Mici Italian, a Denver-based fast-casual restaurant franchise, is fairly new at the franchising game, but the brand is already making huge strides in terms of expansion. With a few different regions in the works as new Mici markets, one of the first areas solidified for franchising is Phoenix, Arizona.
When it came to the extremely important position of finding an initial franchisee, Mici needed a strong leader with ownership experience who truly knows about the food industry. The brand found it in 20-year restaurant industry veteran Lucas Farnham.
Farnham, who has worked in dining since high school and now operates a number of Black Bear Diner and Smashburger locations, has signed a 30-unit franchise agreement with Mici Italian. He plans to spread the locations across the Phoenix metro area to best reach the highest population of hungry families in search of an easy, wholesome meal.
He has already signed three leases in Gilbert, Queen Creek and Verrado and is currently scouting the area and evaluating the market to decide on future locations. Construction has already begun on the Gilbert space, which should open its doors this spring, he said. Construction on the Queen Creek location is slated to start in May.
“I’m thrilled to not only be one of the first franchisees for the brand but to own all the franchise rights for the Phoenix market,” says Farnham. “It’s a phenomenal restaurant town that will embrace this concept and help it grow.”
Mici Italian CEO Elliot Schiffer knew Farnham from his time as Senior Vice President at Smashburger. At Mici, Schiffer has made huge strides for the company, and Farnham took notice.
“When he left the burger concept for Mici Italian I knew it had to be something special,” Farnham explains. “He is one of the smartest people in the restaurant industry and he left a nationally recognized brand to join Founder Jeff Miceli in his emerging concept, so I knew he had a vision. I consistently kept up with what he was doing in the three years after he left Smashburger to get Mici Italian ready for franchising. As soon as I saw the concept he had perfected, I told him I wanted to be the first franchisee.”
Schiffer is happy to have Farnham on board and at the helm of this big operation.
“Our multi-unit agreements will allow us to catch fire in record time,” he adds. “It’s important for us to target the right franchisees, and our large-scale investors have brought quality insights to the table that will allow us to keep growing the brand responsibility.”