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Experienced Restaurateur Invests in Shuckin' Shack: Why the restaurant was the perfect opportunity for Michael Mitchell

Shuckin’ Shack’s laid-back seafood concept and passionate, supportive team fit the industry veteran and first-time franchisee’s goals like a glove.

By Jen Hoch
SPONSOREDUpdated 8:08AM 10/01/19

With nearly 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Michael Mitchell is now, officially and for the first time, a restaurant owner. 

In June, Mitchell opened his Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar franchise in Cumming, Georgia—just four and a half miles down the road from where he lives. 

Mitchell got his first restaurant gig at the age of 18. The Dallas native served and bartended at On the Border - Mexican Grill and Cantina while attending the University of Texas at Arlington. Feeling at home in the industry, Mitchell worked in management with a seafood restaurant for six years before being promoted to general manager for Grady’s American Grill. Mitchell then moved to Atlanta to serve as training general manager for Joe’s Crab Shack, providing support for the whole Southeast region, before transitioning to Macaroni Grill for a stint.

After a fulfilling 22 years in restaurant operations, Mitchell was ready for a change of pace. “At the time, my two children were very young, so I decided to get out of operations to be with my family,” he said. 

So, Mitchell switched gears, working in restaurant sales for Edward Don and Company as well as TriMark. After 17 years, and as he and his wife became empty-nesters, Mitchell began hunting for the next big opportunity that would fit his skills and interests—an opportunity he actually found on Facebook.

“I talked to some franchise brokers and decided I was still a restaurant guy,” said Mitchell. “I had been googling restaurants when I came across Shuckin’ Shack on Facebook, believe it or not. I clicked ‘Learn More,’ and within 20 minutes I got a phone call from Shuckin’ Shack Co-Founder, Matt Piccinin. We had a good long talk, and he convinced me to talk to my wife and set up a time to meet him in Wilmington.”

Once the couple traveled to Shuckin’ Shack’s hometown in North Carolina, the rest was history. “We had a five or six-hour meeting with the leadership team,” recalled Mitchell. “When we got back that evening, we were super excited—and decided it was what we wanted to do.”

According to Mitchell, the Shuckin’ Shack team’s genuine enthusiasm and warm support were what drove the concept home for him. “The team has a real passion for it,” he said. “They really do whatever they can to help your business be a success. The have bent over backward to ensure everything goes smoothly—that’s just the kind of company it is.”

The timing was also perfect. As an owner of Shuckin’ Shack in Georgia—and one of the earlier inland locations for the largely coastal brand—Mitchell knew that the Cumming community was craving high-quality seafood in a laid-back atmosphere.

“I love seafood and I knew this would be a great concept to come into the area,” he said. “This is the only full-service seafood restaurant in Cumming and people were clamoring for seafood offerings. I live four and a half miles down the road and I’ve been in the area for 23 years now. I’m very proud to be a Shuckin’ Shack franchisee in Georgia and I’m looking forward for what’s to come.”

Mitchell said that after about a year of working with the team to get his Shuckin’ Shack open, it’s now going swimmingly. “I couldn’t have asked for a smoother startup. I’ve done openings for other brands and I couldn’t be happier with Shuckin’ Shack,” he said. “It’s a great company to be a franchisee with. They’re very supportive and helpful in lots of ways—marketing, social media, pricing, you name it. The CEO, Jonathan, even helped me pick out my location and assisted with the lease.”

Mitchell is filled with gratitude for his newfound role of franchisee and the opportunities he is now able to give to others. 

“I have a great staff,” he said. “My team members feel the passion from me and express it to Shuckin’ Shack’s guests through their work ethic and great customer service.”

Mitchell plans to give back to the community by supporting local schools, law enforcement and first responders through Shuckin’ Shack. “We just sponsored something for FOCO Jeepers, a growing organization that works with children’s hospitals. I’m also looking to support a cystic fibrosis foundation in memory of my niece that passed away from the illness,” he said. “It’s been really cool to see how much the community has backed us. I want to support the community because they have support me.”

After nearly four decades in the restaurant industry, Mitchell has truly found his calling with Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar.

“I’ve done all these sales jobs and have run all these restaurants, but I think this was my ultimate goal, and it’s what was supposed to happen,” he said. “It fits like a glove. It seems like all my life has led up to this.”

The startup costs for a Shuckin’ Shack franchise range from $234,200 to $541,350 and include a $37,500 single-unit franchise fee. For more information on available franchise opportunities, visit