Senior Director of Company Restaurant Operations and franchisee Tony Hardin explains why the brand’s best days are in its future.
Tony Hardin is no stranger to the restaurant industry. He first started out as a supervisor for a Taco Bell franchisee who owned nine different restaurants before spending a few years working as a part of the brand’s corporate team. Hardin then decided to take on restaurant franchise ownership himself by investing in a few Wienerschnitzel restaurants. But it wasn’t until he became a Togo’s franchisee that Hardin found his place in the industry.
“When I joined Togo’s franchise system back in 1986, it was clear how much potential the brand had. I knew I wanted to be a part of its system right off the bat because its best days were still in front of it. Now, 20 years later, I still think that holds true. There’s unlimited room for Togo’s to grow,” said Hardin. “We’re the best in class out of any of our competitors in the booming sandwich industry. Our food, customer service and environment are all second to none, which is ultimately why customers keep coming back. As long as we continue to do those things well, we’re untouchable.”
Hardin doesn’t just own a Togo’s sandwich shop in Hollister, California—he’s also the brand’s Senior Director of Company Restaurant Operations. That means that in addition to managing the success of his personal store and looking for the right real estate to open a second, Hardin oversees 13 of the Togo’s corporately owned locations.
Togo’s is equally focused on growing on both the corporate and franchisee levels. As a brand with an established presence and loyal customer following along the West Coast, Togo’s is on a mission to bring its top tier sandwiches to as many communities as possible. In order to make that goal a reality, the brand partners with passionate and dedicated franchisees who know their own local markets inside and out. And Togo’s is there to set its owners up for success every step of the way.
“For any franchise concept to be successful, there needs to be open communication and a strong relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees. That’s exactly what Togo’s offers—every decision we make on the corporate level is designed to help our franchisees, which is really an anomaly in this business. I’ve never worked for a brand that has the kind of passion for its local owners that Togo’s demonstrates on a daily basis,” Hardin said. “The lines of communication are always open at Togo’s. We want our franchisees to let us know when there’s something that can be improved from a corporate standpoint—the brand is willing to listen and make positive changes happen.”
That willingness to work together with its franchisees is what makes Togo’s unique. Despite having a franchise model that has been proven successful time and time again, Togo’s is also constantly working to improve its systems and best practices.
“We want to make our franchise opportunity as attractive to prospective owners as possible, including veterans. Entrepreneurs who have served in the military—including Tony—bring a level of passion and commitment to the table that we want to encourage and hope to see more of in the near future,” said Mike Norcup, vice president of franchise sales for Togo’s. “Togo’s has a long history of working with some of the best franchisees in the business. And between our current leadership team and growing network of owners, there’s no limit to what the Togo’s brand can achieve in the future.”