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Micha MagidMicha Magid is the Co-founder of Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, a fast casual barbeque with 13 locations. He oversees finance and marketing strategies alongside the brand’s PR and social media teams. Micha began his career on Wall Street performing mergers and acquisitions for J.P. Morgan before investing in Mighty Quinn’s.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Micha Magid describes Mighty Quinn’s BBQ’s unique dining experience
  • How Micha co-founded and expanded Mighty Quinn’s
  • Micha’s key to success in operating multiple restaurant locations
  • Mighty Quinn’s plans for further expansion
  • Micha’s ideal franchise candidate

In this episode…

In today’s episode of the SpotOn Series, join Chad Franzen of Rise25 as he sits down with Micha Magid, Co-founder of Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, to talk about franchising his restaurant brand. Micha shares how he co-founded and expanded Mighty Quinn’s, his key to success in operating multiple locations, and his ideal franchisees.

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SpotOn:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:04  

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show powered by Rise25 Media. We’ve featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world

Chad Franzen  0:20  

Chad Franzen here co host for the show where we feature top restaurant tours, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn Series SpotOn has the best in class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant where they combine marketing software and payments all in one. They’ve served everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and subway to small mom and pop restaurants. To learn more, go to spoton.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25 We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build a great relationship with clients referral partners and thought leaders in your space there’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to rise25media.com or email us at [email protected] Micha Magid is co founder and CO CEO of Mighty Quinn’s BBQ he started his career on Wall Street doing mergers and acquisitions for JP Morgan. He made an investment in Mighty Quinn’s in 2012, and it turned into a full time job. Mighty Quinn’s currently has eight locations for in New York, three in New Jersey and one in Dubai. along with five other arena locations. Bulk ventures recently invested in Mighty Quinn’s and now the brand is ready to expand nationally and expects to end 2022 with 19 locations in various formats. Micha, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Micha Magid  1:42  

Great. Thanks for having me.

Chad Franzen  1:43  

Hey, so tell me a little bit about Mighty Quinn’s maybe a brick and mortar location, what can a customer expect when they go there?

Micha Magid  1:50  

Sure. So Mighty Quinn’s is really one of the first Restaurant Brands to offer an authentic barbecue experience in a fast casual format. So if you think about the efficiency of how you get served, when you go to for example, like the Chipotle, we basically use that to replicate in for barbecue format. And, you know, unlike a lot of concepts that I think are really trying to kind of copy that kind of cafeteria style service for us, it was very natural to the food that we’re serving. Because if you think about barbecue, and you know, meats are being smoked for in some cases a full day, all that food is ready to go and ready to be served. So it kind of naturally lends itself to a service style that that’s as casual as opposed to coming from a kitchen and more of a tablecloth setting.

Chad Franzen  2:39  

So I’ve never been to Mighty Quinn’s, but I’ve been to like a Chipotle type place. You walk in there and you go to the line and then you What do you see? Sure, so

Micha Magid  2:49  

you’re greeted by the meat cutter. So basically the the ordering is simplified by meat sides and drinks. So your first interaction will be with our meat cutter, whatever you order a slice right in front of view, whether it’s you know, pounds of food for family or big group or just single servings for individual meal, then you go over to a side station where we have, you know, all of our hot, hot and cold sides. If you do something like fries or wings, all that fried fresh to order. And then you know make your way over to to the drink section for you know, craft beer or soda.

Chad Franzen  3:19  

I looked at your website, the pictures on there look fantastic. What are some of the options that you could get, you know, when you go to the meat cutter?

Micha Magid  3:26  

Sure. So brisket is what really put us on the map. You know, when Hugh our chef and pitmaster co founder started doing this in Brooklyn, back in 2011, it was really two menu items. It was pulled pork and brisket. And you know, you know, lines formed, you know, in some cases, you know, 3040 minutes long for really just those two items. So that’s what put us on the map. And I think even today are our biggest sellers from a product mix standpoint.

Chad Franzen  3:52  

So Mighty Quinn’s started in a tent at a weekend market in Brooklyn.

Micha Magid  3:57  

Yeah, that’s right. So we weren’t one of these, you know, food trucks or restaurants stores, it was truly a mobile pit on the back of a pickup truck. And we were doing service out of you know, a 10 by 10 tent at at Smorgasburg, which was kind of this, you know, culinary food discovery events on the weekends, on the waterfront in Brooklyn,

Chad Franzen  4:16  

and then headed headed to kind of grow from there.

Micha Magid  4:19  

Sure. So, you know, our, I think the, the risk receptivity by by New Yorkers for authentic barbecue, which I think didn’t really exist at the time in the city was was tremendous. And that was really our proof of concept. So we use that to really validate, you know, what we thought was that, you know, this amazing cuisine category was missing from what’s supposed to be you know, one of the most diverse culinary capitals of the capitals of the world. And we basically turn this into a brick and mortar operation in the East Village. So we can, you know, open seven days a week and obviously expand the menu. You know, it was myself, my partner, Chris Kormos, and then Hugh at the time.

Chad Franzen  4:57  

So tell me a little bit more about your history that with mighty Quinn’s, as I mentioned, you were working on Wall Street. How did you kind of get involved and what happened from there?

Micha Magid  5:06  

Sure, it’s a little bit of a family story. So Hugh is my step brother. And Chris is my brother in law. And Chris has been in the restaurant business, basically his whole career. So what happened was, you know, we thought that this idea had legs, as I mentioned, just from the, you know, the long lines in Brooklyn. And, you know, at the time, you know, Chris came to the table with restaurant experience, he was, you know, obviously, the man on the food side. And, you know, I kind of brought more of a finance background to the, to the mix. So we put, you know, we set up shop in the East Village. And, you know, three months after opening, we found ourselves on the cover of The New York Times dining section. And, you know, really, the whole world changed for us after that,

Chad Franzen  5:43  

wow, what what attracted the New York Times to you.

Micha Magid  5:47  

So, you know, unbeknownst to us at the time, they were there to rate us. So we actually got a two and a half star rating, from Pete wells. And, you know, the accolades in 2013, which is, which is our first full year of operations were tremendous, no New York Times added us to their top 10 Restaurant openings in the city, for 2013. To get actually give us the number one spot for best new restaurant in the city for that year. I mean, so just stuff you couldn’t dream of, you know, when you’re opening up a new restaurant, it kind of all, all fell in our lap. And I think it really spoke to, you know, the beauty of what we were doing, you know, in that kitchen, you know, slow smoking meats over nothing, but you know, oak, air, oak, apple and cherry wood, it was kind of a unique thing, it was simple. And if you think about the way that restaurant menus have become very streamlined, like we were, I think, a little ahead of that, ahead of that, that trend, by having a very simplified menu at the time, we had about, you know, seven meats, you know, seven sides and drinks. And that was that was really it.

Chad Franzen  6:46  

As someone who was working on Wall Street, you had a you had a good job, what made this opportunity in the restaurant industry appealing, appealing enough to leave?

Micha Magid  6:54  

Sure. So I spent time on Wall Street, both like in an advisory capacity, and then on the investment side. And, you know, we really invested across many different industries. And the one thing that always attracted us to opportunities with scalability, you know, it’s great to have successful economics in a product. But are you able to achieve, you know, great ROI, as you scale that into a to a larger size? And often the answer to that question is no. But with Mighty Quinn’s, we saw just a tremendous whitespace opportunity. This, you know, this lack of great barbecue in the city was something that we saw that really existed across, you know, urban and even suburban locations all over the country. So, you know, that really checked off a lot of the boxes when we’re kind of looking at, you know, Where can this brand go? What’s the opportunity set? And, you know, can we do this in a profitable and sustainable way? And I think the answer to all those questions were Yes.

Chad Franzen  7:52  

So where you may have mentioned that, where was your first brick and mortar location? And what were the early days there? Like?

Micha Magid  7:57  

Sure, yeah, it was in the East Village, we’re still there. The corner of Second Avenue in East Sixth Street, we have a 6000 pound pit sitting right there in the dining room. And, you know, the early days, like, right when we opened, I think people knew us from Brooklyn. So we had kind of a cool local following. And then that, you know, that was December of 2012. And then, you know, March of 2013, that’s when that New York Times story came out. And I think that’s what really attracted, you know, more of the city to come check us out. You know, after that, it was one of those situations where, you know, we had, you know, lines down the block, we were basically selling out a food every night at eight o’clock, it was it was a great problem to have. And, you know, that that kind of set the stage for our growth, you know, and it brought us to where we are today.

Chad Franzen  8:39  

And you didn’t know, The New York Times was coming? No, no, we

Micha Magid  8:43  

didn’t, we absolutely didn’t, you didn’t know they did, you know, they were there at the time. We knew that there. We knew there was something that was going to be written because they requested that their photographer come by to take some pictures, without any kind of, you know, backstory to that that appointment. So we knew something was coming, but we never would have thought it was going to be that.

Chad Franzen  9:03  

Wow. So when did you know that you were ready to expand you know, beyond that location?

Micha Magid  9:10  

Well, you can have the the eureka moment, I think, Louise, for me, I was sitting at my desk, and I got a text from Hugh, I think with the link to the story on the times. And I just kind of remember scanning through it and being a little bit dumbfounded when I saw kind of like, you know, the picture and the just the length of the story. It wasn’t like a blurb. It was like a full on, you know, cover story. So that was I think, you know, the spark that I think for all of us that we said, Okay, wow, like, this is some pretty amazing recognition that we got off the bat. You know, where can we take this? And I think this that story then, you know, allowed us to have much more, you know, substantive conversations with landlords to take on, you know, not to come in new brand. And that allowed us to open you know, down on Wall Street and we came, you know, the Upper East Side. We also you know, jumped the river and opened up in the New Jersey. And then from there, we just seen the scalability of what we were doing. That’s where we decided to start franchising,

Chad Franzen  10:07  

what would you say is the key to having success, you know, being you were successful in one location, what’s the key to having success then in multiple locations.

Micha Magid  10:18  

So it’s, it’s, it’s something that’s probably very common when you talk to any multi unit operator, and it’s the word you always hear, which is consistency. We think about consistency a little bit differently, of course, you know, we want the food and the service to be, you know, to Mighty Quinn’s brand standard, but when you think about the format of our restaurants, they all don’t have to comply to, you know, one cookie cutter box, you know, we’ll have you know, 600 square foot, you know, no dining room location down on Wall Street, we’re about to open one in Hoboken that is basically, you know, a POS first ordering experience, like you do kind of like a Shake Shack. So we’re definitely molding the format, as we see the market evolve. So while the food and the service should always stay the same. Going forward, I definitely think you’ll see us in new formats and new in new areas. And I think that’s, that’s what excites us being able to kind of take the core tenants of the brand and adapt them to different real estate.

Chad Franzen  11:15  

How did the location in Dubai come about

Micha Magid  11:18  

to Dubai were approached by a hospitality family out of Saudi, and they wanted to basically have they always traveled to New York for business and pleasure and experience Mighty Quinn’s better Brookfield location and really thought that nothing like this existed, you know, in Dubai, where they were opening up a couple other restaurants. So, you know, at the time for us, this is this is probably five years ago, you know, we thought it would be a cool opportunity to see if we were able to kind of replicate and teach our process. Obviously, Dubai being very far if we could do it in Dubai, and on the other side of the planet, we could probably do it, you know, in the next state. Right. So for us, it was a little bit of a test case. And, you know, we definitely had a lot of things that we learned from that experience. It was also the foundation for our training program. So you know, it was really just a matter of us taking a little leap of faith, we knew that if it didn’t work out, there wasn’t really tremendous downside for our brand. You know, here in New York. So for us, it was kind of like an all upside opportunity.

Chad Franzen  12:17  

Where are some I mentioned you had five arena location where Reno locations? Were some of those?

Micha Magid  12:22  

Sure, yeah, we’ve won in Yankee Stadium, to and Madison Square Garden. And then we just recently opened in the Prudential Center in Jersey, and the newly opened UBS Arena on Long Island. What are

Chad Franzen  12:34  

some of the benefits of having, you know, those types of visible arena locations?

Micha Magid  12:39  

Yeah, so obviously, you know, they, when you have, you know, 20,000 ticketed event, I mean, just the eyeballs on your brand for people that may have never heard of us is great marketing. In addition, we’re able to offer a very streamlined menus. So just, you know, the ease of operations is very different, versus a traditional restaurant. And then I think like, as these arenas have really upped their game, you know, the Entertainment has always been top notch. But I think people got tired of like the burgers and chicken tenders offering at some of these arenas. So they really brought in local brands. And now you have a true experience, right? You have great entertainment, you have an amazing food experience, the hospitality side is there. You don’t feel like you’re eating frozen reheated food. So I feel like being part of that evolution in, you know, in personal entertainment has been great.

Chad Franzen  13:23  

How has COVID affected or changed things for you guys?

Micha Magid  13:28  

COVID I think, you know, for us, just like the rest of the restaurant industry, it was it was very much a shock to the system. I think, as we kind of are now almost no tears in the rearview mirror. The wall, obviously, you know, the Koch COVID has been tragic. And it’s it has actually caused us, you know, some some meaningful changes in our organization. It’s really helped us streamline everything we do, we really kind of burned everything down to the foundation, and really figured out, you know, how do we maximize, you know, every job function, every role, every project with maximum efficiency. And that allowed us to really figure out areas where we were spending money or areas where we were spending time, that really wasn’t, you know, helping the organization grow wasn’t it wasn’t making the entity worth more or do better. So in that respect, it was somewhat of a cleansing for us. And I think for all the restaurant groups that are fortunate to have made it through this out of this thing. I think a lot of people share that sentiment, you know, the transition to digital ordering is something that’s obviously already been in play. We saw tremendous growth even before COVID. So this just kind of expedited that by a few years. And I think we were kind of we’re now seeing a you know, digital to in store mix. probably similar to what we would have seen maybe 2022 2023. Anyway, it just brought the curve up little sleeper.

Chad Franzen  14:49  

So you have some pretty big plans for expansion in the coming year. Tell me about those and what brought those on?

Micha Magid  14:55  

Yeah, so 2022 is going to be an exciting year we have a lot of franchise have partners that have signed up with us that are really ready to open. So we’ll have one in Forest Hills, one a union. And then we’ll have down south in Tampa Bay, we’re opening up a unit that will actually be our first drive thru location. And then after that, Columbus, Maryland, will be probably late summer. And, you know, a couple other expansion opportunities. But yeah, so we’ll, we’ll have our hands busy with both corporate and franchise openings next year.

Chad Franzen  15:28  

Are you guys still? Are you guys looking for potential franchisees still?

Micha Magid  15:32  

Yeah, absolutely. And we think there’s tremendous opportunity. You know, ideally, we’re focused kind of on the northeast, corridor down through Florida, we want to be, you know, near our operations, as we kind of scale outward and kind of concentric circles. So definitely, there’s there’s tremendous opportunities in these huge major metropolitan areas, you know, between here in Florida. So our conversations with franchisees continue, we’re definitely looking to sign up more players. And then you

Chad Franzen  15:59  

guys also have products available and retail outlets in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut, is that right?

Micha Magid  16:04  

Yeah. So you know, as part of COVID, we started, you know, we’ve always done, we’ve always done frozen mailorder through gold belly. And then we decided to, you know, that we’ve always had requests for our sauce, our sauce to be, you know, bottled and sold at retail, so we kind of pushed that forward. So, you know, we kick this off probably in the spring. And we’re currently in about 60 grocery stores, we have bottled hot sauce, barbecue sauce, and to dry rubs. And hopefully in the next coming months, we’ll be you know, adding to that product mix.

Chad Franzen  16:35  

And by the way, talking about franchisees, what do you look for kind of when you’re looking for a franchisee?

Micha Magid  16:41  

Sure, like the ideal candidate is someone who comes to us with, you know, hospitality or restaurant experience, we were very capable of teaching the mighty Prince system, but someone who already has that pedigree that restaurant experience, it’s just it’s, it starts them off at such a higher probability of success. So there’s that, you know, being when we open up a new territories, we always we don’t view ourselves as like the mighty Quinn’s of New York opening in you know, xy and z, we definitely want to be the local spot for that neighborhood. So one of the things that’s great about franchising is you have a local owner operator who’s part of the community, you know, it’s not a higher GM who’s, you know, reporting to corporate, you know, states away. So that’s a very different dynamic. So, for us, you know, the restaurant experience, you know, local, local market knowledge is huge. And then and, you know, through the obviously, that, you know, the capital to open up location and grow with us is important.

Chad Franzen  17:35  

What has been the most gratifying thing or most fulfilling for you, since shifting kind of from your wall street jobs to more, you know, full time restaurant?

Micha Magid  17:44  

Sure, well, you know, it’s definitely a learning experience. And on the investment side, right, you know, the market opens and closes every day. So you know, you’re either you’re either as a, you know, a genius or an idiot at four o’clock every day, right, depending on how your portfolio did. You know, with a brand, obviously, it’s a longer lead time, it’s a slower process. So for me, it’s definitely been a part of a learning experience, you know, one bad day doesn’t doesn’t really dictate the course of where this brand is going. So I think we’ve been very, you know, just learning to be more methodical. And, you know, invest in the foundation of where we see growth headed. That’s been a little bit, I think of a different mindset versus, you know, on the investing side, when you’re dealing with public markets.

Chad Franzen  18:29  

Have there been any mistakes in the since you’ve been in the restaurant industry that you guys have made, maybe made that big learning experiences?

Micha Magid  18:37  

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve probably made them all. And, you know, it’s fortunate that we did that prior to franchising. And I think that, you know, when you create a great system that has, you know, robustness and is resilient, you only get there through, you know, a trial and error process where you where you, unfortunately, do make mistakes, you know, you can you don’t win a chess match without sacrificing any players. And, you know, we’ve, we’ve gone down this road, and, you know, through COVID, we had two more locations that we permanently closed. And, you know, as we grew quickly, early on, you know, we definitely kind of worked behind the ball a little bit in terms of making sure that every elements of the business was consistent as we wanted. And so just going, going through that process was definitely a learning, learning experience for everyone on the team. But I think like, when you go through that, that just makes the team and the organization stronger when you get to the other side. And I feel like that’s where we’re at today.

Chad Franzen  19:33  

We’re big fans of publicly acknowledging people who have been influential for you, or there’s some people in the industry that you respect and maybe you’ve looked to, for advice or learn from,

Micha Magid  19:44  

you know, I’d rather not name names we have we have a circle of people around us. We have a great board of directors that with very deep restaurant industry experience and we value them tremendously. And I think just as an organization, we obviously look to larger multi unit brands. You You know, looking how they scaled, how they’ve created company culture, you know, how they’ve pursued their transformation, you know, to the digital ecosphere. You know, we were definitely a student when it comes to that. So I think a combination of just having, you know, being surrounded by, you know, a very dense restaurant market where we have the opportunity to observe a lot. And then having just a great team around our table in terms of like, you know, board and advisory roles has been tremendous. Hey,

Chad Franzen  20:27  

it’s been great talking to you today. Misha, where can people find out more about Mighty Quinn’s? Or maybe even more about franchise opportunities? Yeah, absolutely.

Micha Magid  20:27  

Well, if you want to get hungry, I will definitely check out our Instagram page. There’s obviously a lot of food shots on that it’s at Mighty Quinn’s BBQ. And then if you go to our website, there’s actually a franchise link that will take you to our franchise development page. There’s a lot of information on there. If someone wants to kind of take a look read through that. They can also submit an inquiry which comes to us directly and then we’ll get back in touch with them.

Chad Franzen  20:56  

Yeah, you will get hungry. I was looking I was just looking at your with the pictures of the menu on your website. And it’s not even 10 o’clock in the morning here and I’m starved after looking at it. But hey, it’s been great talking to you today, Mitch, I really appreciate your time. Thanks so much. Hey, thanks so long, everybody.

Outro  21:12  

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