WHY I BOUGHT
With a desire to help the emerging brand evolve and establish itself as a leader in the health food segment, Adrian Lojo and his team recently opened their first location in Wintergarden, FL.
When 24-year-old Adrian Lojo discovered the gourmet toast and juice bar franchise Toastique, he knew it was an opportunity to not only invest in a successful business model but also offer something meaningful to his community at the same time.
That is because Lojo is no stranger to franchising and business ownership. Born in Venezuela, he and his father immigrated to the U.S. 11 years ago so his father could manage McDonald’s locations in Florida. After growing up working in those stores, Lojo owned and operated his own convenience store franchise in Florida.
“My family has been in franchising for many, many years,” said Lojo. “He bought his first McDonald’s franchise about 27 years ago. I personally have been working at his restaurants since I was 12 or 13, flipping burgers. When I got older, I invested in the convenience store concept as one of the brand’s first franchisees. It was exciting, but I was searching for something more aligned with my values. As a second-generation business owner, I am not just searching for financial success, but also fulfillment.”
Teaming up with his business partners Valery Valencia and Yvis Manrique, Lojo began looking for other franchise concepts. “We wanted something that we could feel proud of — something that I would start from scratch myself,” he said. “We weren’t looking to partner with a huge, multi-billion dollar system. If you are searching to exercise your creativity, a smaller franchise system will be way more fun. If you want your hand held throughout the whole process, go with a bigger franchise. We have seen what a franchisor provides you — all tools and resources, but you don’t have much input into innovation. We were searching for just that.”
Through their research, Lojo and his team learned about Toastique and loved what they saw.
“The first thing that everyone sees is how clean and aesthetically pleasing the branding is,” Lojo said. “It calls to you. Let me find out more about this concept. As I dug more into it, I started to understand the potential the brand has in the health-oriented food category. One of its signature product lines, gourmet toast, was created by an actual chef. We are still business people at the end of the day, so it does need to be profitable. The brand’s financials were very strong when we started doing research. When we actually went to D.C. to try the product, we saw that it didn’t just look good — it tasted great as well.”
Over the past 20 years, the health and wellness industry has grown by leaps and bounds, skyrocketing to over $800 billion in 2022. Toastique meets the growing consumer demand for healthy meals with ingredient transparency by serving a unique menu of all-natural gourmet toasts, juices, smoothies and more, designed to make fast food healthy and more accessible.
And thanks to a simple business model, quick ramp-up and comparatively low initial investment starting at $347,250, Toastique franchise owners are well-positioned for strong potential returns. In 2021, amid a global pandemic negatively affecting the restaurant industry, the brand saw average gross sales of $847,710 and an average net profit of $173,192, with all corporate stores operating at 26% EBITDA after just two years on average.
This year, Lojo and his team originally signed for 3 units in Orlando. After opening their first location in Wintergarden, Florida, and seeing massive demand they signed their other two leases, in addition for three more units in Tampa.
“The Orlando team really believes in the brand and is strategic about their growth,” said Toastique CFO Kyle Izett. “The spot where they opened their location is amazing, and they are already beating some of our D.C. stores after just two weeks. They’re in it for the long run and are strategic about where to open. They are focusing on quality, ticket times, getting stores open, marketing -— they wanted to blow it up, and they did.”
Lojo says building this reputation in the community has been the most exciting part of franchising with the brand. “It is about learning what the community wants and finding new ways to meet that demand,” he said. “We are looking into providing a cocktail menu, for example, because we've noticed a lot of customers coming in after work. We just want to match the energy of the community.”
Looking ahead, Lojo says the team’s primary goal is to grow within central Florida and create innovations that can help expand the entire Toastique brand. “We can help elevate the brand as it is emerging as a franchise,” he said. “Because of our background in restaurants and franchises, for example, we had the idea to install the first digital menu board for Toastique. We kept the aesthetics of the store but also brought this new technology into the fold. Now, we are working on packaging that up so other franchisees can do the same thing easily. Our plans are to continue to help the Toastique expand, both in Florida and beyond.”
So, what is the secret to Lojo’s success? He says it's simple: “Be prepared to work long hours and surround yourself with people who are just as excited about the brand as you are. We have an amazing team in place, and that is really the key to making sure customers are satisfied."
Brianna Keefe, Founder and CEO of Toastique, says she is excited to help fellow entrepreneurs like Lojo follow in her footsteps and achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. “This is a great way to open a chic, inviting café featuring healthy, all-natural foods that were as wholesome as they were delicious,” she said. “For those who are passionate about health and wellness, with a desire to serve as an ambassador of healthy eating to their community, the time has never been better to join the Toastique family and get in on the ground floor of a rapidly-growing franchise.”
The Toastique team has identified several target markets primed for development, including Florida, Texas and California.
The initial investment required to start a Toastique franchise ranges from $347,250 – $568,700. For more information on franchising with Toastique, visit https://toastiquefranchising.com/.