Before Farid Biglari was the Senior Director of Operations Services at Togo’s, he was an avid fan of the sandwiches.
“I always ate there,” Biglari said. “And it’s a local brand, which is near and dear to my heart. Togo’s sandwiches are of higher quality than anywhere else and the portions are bigger. I think it’s an honest sandwich. That’s what I’ve always thought, even before working here.”
When he first joined the Togo’s team, Biglari headed up 12 company stores and created a culture that prioritized people over profits. “It’s Togo’s mission to enrich the lives of others. For me, that means making sure my employees and managers are happy where they are,” he said. “I really believe that people quit the boss, not the job. It’s important to create an environment where people are motivated and believe they can move up and expand their role. If you have happy managers and employees, they generate a better experience for guests.”
That philosophy paid off for the stores Biglari oversaw—and the brand’s culture at large. “We now have better managers, cleaner stores and higher sales overall,” he said. “The biggest reason why I started working at Togo's, besides the food, is the people that work here.”
Truly, Togo’s is more of a family than just a franchise. “Everybody knows each other—the CEO knows every franchise owner, what store they operate, their managers, the location’s history and what they do in the community,” said Biglari. “It’s a family-oriented environment, and that’s what makes it special.”
That sense of support begins as soon as a new owner signs on to the brand. Franchisees attend a four-week training to gain experience in everything Togo’s, from running a restaurant to making sandwiches. “Everybody really cares—for every store opening, for every remodel opening, we are out here to support,” said Biglari. “And after that, we support owners as they open their store and get their team members trained up. We stay right there until they’re ready to go on their own.”
As Togo’s brand relaunches this year with new, modern store designs, technology such as ordering kiosks, third-party delivery partnerships with DoorDash and other providers and even state-of-the-art convection ovens that open up the menu to more hot sandwich options, Biglari said that the results so far have been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s a brighter, cleaner, more up-to-date look,” he said. “And it shows our employees that we care. It shows them that we are putting work into creating a better environment for them.”
Togo’s franchisees are also enjoying the updates. “The stores are easier to operate,” said Biglari. “With our new Speed Line model, you save a lot on labor and the cost of goods. Sales are going up. The stores are a lot more visible. Consumers want to stay here longer—we actually have guests coming back almost every day.”
Biglari said that customer feedback on Togo’s refresh has also been awesome to hear. “Guests are happy; they are coming in saying that it looks more inviting,” he said. “They still get the same quality sandwich but they get it a lot faster. The redesign is creating happy franchisees, happy customers and happy employees. It’s an exciting time to join Togo’s.”