved to be particularly resilient. Mountain Mike’s sales in 2020 were strong despite dining rooms being closed for most of the year — and that’s a testament to the resilience of our franchisees, the loyalty of our fans and the underlying strength of our carry-out and delivery business.

“We are so proud of our franchisees who responded to every challenge during this most difficult of years,” said Chris Britt, co-CEO/owner of Mountain Mike’s Pizza. “Remarkably, this year we had a handful of franchised restaurants break the $2 million annual sales barrier for the first time in the brand’s history, with the average sales of our top 50% of restaurants achieving close to $1.2 million in annual sales. It really has been breathtaking to see the growth in restaurant count and sales that many of our franchisees have experienced over the past few years.”

Record sales + strong growth

Amidst the pandemic, Mountain Mike’s Pizza opened 15 new restaurants and signed agreements to expand into new Western states, including a 60+ unit development deal in Arizona and Utah. Ed St. Geme, co-CEO/owner of Mountain Mike’s Pizza, added, “despite the many challenges in 2020, from lockdowns and fires and all the related impacts, we were unwavering in our dedication to serving our communities, supporting our franchisees, and providing our guests with the exceptional pizza experience they’ve come to know and love in the safest way possible.”

A variety of factors contributed to Mountain Mike’s sales in 2020, including growing digital orders by more than 120%. Digital sales accounted for 40% of total orders by year’s end. The brand continued advancement of a more flexible, data-driven and digital-focused marketing strategy, and rapid implementation of contactless delivery, tamper-free packaging and other safety protocols at the outset of the pandemic made a big difference with customers.

Added support for franchisees

Last year was tough on everyone, but that didn’t stop Mountain Mike’s franchisees from stepping up for their communities, donating thousands of meals to health care workers and first responders in their area, including hospitals, fire, police, and teachers.

Without our franchisees, we’d be nowhere. It was key to support them during all the challenges we faced, so we suspended royalty and marketing fees for five weeks in March and early April. And at our new Franchise Support Center in Newport Beach, CA, we’re able to offer expanded support in the areas of operations, development and marketing.

“It’s no secret that 2020 was a big year for pizza, but it became our goal early on to set a standard in the segment and lead by example, which meant allowing our values as a brand to guide us in every decision we made,” said Jim Metevier, Mountain Mike’s President and COO. “As a family-focused brand committed to the communities we serve, we went to work finding ways to bring added value and convenience to our guests while doing everything in our power to make them feel safe when choosing Mountain Mike’s Pizza. Equally committed to our franchise partners, we amped up communication to ensure they were informed and had the tools to pivot and continue running their business with confidence.”

Our ongoing partnerships with national sports teams, including our role as the Official Pizza of the San Francisco 49ers, and value-added promotions from Valentine’s Day to New Year’s Eve helped boost sales. Additionally, Mountain Mike’s ramped up third-party delivery integration with new guest incentives and launched a Brand Reputation/Guest Relations Department, which responded to 99% of all guest feedback submitted via email and telephone, leading to stronger guest engagement in all markets.

What’s next in 2021

Ownership and the franchise leadership team have developed new store design prototypes that continue into 2021. Some of these new design elements were introduced in two new Orange County restaurants over the summer, while others will follow throughout 2021 in multiple markets.

“There are many exciting developments for Mountain Mike’s in 2021; the planned launch of our new mobile app and guest loyalty program, active development into additional western states including Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Utah with the help of new franchise partners, our existing franchisees continuing to open more restaurants, and the development and launch of new technologies to provide added support for our franchise partners while enhancing the guest experience,” continued Britt and St. Geme. “With all that our leadership team and brand have to offer, there has never been a better time to join the Mountain Mike’s Pizza family!”

With approximately 25 new Mountain Mike’s Pizza restaurants planned for 2021, our 230-unit pizza franchise is primed to continue expansion throughout the Western U.S. We’re looking for entrepreneurs who want to diversify their franchise portfolios with a popular family pizza concept.