Mici Handcrafted Italian expands to Phoenix with 30-unit franchise deal

Matt Stanton tapped as chief growth officer, partner to lead development initiatives

Denver-based Mici Handcrafted Italian will open its first locations in the Phoenix market after closing a 30-unit franchise agreement with Lucas Farnham and David Doty. In addition, the fast-casual restaurant chain tapped Matt Stanton, who will join Mici as a partner and chief growth officer, to lead franchise expansion. Stanton leaves WellBiz Brands, a company he joined in 2017 as chief development officer.

Stanton invested early in the brand during a capital raise in 2017. He commented, “As an early investor I had a chance to get to know the Miceli family and have worked with Elliot closely in the past. While this team is highly talented, what really sets us apart are our shared values about doing good for our customers, employees, and franchisees.”

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With the Phoenix deal, the chain is on track for its first expansion outside the state of Colorado. Farnham and Doty are former Black Bear Diner and Smashburger franchisees and will relocate to the Scottsdale neighborhood to lead the Phoenix development efforts.

Farnham, who will be tasked with operations, is excited about the new opportunity. He says, “I’ve been watching the Mici brand evolve over the years. And the combination of the food quality—you have to try the pizza to understand!—and unit level economics made me want to partner with David Doty and bring the brand to the Phoenix market.”

Mici offers a menu of generations-old Italian recipes. Sibling founders Jeff, Michael, and Kim Miceli have taken a guest- and food-centric approach in the offering of pastas, handcrafted pizzas, salads and gelato. The six-unit concept offers dine-in, carryout, catering, and delivery.

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The franchise agreement with Farnham and Doty is a milestone moment for the Italian-style chain. The founders believe the brand is a good fit in the culinary landscape of Phoenix. At home in Colorado, Mici will continue to grow after recently opening its sixth restaurant in Colorado Springs.

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