The 80-unit Juice It Up! is following a similar surge, with four units expected to open by the end of the year and at least 13 in development for 2022. The company is expanding in California, Oregon, Texas, New Mexico, and new markets in Arizona. Once without an online ordering program, Juice It Up!’s digital channel now represent 20 percent of sales, fueled by mobile ordering through the loyalty program and third-party delivery.
Unit count is projected to grow between 10–15 percent per year for both Juice It Up! and Mountain Mike’s.
With off-premises sales growing, Mountain Mike’s has been more open to locations with closer to 2,000 square feet. Britt says the company will never be strictly delivery and takeout, but he is confident it's capable of providing the same guest experience with a slightly smaller footprint. The chain will also potentially explore drive-thrus within the next year or two.
Juice It Up! also streamlined its space, moving into 800- to 1,000-square-foot properties and prioritizing efficient carryout and delivery. After the switch, the brand saw same-store sales lift 40 percent.
“We still want to have a place for people to gather and sit down,” Britt says. “But at Juice It Up, it's very much focused on efficiency and streamlining, getting people in and out, being highly facilitative of the new ways people are ordering.”
READ MORE: Mountain Mike's Reports Double-Digit Sales Growth
The one thing that hasn’t changed at Mountain Mike’s is quality of its product, Britt says. This spring the brand expanded its dessert menu with Mini Churrs, which bolstered the dessert category by more than 100 percent.
Britt believes those types of moves are what fundamentally keeps the company winning, alongside dedicated franchisees. It will also help the chain attract more operators in the future.
The co-owner says relationships with franchisees are key in leading restaurant chains of Mountain Mike's and Juice It Up!’s size. Supporting operators with a growth mindset and finding franchisees that don’t merely look at franchising as an investment are two integral parts.
“We now have a much more compelling franchise opportunity there than we did when we acquired the brand, as well,” Britt says. “Our job is to support our franchisees and provide really great opportunities for new folks to come into the system.”
“If they've got the passion, the personability, the interest in getting out in the community, that passion for guest service, those are the most important attributes,” he continues. “Time and time again, Mountain Mike’s and Juice It Up! are seeing multi-brand multi-unit franchisees lead the brands’ paths forward.”
Over the next five years, Mountain Mike’s hopes to double its footprint and reach 500 as it expands eastward.
“Mountain Mike's is a brand that offers a franchise opportunity that is truly national in opportunity,” Britt says. “How long it takes to get there is a bit of an unknown.