With Digital Shift, Mountain Mike’s Sales Climb
When a trio of private equity firms acquired Mountain Mike’s in April 2017, the Newport Beach, California-based pizza brand already had strong momentum, one of its new owners said, which carried through the year and put Mountain Mike’s on the Franchise Times Top 200+ for the first time.
Mountain Mike’s makes its Top 200+ debut at No. 271 as it joins Franchise Times’ exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises based on systemwide sales. The brand hit $156 million in sales in 2017 across its 188 locations, an 11.4 percent increase from the previous year.
“We took over a very well established, successful legacy brand,” says Chris Britt, whose Britt Capital acquired Mountain Mike’s alongside Jupiter Holdings and Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Britt, now co-CEO, says initially they focused on supporting the growth of top existing franchisees, who opened 18 new locations last year to go with five closings. That number of closings was “massively high” for Mountain Mike's, notes Britt of the 40-year-old brand which he says is known for its restaurants’ longevity.
An initiative Britt says helped drive sales in 2017 was the shift to more digital marketing and a greater focus on ROI. Working with Cardlytics, a company that creates measurement and analytics tools based on purchase data, “We’re able to target ads and offers to folks who fit our demographics,” says Britt. Mountain Mike’s also connected its POS to its paid advertising and paid social media marketing so it could better measure the impact of those efforts. And with new business intelligence tools, the company shares more performance metrics with franchisees to identify ways to boost sales.
“We focused on the bottom 25 percent of franchisees as a way to drive positive same-store sales,” says Britt.
Wrapped up in those efforts has been a continued push toward online ordering, which Britt calls “a big initiative for us” as the brand seeks to go from 14 percent of sales coming through online channels to 40 percent. The company hired a chief digital officer last year and brought on a PR agency to help boost the brand’s visibility and highlight new initiatives.
“We’re focused on building out the toolkit and support for our franchisees,” says Britt, “providing more resources to drive and enhance the guest experience and sales.”
Read more Top 200+ coverage here and in the October issue of Franchise Times.