Since its founding in 1971, Togo’s mission has been to enrich the lives of its customers through food and become their favorite place to eat. Equally dedicated to serving its own team, the brand has likewise remained focused on a goal of becoming a best place to work and the best franchise to own. Achieving each those metrics requires a core commitment to excellence rarely fully achieved by brands. So, Togo’s spent the second half of 2017 strengthening each of those core disciplines in order to position itself for accelerated expansion in the new year.
“In 2017, we strengthened our partnerships across our entire team and redefined our strategic priorities for growth,” said Togo’s President Glenn Lunde. “We are committed in 2018 and beyond to thinking and acting differently to truly stand apart from and above our competition. We have made a very personal commitment to advancing Togo’s core mission in the new year, increasing both sales and profits and continuing to serve our customers at an even higher level.”
Unveiled at the brand’s annual franchise conference in Los Angeles in November, with nearly 200 franchisees, vendors, suppliers and support staff in attendance, Togo’s strategic plans for 2018 were met with excitement by the corporate team and franchisees alike. Through quality assurance in recipe adherence and taste, flawless execution of catering and online orders, renewed focus on training, development, hiring and retention of employees, and a commitment to creating clean, welcoming spaces in each and every restaurant, Togo’s is creating new opportunity for improved sales and profitability growth.
Chief among the brand’s priorities for 2018 is an improved menu, focused on core recipes using better ingredients, larger portions and new signature items like the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad & Wrap, Mediterranean Chicken Salad & Wrap and Ultimate Veggie Wrap. Improvements will be made to tortillas, including the launch of a new spinach tortilla as well as to Togo’s signature hummus and ranch dressing. Existing menu items like the Asian Chicken, Santa Fe Chicken, Chicken Caesar, Bacon Ranch Chicken Wrap and Farmer’s Market will include a 20 percent increase in chicken portion sizes. Franchisees will also see more consistent preparation and building of food items thanks to Togo’s simplified menu, which allows an easier execution of consistent quality and more streamlined training.
In addition to the revamped menu, Togo’s will focus on providing even more seamless convenience to customers through a speed-line assembly process. The speed-line approach has been rolled out in five test stores and will be expanded to additional stores in 2018. The speed-line model helps to streamline customer flow and also allows for stronger integration with offsite ordering through their partnership with online ordering platform OLO, which Togo’s anticipates will help to boost online sales to 10 percent of total sales in 2018. The brand will also be expanding its third-party delivery options through partnerships with DoorDash, EZ Cater, GrubHub, Amazon and Postmates in 2018. Togo’s is also strengthening its supply chain, optimizing logistics like bread delivery, while simultaneously improving best practices in standard operating procedures at the store level.
Technology is also playing a role in Togo’s revamped growth priorities for the coming year. The brand has introduced a new universal point-of-sale (POS) system designed by Squirrel to integrate seamlessly with rewards and loyalty programs and with smartphone apps and mobile UX interfaces. Togo’s loyalty program, too, will be reimagined in 2018 as “Togo’s Rewards.” The new name and new logo are designed to make the program easier to understand, while simultaneously simplifying rewards and points redemption. The program will also help provide valuable data on customer buying habits, further allowing Togo’s to hone in on its core menu items and find additional areas for improvement. Togo’s plans to utilize these platforms to nearly triple its loyalty program membership in 2018.
Finally, the brand is renewing its push for relevance among consumers through a premium store redesign that captures Togo’s unique look, feel and elevated sandwich experience. The new look will be incorporated into Togo’s new 3.0 next generation restaurant model, as well as in new non-traditional locations in places like universities, military bases and airports.
“This strategic plan challenges us to strive for even stronger results in 2018,” said Lunde. “By improving our menu through fresher ingredients and simplified recipes, focusing on the highest level of convenience for our guests and implementing advanced new technology options for offsite sales, delivery and point-of-sale, we are creating an even more compelling positioning for our brand and a far stronger franchise opportunity for many years to come.”