As growth continues each year, which markets are you paying the most attention to?
We are continuing to fill in areas of central and Northern California, the birthplace of Mountain Mike’s Pizza. We’re also actively expanding in Southern California with new locations steadily opening throughout Orange County, San Diego, and the Inland Empire. We have plans in place to grow further in Oregon and Utah where we currently have single units as well as expand into new western states including Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado for new market entry this year.
What separates Mountain Mike’s from other pizza brands?
Well, it’s important to state that the pizza industry is a very crowded, oversaturated space. We’re aware that knowing who you are, who you serve, and what makes you stand out is key to finding success. As a legacy brand with over 40 years under our belt, we don’t gravitate to what’s trendy; we understand our guests’ need for quality ingredients like our famous, crispy, curly pepperoni, and the demand for a dining environment that caters to the unique needs of families of all sizes and ages. From our big screen TVs throughout the restaurant, kids’ activity areas with arcade games, and wine and beer for the grownups, there is something to keep everyone happy and entertained.
At 20 inches, our mountain-sized pizzas are the largest pizzas offered within the top-20 pizza chains in the nation. As a brand centered on meeting the needs of families, this is something we’re very proud of and it’s one of the many factors differentiating us from other pizza concepts. Additionally, our dine-in experience offers the environment that you grew up with; guests love coming to our modernized restaurants to enjoy delicious and high-quality pizza with a side of nostalgia. The larger chains within the segment focus solely on takeout and delivery, and we offer so much more than that. Mountain Mike’s is a place where memories are made while sharing a great pizza. Since the brand was founded over 40 years ago, our mission has been to bring families, sports fans and communities together to dine, share and celebrate; this is still what we are all about.
How have partnerships with third-party delivery services impacted off-premise sales in the past year?
Through our partnerships with Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub, we have found that each complements our current business. Each platform has a unique customer base that we’re able to tap into and attract new guests that might not have been familiar with Mountain Mike’s Pizza before.
As the official sponsor of the San Francisco 49ers, how did the team’s run to the Super Bowl affect business?
As the Official Pizza of the San Francisco 49ers, Mountain Mike’s took this prestigious title to new heights. There was a ton of energy and excitement as the 49ers continued to advance, and we could really feel that at the store level. Both being “Best in the West” and “Born out of the Bay,” it’s been a natural and mutually beneficial partnership because nothing goes better together than pizza and football. To continue building upon the brand’s popularity among sports fans, we launched a lot of fun activations throughout the season including door busting deals like 49 percent off whenever the 49ers scored as well as our “Kick It with Mountain Mike’s” sweepstakes giving one lucky fan the chance to kick a field goal worth $49,000 during halftime at a 49ers game in November. We also held a fun social media contest with one fan winning a Mountain Mike’s catered Super Bowl party for 20 friends. We’re looking forward to another great season as their official pizza partner.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the pizza industry right now, and how are you approaching it?
The biggest challenge we’re facing is that everyone wants to be everything to everyone. When a brand is focusing on too many things, they often take short cuts on quality so they can compete on price. Well I can tell you right now, at Mountain Mike’s Pizza, we aren’t going to do that. As a legacy brand, we know the importance of staying power, and for over 40 years we have never sacrificed our products or the guest experience for the short term. We are known for our crispy, curly pepperoni, Mountain-sized pizzas and dough made fresh daily, and the quality of Mountain Mike’s product elevates us to a more premium experience that our guests expect and appreciate. We’re holding on tight to the attributes of our brand that our customers love and have contributed greatly to our success.
You were recently named to Entrepreneur magazine’s 2020 Franchise 500 List, appearing as No. 4 in the pizza segment. What does that accomplishment say about how far Mountain Mike’s Pizza has come in the past few years?
We were very proud to secure the fourth spot on Entrepreneurs impressive list of top pizza franchise companies. As a brand that’s been around for over 41 years, it’s almost as if we’ve been pizza’s “Best Kept Secret” until now. When the brand was acquired a few years ago, our new leadership team worked diligently to build a franchise support center and corporate team that is as passionate about the brand as its fans are. We’ve been more vocal about what makes Mountain Mike’s Pizza such a beloved brand and our journey has just begun. We will continue to climb the proverbial mountain to be the best of the best! But there are no victory laps being made yet. This prestigious ranking, among the many other rankings we’ve recently been awarded, are just recognition of our efforts to build solid partnerships with our franchisees, who are our number one customers. We know that our relationship with our franchisees will trickle down to the Mountain Mike’s guest and when everyone’s happy, we all win together. At Mountain Mike’s Pizza, we will continue to look for ways to strengthen those relationships in the future so our brand can continue to succeed and grow in the highly competitive pizza segment.