Mici Handcrafted Italian planning 30 franchise locations in Phoenix

Mici Handcrafted Italian is bringing its family recipes to Arizona.

The local Italian chain announced last week that it will begin franchising out-of-state for the first time, having signed a deal for 30 franchise locations in the Phoenix area that are expected to open over the next seven to eight years.

“For the family, it’s been a long time coming,” said CEO Elliot Schiffer. “It’s always been a dream for the Micelis. So, to realize that dream and at the same time hold on to our Colorado market and corporate stores here is kind of the best of both worlds.”

The chain was founded in 2004 by Miceli siblings Jeff, Michael and Kim. Schiffer joined the company as CEO in 2017.

The Phoenix franchise locations will be owned by Lucas Farnham and David Doty. Farnham is a longtime operator of Black Bear Diner and Smashburger franchises in Colorado Springs and Aurora. Doty, who used to operate Black Bear Diners and Smashburger franchises in Phoenix, has been on Mici’s board of directors since Schiffer joined as CEO.

“Between Lucas’ operations prowess and David’s operations and development in Phoenix, they just seemed like the perfect franchise partners to work with us,” Schiffer said. “If you’re going to do it in a big way and do the entire market then it’s especially important to know they have the capability as a team to execute that vision.”

Schiffer said he expects the first locations to open in Phoenix in the first quarter of 2022.

Mici, which is known for its pizza and pasta, has six corporate locations in Parker, Highlands Ranch, Lafayette, Denver and Colorado Springs. Schiffer said all of the restaurants “are at an all-time high in sales.”

The company is getting ready to open a second Colorado Springs location, for takeout and delivery only, in December.

Mici recently hired Matt Stanton, previously chief development officer for WellBiz Brands, to lead its expansion and growth trajectory as Mici’s chief growth officer.

“We expect over the next couple of months to have a few different groups fly in from around the country to see Mici and look at it as a franchise opportunity,” Schiffer said. “We’re getting a lot of traction on the franchising front and will have another state expansion to announce pretty soon.”

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