MR MIKES STEAKHOUSE-CASUAL A FAMILY AFFAIR

Sal Naim was born with the entrepreneurial spirit in his bones. His father opened a small restaurant in Edmonton
in 1980, and expanded the family’s ventures to include many different facets of the food service and hospitality industry as Naim was growing up, including nightclubs, cafes, pizzerias and sit-down breakfast restaurants.Today the Bonnyville-based coowner
of MR MIKES Steakhouse- Casual has an expanding business
of his own.
Through their company, 5-Star Restaurant Group Inc., Naim and his brother Mike own MR MIKES stores in Bonnyville and Slave Lake, which have been open for about a year. The venture has been successful so far – the Bonneville
location has already served more than 115,000 guests and Slave Lake has served more than 90,000. So successful that they’re moving quickly to open up 10 more MR MIKES in Northern Alberta.
The brothers’ heritage in Northern Alberta is a key advantage – they know the area, its communities and the needs of its residents like they know their own“There’s a lot of pride in communities like Bonneville and Slave Lake and I’m drawn to that,” Naim explains. “We like that underdog. We like being able to punch above our weight.” There’s something special about serving
a small community, he says. “It’s the people. When you get to meet the people in the small towns, there’s an authenticity and lack of pretentious attitudes. People are just out here to work hard and be real.” Naim chose the MR MIKES brand because, unlike other steakhouses, it’s refreshingly unpretentious. “At MR MIKES you can still have a great steak, but you don’t have to dress up,” says Naim. “You can just come as you are.”
That attitude has resonated with his guests, he says, and has played an important factor in his company’s success in Northern Alberta’s burgeoning resource towns, where workers often arrive to the restaurants wearing their work boots. Not surprisingly, the delicious, no-nonsense Bacon Mikeburger and ribeye steaks are the most popular items on the menu.
In smaller communities, there’s cachet to being a franchise, he says. “People want a full experience – with a franchise I think you’re able to offer so much more in terms of service and consistency,” Naim says. “You can trust
the brand.”
For Naim, one of the greatest rewards of owning a franchise is his increased capacity to give back to the community through his stores. “Our community is a big, big part of our plan. Whenever we establish a new location our intent is to be there for a long time and to be active part of that community,” he says. Naim and his brother have worked with charities and community events including the Kids in the Kitchen Program by the Boys and Girls Club, Frost Fest in Slave Lake, the Bonnyville Health Foundation and a summer hockey camp for the Bonnyville Pontiacs. The Naim brothers and many of their staff volunteer their own time to make all this happen. “To see my staff step up and help out in the community really is a powerful experience,” he says.
www.mrmikes.ca

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