Mici Handcrafted Italian Enters Phoenix Market

Operator hires franchising expert to drive rapid expansion.
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In its first expansion outside of Colorado, Denver-based fast-casual chain Mici Handcrafted Italian is making big moves in Arizona.   

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Franchising expert Matt Stanton, who previously held executive leadership positions at Taco Bueno and Smashburger, has been tapped as Chief Growth Officer. Stanton is moving to Scottsdale to oversee Mici. He takes the helm in October.

“We spent a long time just getting this brand ready to grow and we really felt somewhere right before COVID that it was ready to go outside of Colorado,” Mici’s CEO Elliot Schiffer, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It’s been a trying year and a half, but we’ve been planning to get Matt [Stanton] on board so that we can really start kicking off franchising and growing that piece of the business.”

Part of their strategy is to capitalize on real estate turnover opportunities of restaurant sites that have shuttered during the COVID pandemic. Stanton said the Phoenix group already has two pieces of real estate under negotiation and is actively scouting sites.

The 30-unit deal is with Lucas Farnham and Dave Doty, both experienced restaurant franchisers.

Mici is a 17-year-old concept founded by siblings Jeff, Kim, and Michael Micelli. It serves pizza and Italian specialties based on their father Jerry’s family recipes. In addition to dine-in, Mici expects robust pickup and delivery orders to continue to bolster sales.

Suzanne Wright

Suzanne Wright

Suzanne Wright is a former food critic who has eaten her way through 55 countries and all 50 states, filing stories for prestigious digital and print publications. She makes her home in southern Arizona where she hikes off (most) of her calories.
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