When the economy crashed, Luis Seita wasn’t taking any more chances. He found the right franchise in a recession-resistant industry and dove in.
Working for someone else can be… precarious. Luis Seita realized that the hard way when the economy crashed and the dealership he’d worked for closed. “I worked in the car industry for 10 years when the economy crashed. I was in a position with some savings to open up my own business. I wanted to try something different, and pizza was recession-proof,” he says.
Luis was familiar with Mountain Mike’s because he’d worked at one when he was in high school. In 2009, he and his wife Melissa Seita opened their first restaurant in Brentwood, CA. Today they have three locations in Northern California — two in Brentwood and a third in nearby Discovery Bay. In this Mountain Mike’s Franchise Review, Luis talks about his experience with the brand.
What’s the most satisfying thing about being a Mountain Mike’s Pizza franchise owner?
The most satisfying thing about being a Mountain Mike’s Pizza franchise owner is the limitless ability to grow my business and brand locally. Pizza is a community food and when you have a good product and a savvy business model, business is good.
How do you feel about the direction of the brand?
Over the last two years, the brand has really taken off. Fresh new motivated leadership has really taken our franchise to the next level and made Mountain Mike’s the staple pizza name, and we’re also known for the quality, which you don’t often get with other franchise pizza chains.
What makes Mountain Mike’s Pizza a good investment? Why Mountain Mike’s Pizza as opposed to another brand?
Mountain Mike’s allows you to offer a known, good quality product as opposed to some of the other franchise brands whose pizza is known to taste like cardboard. The investment into Mountain Mike’s builds support systems for marketing, print materials and other resources to drive business.
How does HQ help you? What are some of the most valuable things they do to support you?
Mountain Mike’s HQ helps me by ensuring the quality of the product and the ability to obtain those products is met. Their expertise in branding has also helped drive in new business.
What kind of experience do you need to be successful with Mountain Mike’s Pizza?
You need to be willing to work hard and not be afraid of getting dirty as well as having good leadership skills. Other strong skills you need to have are people skills and sales skills — to engage the community and surrounding areas.
What does your typical day look like?
No two days ever look the same in the pizza business. My days usually start around 5 a.m., when I head to the stores to ensure that they are in tip-top shape. I make sure everything’s clean, stocked, staffed, and oversee any administrative needs. I have three kids, so I try to be home every day by 4 p.m. to get to baseball, soccer or just to get started on helping with homework.
What does your management structure look like?
Each store has a head manager and a PIC (person in charge). I oversee all of the managers and PICs.
Do you interact with other franchisees? What kind of support is available from others who also own Mountain Mike’s Pizza franchises?
I don’t interact very often with other franchises. I interact mostly with my field rep, Mike Kistler, who is a phenomenal resource.
How large do you want to grow your franchise?
I currently have three stores and would love to be able to grow my store ownership with the right geographical opportunity.
Are you able to meet your business goals, or are you on your way to meeting your goals, by owning Mountain Mike’s Pizza?
My goal was to open one Mountain Mike’s Pizza, and I surpassed that goal times three. I am very fortunate to have loved turning our first store around and watching it flourish. It is truly a rewarding experience.
Knowing what you know now, if you were starting out today, would you still become a Mountain Mike’s Pizza franchisee? If so, why?
Absolutely. It has allowed me to have a successful family business that everyone takes pride in.