As Togo’s director of catering and off-site sales Jenny Lynch likes to say, there’s only so much you can do within the four walls of a restaurant. Catering, however, offers restaurants the ability to expand its presence without building more brick-and-mortar locations, and the opportunity to increase sales via larger orders. As Togo’s makes its way into 2017, the California-based sandwich shop is making a few changes, with one being its focus on catering.
Togo’s brought in off-site sales expert, Lynch, who spent eight years helping Panera Brand with its sales, in April 2016 to tackle the brand’s catering program, third-party deliveries and online ordering. Lynch is currently working on giving the brand’s catering efforts a makeover, ensuring that all Togo’s franchisees will have the tools and skills necessary to flawlessly execute catering.
“My main goal is to increase sales for the franchisees,” says Lynch. “The first thing I did was look at our competitors and evaluated the Togo’s system comparatively. To really step up our game, I’m updating our catering menu with new photos and images, making sure our pricing is on point and basically working on enhancing the entire program as a whole. It takes our food outside the restaurant's’ walls to people who want it.”
According to Lynch, the skies the limit when it comes to Togo’s catering efforts. While most restaurants do catering, what Togo’s has a leg up on is a strong, loyal fan base. The West Coast original has been a California-favorite since its founding in 1971 by a young San Jose State college student. As the brand has expanded throughout the west coast, it’s continuously looked for ways to evolve while maintaining the classic recipes and ingredients that Togo’s fans love. As a facet of the brand’s evolution, revamping its catering program is a sure way to continue growing and sharing its product.
“I’m basically creating a catering program within a box and presenting it to the franchisees so that they are prepared to always deliver flawlessly” says Lynch. “Catering has the potential to really boost an individual location’s revenue. We’ve found that the catering orders usually average from $100 to $200. Even right now, I’m working on a catering order from a franchisee that’s upward $20,000. So really, catering is the perfect tool for franchisees who are interested in growing their offsite business.”
As Togo’s catering efforts continue to refine and grow, now, more than ever, is an especially good time for prospective franchisees to consider a partnership with Togo’s. To be amongst the brand’s nearly 300 locations that are open or under development, the franchise fee is $30,000 with start-up costs ranging from $239,700 to $543,200.
To help franchisees with their catering efforts, Togo’s is now signing master agreements with third-party delivery companies to negotiate good rates. And in southern California, Togo’s has also created a community marketing program that initiates and nurtures relationships with local businesses to help obtain Togo’s catering orders for nearby franchisees. This kind of grassroots effort is highly reflective of the type of company Togo’s is, constantly looking for ways to connect on a human, rather than simply digital, level.