Founded in 1971, Togo’s has been serving up quality sandwiches for more than 40 years and providing a product that has kept customers coming back time and again. The brand’s mission has remained the same since Mike Cobler first started the company:provide a fun place with a quality product, great ingredients and big portions.
More than just a fun place to have a great sandwich, the Togo’s brand places a heavy focus on their people. Making sure that employees are trained well, enjoy what they do and are placed within the proper roles are all extremely important to the company.
“I first began my career working with Jamba Juice,” said Farid Biglari, Senior Director of Operations Services for Togo’s. “They had a similar concept to Togo’s in that there was a heavy focus on providing a quality product to customers. I used to eat at Togo’s all the time and with it being a local brand, it was near to my heart. When I first started working here, I was in charge of company stores, and there were about 12 of them at that time. There were a few changes we needed to make with some of the locations, but my main focus was always on the people. Finding the right managers, and creating an environment for them that was great to work at were both priorities for me, as well as the overall brand.”
In order to continue moving the brand forward while keeping up with current trends, Togo’s recently updated a handful of locations as part of its strategic Togo’s 3.0 initiative. The new initiative has brought a fresh, modern design, a speed-line kitchen system, and updated technology such as self-ordering kiosks, third-party delivery and even state-of-the-art convection ovens which are opening up the brand’s menu to more options.
“Times change and that’s something that we have always recognized,” said Glenn Lunde, Togo’s CEO. “We developed the 3.0 initiative keeping in mind the question, “If Togo’s were a brand new concept today, how would we design it?’” Through the new design and updated technology and equipment, we have been able to keep our food the same while providing the speed and convenience that customers expect today.”
According to Letha Tran, multi-unit franchisee with Togo’s, the company stands out against the competition due to its history and never losing sight of creating a great environment for guests and employees alike.
“I have been eating Togo’s since I was a kid,” said Tran. “I always wanted to open one and I originally had an opportunity to do so while in college, but my mom urged me to stay in school and finish my degree. Five years ago, the opportunity to open a Togo’s resurfaced and I jumped at the chance to start my own business. At first I planned to just have one restaurant, but now I operate five locations and can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Biglari also believes firmly in the products the brand offers to guests in terms of standing out from the competition.
“We stand out because our sandwiches are a lot better quality-wise, our portions are drastically better than other companies and at the end of the day, it’s an honest sandwich,” said Biglari. “That’s what I always thought before I even started working here. It’s an honest sandwich in the sense that you go and get a deli-style sandwich in a fun and casual environment.”
With the current changes taking place through the 3.0 initiative, now is as exciting of a time as ever to become a franchisee with the brand.
“Right now we are truly relaunching the look and feel of the stores,” said Biglari. “Between the new design, technology and equipment and the amazing support that new and existing owners get from the Togo’s team, it truly is a great time to open a location. Our CEO, Glenn Lunde knows every franchise owner, their managers and their history, which makes it more of a family-oriented environment. I think that’s what makes us special.”
According to Tran, the redesign is already a huge hit with new and existing guests as well as employees.
“I really love the new 3.0 branding initiative,” said Tran. “The new modern and clean look has earned us some very positive feedback from customers and my employees love the environment they work in. This new model is also keeping us competitive and relevant, especially with the new kiosks.”
Togo’s leadership team, franchisees and employees are looking forward to the future and all that is still in store for the brand.
“We are on the cusp of growth right now with this new system,” said Lunde. “For potential owners, this is the time to get in and be a part of our changes as opposed to down the road. The big thing for us in the near future is changing the branding at stores everywhere. It’s clear that the redesign has been well-received by all those who have experienced it.”
For Lunde, the best part about the new Togo’s 3.0 is how happy it makes the Togo’s team.
“The first thing you see is that employees are happy which is important, as people want to feel proud about where they work,” said Lunde. “The possibilities for Togo’s are great. Everyone is getting rejuvenated about the brand and we can’t wait for what’s next.”
The current initial investment for Togo’s franchise ranges from $268,000 to $501,500, which includes a $15,000 to $30,000 franchise fee. For more information, visit https://www.togos.com/franchising.