Mountain Mike’s Pizza is King of the Hill in Newport Beach

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Mountain Mike’s storefront

How popular is pizza?

Statistics show that about 1 in 8 Americans (around 15 percent) eat pizza on a typical day. There are approximately 77,000 pizzerias in the U.S., selling a combined total of more than three billion pies every year.

Pizza is a competitive industry, with multiple brands vying for attention. One of those, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, is based in Newport Beach. The brand has been around for four decades, and recently announced that 2020 was the brand’s best sales year ever, with total system sales up 13.3 percent and same store sales up 7.3 percent over 2019.

This year has started off strong, with first quarter same store sales up 23.4 percent over last year. Mountain Mike’s opened six new restaurants in the quarter and secured 13 new franchise commitments consisting of three multi-unit out-of-state agreements to open restaurants in Utah, Idaho and Colorado. Additional franchise deals are in development in Arizona, Oregon and Nevada.

What’s amazing about these statistics is that this success has come during the pandemic.

Chris Britt

Chris Britt and Ed St. Geme, co-CEOs and owners of Mountain Mike’s Pizza, purchased the brand four years ago. At that time, the duo came up with a game plan for potential downturns in the economy, but they didn’t anticipate a pandemic.

According to Britt, Mountain Mike’s is “a high-quality brand with a high-quality product. We offer a good business model for franchisees. If you have great experiences for guests, those are the restaurants that survive and thrive, and last year helped validate that.”

Plus, said Britt, “it’s comfort food, it’s affordable, it’s available.”

Mountain Mikes currently has more than 230 locations and counting. Britt said Mountain Mike’s expects to have the best year in the brand’s history in terms of the number of new store openings in 2021.

“Our quick-service model has the carryout component, which feeds right into the results,” said Britt. “Our model involves dine-in, carryout and delivery. When we had to shut down our dining rooms, which are 25 percent of our sales, what we have seen is our carryout and delivery business has far exceeded that removal of 25 percent, hence the sales increases overall.”

Britt said that with dining rooms reopening, he sees indoor dining sales returning, but there has been no diminishing of the carryout and delivery business.

Despite being based in Newport Beach, there are no locations of Mountain Mike’s in the city. However, there is one on 17th Street in Costa Mesa, about a stone’s throw – make that a pizza pie throw – from Newport Beach. Their menu boasts a variety of pizzas including create your own combo.

Mountain Mike’s veggie pizza

Pepperoni may be America’s favorite pizza topping, but I always go for the Mount Veggiemore pizza with mushrooms, black olives, bell peppers, artichoke hearts and sliced fresh tomatoes on classic red sauce. Not only is a Mountain Mike’s pizza delicious, but a large pizza lasts me two meals (sometimes three), a good value.

Mountain Mikes has just launched its Mountain Rewards program and revamped mobile app. The new loyalty program offers members the chance to earn personalized rewards as they enjoy a visually enhanced, user-friendly and streamlined mobile ordering experience.

The new mobile app allows users to place and customize orders from Mountain Mike’s full menu complete with product and ingredient images, schedule deliveries or carryout service, order ahead for dine-in, save payment information, send digital gift cards, earn points on purchases, and track and redeem rewards and offers.

For more information including locations and menus, visit www.mountainmikespizza.com.

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