Don’t let Michael Mishkanian’s age fool you. He may be only 22, but the newest Togo’s franchisee is already making the brand proud.
Mishkanian caught the franchising bug at an early age after having observed his uncle, a franchise veteran who currently franchises with Round Table Pizza and used to franchise with Arby’s. After graduating from the University of California, Merced in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in management and business economics, Mishkanian decided to continue in the family tradition and go the franchise route.
“I’ve always been around franchises,” Mishkanian said. “My uncle owned and operated franchises and I’ve always seen him in action. He’s always been the businessman and had a big influence in my life. I guess that affected me and made me interested in becoming a business owner.”
Mishkanian was born and raised in San Jose, California, in the same city where Togo’s was first founded in 1971. He grew up knowing the brand, frequently going to Togo’s after school with his friends.
“To me, Togo’s is a recognizable product with generous portions,” he said. “I also wanted to partner with the company because of the value it has for its employees and customers, as well as the healthy products.”
Indeed, health is very important to Mishkanian.
“As a kid, I wasn’t always the most active, but starting in high school and college my friends brought it out in me,” he said. “I started going to the gym more and eating better. I wanted to keep it up and I also just wanted to make other people feel good.”
For these reasons, Togo’s was the way to go in terms of franchising. Mishkanian did not pursue any other franchise brand.
“Togo’s was just the right opportunity at the right time,” he said. “Everything aligned. I didn’t really go for another brand.”
Mishkanian’s franchise, situated on San Jose’s Saratoga Ave., was already an existing location in the Togo’s system. The existing franchisee was retiring; Mishkanian saw an excellent opportunity and went for it. He officially took over the store on February 28, 2019, and he’s currently working to increase his store’s profile in the community. He manages eight part-time employees of various ages.
“Some are more mature, some are younger and I’ve got a couple of high school kids,” he said.
The Togo’s corporate team is thrilled to have Mishkanian as part of the brand’s franchise system. Togo’s Director of Franchise Sales and Real Estate, John Dyer, cited Mishkanian’s background and brand enthusiasm as reasons why he makes for an ideal franchisee.
“As our customer base has aged, Togo’s is constantly working to attract a younger market as guests, and attracting younger-minded franchisees better able to relate to that demographic will help us do that,” Dyer said. “Additionally, the majority of the crew members in our restaurants are millennials; so, a millennial franchisee will be better able to relate to them as well.”
For now, Mishkanian is focused on his one store, but he is definitely open to being a multi-unit operator should the right opportunity present itself. Right now, he plans to take advantage of his restaurant’s proximity to nearby universities.
“I’d like to see if we can provide more jobs to students in this area, especially students who are struggling and need an income,” he said. “There’s also a car dealership nearby, so we can provide healthy food and catering services for them.”
Mishkanian’s advice to prospective Togo’s franchisees is straightforward, “Make sure that you know your numbers because that’s very important,” he said. “When it comes to the franchisee interview process, knowing your numbers goes a long way. Knowing the products and the history and everything you can is very helpful.”
He appreciates the extensive support the brand provides to its franchise system.
“Everyone on the corporate team is super nice and helpful,” Mishkanian said. “There’s always someone willing to assist you, whether it has to do with store signage or dealing with landlords or any other matter. The tech team is always responsive to ticket requests, and President Glenn Lunde is also a great source of support to the franchise system.”
The startup costs for a Togo’s franchise range from $274,000 to $508,700. The franchise fee is $30,000. To learn more about franchising with Togo’s, visit http://www.togos.com/franchising/why-togos/.