Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, which has a headquarters in the Scottsdale Airpark and has grown to more than 60 locations across Arizona and California, has been named among the Fastest Growing Emerging Restaurants in the United States by Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN)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 which emerging brands truly possessed the most momentum across the United States. Mr. Pickle’s, which is now offering franchise opportunities nationwide, came in at No. 70.

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 crave-worthy 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, it is looking to grow nationwide in the years to come. Currently, the brand has 62 locations and counting.

“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,” says Nelson. “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 6-inch and footlong sizing from us, but more specialty breads than uniform options.”

In addition to opening a headquarter office in Scottsdale and formally expanding to Arizona, Nelson 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,” says Nelson. “We’ve also invested heavily in expanding our loyalty program based on customer feedback and evolving technologies, as well.”

The growth also led the brand to bring on a national vice president of operations, food industry veteran Dave DuJordan, in recent months.

Mr. Pickle’s mascot with CEO Mike Nelson at the newly opened headquarter office in Scottsdale. Courtesy Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shops