Togos’ New Chief Concept Officer Has Big Plans for the Next-Generation Brand

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Togos’ New Chief Concept Officer Has Big Plans for the Next-Generation Brand
Togos’ New Chief Concept Officer Has Big Plans for the Next-Generation Brand
A longtime Togo’s fan, Glenn Lunde wants to make the best sandwich shop in the industry the best franchise opportunity in the industry, too.

Growing up on the West Coast, Togo’s has always been Glenn Lunde’s favorite sandwich shop. Throughout high school, he’d regularly drop by after class for a quick bite. This was nearly three decades ago, and ever since, he’s never stopped eating at Togo’s. He later converted his wife and kids into super fans, too. And today, he’s proud to say that Togo’s is still the only sandwich shop his family goes to.

Now, as Togo’s new Chief Concept Officer, he’s putting that affinity to good use by leading marketing, brand strategy and concept development for the fast-growing, “West Coast Original” sandwich chain.

“As a Bay Area native, I’ve been a huge Togo’s fan for decades, and I believe the brand has a ton of untapped potential. Togo’s has incredible sandwiches with an incredible legacy, and an even more incredible fan base. The loyalty and enthusiasm of Togo’s customers is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen,” said Lunde. “I am excited to work with the Togo’s franchisees as we implement new ways to simplify our business model and thrill our customers.”

As a Restaurant executive for the past 15 years, Lunde has led restaurant concepts through turnaround situations, market expansions and highly profitable growth. Before joining Togo’s, Glenn served as Chief Concept Officer for Einstein Noah’s Restaurant Group, a 900-unit company where he led menu architecture, culinary innovation, restaurant design and marketing efforts. He also served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Panda Restaurant Group, where he championed Panda’s first TV campaign and helped to elevate the brand’s guest experience from a fast food cafeteria to a fast casual restaurant to become the dominant player in the Asian restaurant category.

“Glenn has a track record of building national franchises into sustainable, profitable operators that achieve long-term success. He will be a valuable leader for our brand repositioning and concept development efforts,” said Tony Gioia, CEO at Togo’s. “It’s my pleasure to welcome Glenn to the Togo’s family.”

In his new role, Lunde will be focused on defining and refining what the Togo’s experience is all about—for both guests and franchisees.

“This is much bigger than marketing—it’s about updating our concept and communicating what Togo’s is all about. What does a customer feel when they enter the restaurant? How does the Togo’s service work for the customer? How do we make it easier for a franchisee to run a Togo’s? And how can we make it a more profitable investment? My task now is finding that win-win for franchisees and our guests,” Lunde said. “How can we make the experience better for the guest and running the restaurant better for franchisees?”

In his new role as the Chief Concept Officer, Lunde’s most important customer is the franchisee. If the franchisee is happy, he says, that means the guests are happy, too. Which is why, in the years ahead, Lunde has made it a top priority to work closely with the Togo’s executive team and franchisees to perfect the brand’s franchise model. By making the business easier to operate, they can boost in-restaurant efficiency and the franchisee’s bottom line. This starts with rolling out a new “pay first” model—one that’s similar to Starbucks and Jimmy John’s. A guest comes into the restaurant, places an order and pays. Then, someone else from the Togo’s team makes the sandwich. Right now, the same person that takes the order assembles the sandwich, asking the guests questions along the way.  

“It all starts with the franchisee. If they have a workable system, it’ll keep the guests happy and coming back for more,” Lunde said. “By evolving our ordering system, we’re allowing our restaurants to make sandwiches faster and more accurately with less labor. The franchisee doesn’t have to have as much staff on the floor, and the guest gets their food faster.”

Having an irresistible core product doesn’t hurt, either. With fresh, high-quality ingredients, big portions and unique signature sandwiches, Togo’s has established a strong fan base that can only be described as cult-like. And now, by introducing a more streamlined business model, customers can continue enjoying the food they’ve always loved—but faster.

“This is the most exciting time to be a part of Togo’s. We’re on the verge of a next generation concept. It’ll be an incredible evolution, and I’m so excited about the direction we’re heading. We make the best sandwiches in the industry, and now, we’re on our way to providing the best franchise opportunity in the industry,” Lunde said.