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Shoeleather Journalism in the Digital Age

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Trade magazine names Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop among fastest growing U.S. restaurants

photo of Mr. Pickle's franchisee
To create this list, NRN partnered with Datassential to review sales and unit-count information for the top 750 restaurant chains. Pictured above is Mike Nelson of Mr. Pickle’s. (File Photos/
Nation’s Restaurant News names Mr. Pickle’s in ‘100 Under 100’ program
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, which is headquartered in Scottsdale, has grown to more than 60 locations across Arizona and California and is named among the fastest growing restaurants in the country by Nation’s Restaurant News in its annual ‘100 Under 100’ program.

With this list of the top 100 emerging chains with fewer than 100 locations, Nation’s Restaurant News set out to quantify the emerging brands across the United States.

Mr. Pickle’s, which is now offering franchise opportunities nationwide, came in at No. 70, according to a press release.

To create this list, NRN partnered with Datassential to review sales and unit-count information for the top 750 restaurant chains. The list was cut to only those with 100 locations or fewer at the end of 2022, then sorted by the rate of unit-count growth between 2021 and 2022.

Since 1995, Mr. Pickle’s has been a premier sandwich shop specializing in innovative and craveworthy sandwiches, salads and catering. During its first three decades, thanks to its community culture, incredible recipes, and all its fans, the brand grew from one to more than 50 locations across northern California.

In 2023, Mr. Pickle’s formally expanded to Arizona with the opening of a location in Scottsdale, and now under the leadership of franchise veterans Mike Nelson and Dean Johnson is looking to grow nationwide. Today, the brand has 62 locations.

“In the past six months, we’ve opened four locations in Arizona, with two more to come in 2023, and welcomed new franchise groups in California,” Mr. Nelson said in a prepared statement.

“The brand is unique in that it doesn’t turn to big-box vendors for its ingredients, instead partnering with artisan bakers, regional farms, and ranches to source its products, making every item unique to us. You will not see six-inch and footlong sizing from us, but more specialty breads than uniform options.”

In addition to opening a Scottsdale HQ, Mr. Nelson says the brand has also focused heavily in technology, partnering with DoorDash and investing in Paytronix Systems, Inc., the most advanced digital guest experience platform. Through the partnership, Mr. Pickle’s uses the full Paytronix Platform for its loyalty, order, delivery, mobile, and gift system.

“Through this mechanism, guests are able to get our brick-and-mortar pricing from our website,” Mr. Nelson said. “We’ve also invested heavily in expanding our loyalty program based on customer feedback and evolving technologies as well.”

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