Mici Handcrafted Italian has quietly built a quartet of family-friendly eateries across the metro Denver landscape. Starting in 2004, the Miceli family — siblings Jeff, Michael and Kim — has slowly grown the business to locations at 1531 Stout Street downtown, 2373 Central Park Boulevard in Stapleton, 9245 South Broadway in Littleton and 727 Colorado Boulevard. And with more growth in mind, the family just welcomed new partner and CEO Elliot Schiffer to the Mici team.
Schiffer brings his experience from Smashburger, where he worked for the past five years, and Chicago's Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group to Mici. While adding new restaurants is on Schiffer's agenda, he's first looking at how modern customers order and dine. "In the next year or two, we're working on people's access to the product and operational improvements in the restaurants," he explains.
That means he'll be introducing improvements in online and mobile ordering as part of modernization, especially since catering is a big part of Mici's business. "If employers are going to cater pizza and pasta for their employees, they're looking for quality," he notes, adding that the food quality is already high, which is why he can focus on other areas of the business.
In terms of long-term growth, Mici hopes to add two to five restaurants annually over the next few years, primarily targeting Colorado's Front Range. Beyond that, the company will begin to look out of state, but not at the expense of losing the family-run feeling that makes it special. "There's a way to keep it as a family business in terms of priorities and recipes while still growing," Schiffer notes.
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While Mici isn't exactly a hot, ubiquitous brand in Denver, Schiffer says that's part of the company's charm. "That's one of the things that attracted me to the company; they don't spend a lot of money on marketing — and yet they still keep growing every year.
"And the Micelis have family members still making pizza in little wood-burning ovens in the hills outside of Rome," he adds.
Schiffer says that ten to twenty years down the road, he can envision Mici being as widespread as a company like Smashburger, which has taken a fast approach to expansion, growing from a single Denver location in 2007 to more than 350 today. But Mici's growth will be slow and steady, the way the Miceli family has done it for a dozen years.