Forty-five years ago, a young college student opened the first Togo’s in a small shack near San Jose State University. With meaty portions and only the freshest ingredients, Togo’s won a cult-like following and spread throughout California. Soon enough, Togo’s became the “West Coast Original” for sandwich fanatics who crave fresh artisan breads, premium, hand-sliced meats and freshly-scooped Hass avocados.
Today, Togo’s serves guests from nearly 300 restaurants that are either open or under development in California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Idaho. And now, the brand will continue to leverage its heritage and large, loyal customer following that it has built over the past four decades to fuel continued development in California and throughout the West.
“As an iconic West Coast sandwich franchise established in 1971, we have a strong foothold in California and a rapid brand expansion going on throughout several Western states,” said Mike Norcup, the Vice President of Franchise Sales for Togo’s. “We are an exceptional franchise chain that’s known for our commitment to quality ingredients and better service, and Togo’s has put together a powerful framework to enable our franchise partners to thrive throughout the region.”
To date, Togo’s has a strong presence in California’s Bay Area, as well as Sacramento and Central California. In fact, the brand has developed such a fanatical following in those areas that it’s often equated to the likes of In-N-Out—a West Coast novelty. But according to Norcup, areas like Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, which already have a small-but-mighty Togo’s presence, have even more room for expansion.
“We’re hoping to continue saturating the West Coast—that’s our core market. In the year ahead, we’ll focus on bringing Togo’s to new cities and towns throughout the West to answer the call from our hungry fans and create unparalleled opportunities for new franchisees,” Norcup said. “At Togo’s, our high average unit volumes, low start-up franchise costs, and unmatched corporate support are enabling us to develop in existing markets and new key growth cities at a steady pace.”
In addition to having the benefit of brand awareness, a West Coast target includes the added benefit of proximity to Togo’s existing supply chain, distribution centers and corporate support—making it easier for franchisees to seamlessly get their restaurants up and running.
“When growing, it’s important to be somewhat mindful of how we grow. Being able to support growth from a standpoint of brand awareness and from an operational, distribution, supply and marketing standpoint are all key to growth that’s also sustainable,” said Todd Peterson, the Chief Development Officer for Togo’s. “The industry is littered with companies that hopscotched throughout the country without a plan of how they’re going to support them. We want to steer clear of sporadic development.”
That kind of mindful growth has paid off for Togo’s. The brand has experienced five consecutive years of same-store sales increases. It also boasts one of the strongest sales-to-investment ratios in the sandwich segment. And Peterson has every reason to believe that this is just the beginning for Togo’s expansion throughout the West Coast and, eventually, beyond.
“We want to ensure that we’re successful for in existing markets—like California—before we make the decision to expand and grow beyond. Our California fan base has helped to make Togo’s what it is today, and we’re eager to show even more people than ever before what the Togo’s experience is all about,” Peterson said. “Our brand has never been stronger, and now is a great time to join one of the best franchise opportunities in the sandwich category.”