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Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, a case study

Mellow Mushroom is a company that grew from humble roots. Born out of the free-wheeling hippy culture of the early 1970’s, the idea was the same then as today: to make the most delicious, craveable slice of pizza on the planet. The Mellow founders dreamed of a world where happiness could be found in the simplest things; like a mouthwatering slice of pizza and an ice cold beer.

That core concept has never changed and due to a successful franchisee business model, a talented leadership team and an idea that resonates all around the country, Mellow Mushroom restaurants have been opening at a frantic pace.

Today there are over 160 locations in 19 states and 20 more locations are expected to open within the next 12 months. As the company is growing through a franchised approach, each Mellow is locally-owned and operated, providing a diverse group of owners – often from outside of the restaurant industry. As an added service to its franchisees who express an interest in finding an experienced General Manager for their locations, Mellow Mushroom turns to TalentServed for help.


As the Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers concept began to expand nationally at a rapid pace, one problem showed up multiple times. Many potential and existing franchisees were highly successful business people, but not experienced restaurateurs and often lacked the expertise necessary to successfully manage a location on their own. As the Mellow Mushroom concept delivers strong sales volume and is highly profitable, the business model does allow for the hiring of an experienced management staff. The question became: how do we help our franchisees identify properly experienced candidates in cities across the country?


The Mellow Mushroom franchisor, Home Grown Industries, turned to TalentServed for help. With a team of recruiters located in several key cities throughout the United States and a reputation for placing high quality General Managers for other full service restaurant groups, TalentServed had both the national infrastructure and expertise necessary to deliver properly experienced candidates. “We’ve evolved to the point where I introduce TalentServed to a franchisee who needs help and I know my franchisee will be taken care of and TalentServed will make us look good”, says David Danowitz, Director of Operations for Mellow Mushroom.


Over the past 5 years of their work together, TalentServed has introduced General Managers and Multi-Unit Managers to dozens of franchisees resulting in hires for many of their restaurants. In addition, TalentServed is often engaged by the corporate franchisor to assist in producing correct candidates for specialized support staff and multi-unit franchise consultant positions. The relationship has grown strong between the two firms leading to an invitation for TalentServed to attend Mellow Mushroom’s franchisee conference in 2013 as a preferred vendor. “It’s great to have a polished and competent recruiting firm we can refer to our franchisees when they need help. The TalentServed team comes through for us time and time again,” concludes Danowitz.