When celebrity chef Hugh Mangum, financing veteran Micha Magid and experienced restaurant operator Christos Gourmos partnered to create Mighty Quinn’s, they had a bigger vision in mind than a few New York-based locations. The three brothers set out to create a global brand featuring chef-driven food born from the intersection of the Carolinas and Texas. Putting the details on the forefront, with a menu highlighting 18-hour smoked meats to decadent sides resembling the best of both barbeque meccas, they set out to change the way barbeque is experienced – slow cooked and fast served.
Today, that vision is taking another step forward, as the 15-restaurant brand is now preparing to franchise, taking its defined and successful Urban BBQ restaurant practice to major markets throughout the United States. Investors will be impressed with not only the chef-backed product, but also the engineered buildout, easily described as the Chipotle of barbeque, and unit-level economics that shatter QSR expectations. To understand the Mighty Quinn’s strength of story, one would not have to look much farther than the beginning.
In March of 2013, New York Times food critic Pete Wells walked through the doors of Mighty Quinn’s East Village location. Making his way down the line of meats, which are each curated and slowly smoked for up to 18 hours, Wells selected brisket, pulled pork, spare ribs, a brontosaurus rib and chose between flavorful fixins like pickled chiles and vinegar coleslaw for his sides before finishing his order with burnt end baked beans and sweet potato casserole. He then sat down at a table with his tray filled with food to see what the hype was all about. Shortly after, Mighty Quinn’s was awarded a 2-star rating by the New York Times critic and landed on New York’s “10 Best Restaurants in 2013” list, putting the fan-favorite barbeque joint on the map in a big way.
“That was a big moment for us,” Mangum says. “We were meticulous about our product, design and operations. We wanted to create something bigger than just another barbeque place. The New York Times helped validate our hard work.”
Mighty Quinn’s has quickly differentiated itself within both the fast casual and barbeque segment. While many industry competitors require large footprint restaurants to house the smoker and product, Mighty Quinn’s is able to operate out of a 3,000-square-foot flagship restaurant that can act as a central kitchen for up to three additional restaurants. This provides an unparalleled opportunity for multi-unit operators to get into the brand and grow quickly in a market.
“We’ve created a simple operations model that centers around a slow-cooked, fast-served experience for our guests and gives operators a scalable model,” adds Mighty Quinn’s BBQ Co-Founder Micha Magid. “As fast casual continues to grow as a trend nationwide, our mission is to replicate our highly-acclaimed, crave-worthy barbeque that can be enjoyed either sitting down or on the go on a national scale, without cutting corners during the process.”
The brand got its first taste of expansion in 2016, when international operators from three different countries traveled to New York City to seek out the food for themselves. Shortly after, the Mighty Quinn’s leadership team worked with the international developers to fine-tune the menu and operations to fit each international market’s needs to ensure success overseas. Now, the brand has five extremely successful international locations in Taiwan, The Philippines and Dubai.
“Since our founding, we have trained three separate teams and executed three franchise agreements overseas,” says Gourmos. “To ensure success through the Mighty Quinn’s operating model, we are dedicated as a leadership team to work with franchisees until they are able to replicate the model that we’ve found success with in New York City. We don’t have 150 locations, which means that franchisees will be able to start growing with the brand when it is at the ground-level and work with us as we take it to the next level. We already have a model that is built to succeed and reflects current trends. On top of that, we are a hungry and nimble team that is willing to change when necessary.”
With initial investments for satellite and flagship locations ranging from $581,750 to $1,113,750 and reported average unit-level economics as $2,246,412 to $3,273,192, Mighty Quinn’s is targeting entrepreneurial-minded, process-focused operators to expand the brand in key markets across the U.S. That includes key markets like Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New Jersey that are on the East Coast and near Mighty Quinn’s flagship location. In the next five years, Mighty Quinn’s plans to open 60 stores throughout the country.
“Our franchise offering is strategically designed to provide the opportunity for quick success and expansion through the lens of multi-unit growth,” says Magid. “This scalable approach, paired with the unbeatable taste and convenience that has made our corporate stores so successful, creates an amazing opportunity in the barbeque segment. We can’t wait to build on the success we have seen in New York City and introduce everyone to their new favorite Urban BBQ joint.”