Franchising is often recognized as a way for entrepreneurs to go into business for themselves, but not by themselves. However, when it comes to providing franchisees with a strong system that has been proven itself to be successful time and time again, not all brands are able to provide the same level of support.
Togo’s, the West Coast’s favorite sandwich concept, is one brand that outshines the competition when it comes to setting its franchisees up for success. Backed by more than 45 years of experience building and growing a large franchise system, the brand has established a strong foundation for its franchisees to rely on when getting their businesses off the ground. And its local owners are capitalizing on that position as an industry leader to expand their reach as entrepreneurs.
One resource that Togo’s provides its franchisees is a network of franchise business consultants. Kathy Martin, for example, has been working with Togo’s for more than 30 years, and is now using her expertise to help guide others through the brand’s franchising process. After starting as a sandwich maker at one of the brand’s original stores, Martin rose through the ranks, taking on positions that involved training employees and franchisees. Today, as a consultant for franchisees across Northern California, it’s her responsibility to ensure that Togo’s standards for excellence are being met and to help franchisees grow.
According to Martin, what enables the brand’s franchisees to grow alongside Togo’s is the fact that it boasts a unique model that stands out to both consumers and business owners in the industry.
“The number one thing that comes to mind is the fact that we’ve never compromised the quality of our food. Even as prices on ingredients have gone up, we’ve never decreased our portion sizes. In fact, we’re getting ready to increase the portions on some of our signature sandwiches,” said Martin. “Togo’s is truly a legacy brand. Over the past four decades, we’ve been able to establish strong relationships with vendors and franchisees. That really resonates with our customers—guests know that they’re going to have a positive experience every time they walk through our doors, which then helps our franchisees boost their bottom lines.”
To continue that trend of increasing sales, Togo’s offers its franchisees a wide variety of competitive advantages that stem from its decades of experience in the industry. That starts from the very beginning of the franchising process, with the brand’s development team helping owners secure a restaurant location and overseeing the construction process. Togo’s also hosts in-store training for its franchisees over the course of four weeks. New teams who come on board go through training to completely familiarized them with the brand’s business model, including customer service and back of the house operations before the doors officially open.
“In order for a relationship between a franchisor and franchisee to be successful, you need to share common goals. There’s no doubt that we have that at Togo’s—it’s clear that the company really cares about helping its franchisees reach their full potential,” said Tony Hardin, a franchisee with Togo’s who also served as the brand’s senior director of company restaurant operations. “Everything that we do is designed with our franchisees’ best interest in mind. And we want to be a resource for the entrepreneurs who join our system. The lines of communication are always open between the corporate and franchise teams, ultimately giving them access to our extensive experience and expertise.”
As Togo’s continues to expand its reach and open up new restaurants in key development markets across the West Coast, the brand’s support system will only get stronger. And with nearly 300 restaurants that are either open or under development that are already thriving by utilizing the resources at their disposal, the brand is poised for rapid growth going forward.
“Supporting our franchisees is our top priority. From the moment they sign their franchise agreement, we’re working to set them up for success so that they can grow with us in the long run,” Martin said. “Because we have over 45 years of experience under our belt, we have systems in place that have been proven to work in a variety of different communities. From our products and inventory techniques to controlling costs and determining how to best market their restaurant, franchisees can rely on us to give them the tools that they need to launch a strong business. And that support extends throughout the entire life of the franchise agreement—we go above and beyond to ensure that our owners are making the most of our leading position in the industry.”