What Does It Take to Become a Successful Togo’s Franchisee?
What Does It Take to Become a Successful Togo’s Franchisee?

1851 sat down with Togo’s Vice President of Franchise Sales Mike Norcup to talk about finding the right fit

Mike Norcup has been busy this year. July marks his first anniversary as Vice President of Franchise Sales for Togo’s. Looking back over the year, what makes Norcup smile is the thought of all the franchisees and franchisee candidates he’s met along the way. Of all those prospective and current franchisees, a few share certain qualities that make them stand out from the crowd. 1851 asked Norcup to describe those qualities.

“Something that cannot be taught is energy and excitement,” said Norcup. “We can teach you how to run a successful franchise, but we can’t teach you energy. That kind of personality and the willingness to serve is essential. If you bring that to the table, along with a passion for our product, we can help take care of the rest.”

Exemplified by 14-location owners Jeff and Tim Cohen, each franchisee comes to understand that Togo’s corporate team follows “The Power of We” in supporting their team:

We are the employer of choice for restaurant employees

We are the restaurant of choice for sandwich lovers

We are the preferred partner for restaurant vendors

We are the franchisor of choice for franchisees

According to Norcup, successful franchisees also closely follow the franchise’s operational system. “Show up and work the system,” he said. “It’s a service business. If you treat people the right way and go that extra mile to know your customers, you will see them coming back. That’s one of the most important things: repeat customers.

1851 asked Norcup to differentiate a good Togo’s owner from a great Togo’s owner.

“Right now a big part of going from good to great is taking advantage of offsite sales in catering and delivery opportunities. Catering and delivery helps you build the business outside of your four walls. It ends up being a business within your business, and the franchisees that are taking advantage of those things are expanding and finding some great success.”

Since franchisees have to opt in to receiving the support structure for delivery and catering opportunities, they have options to choose from in how to run their business. But Togo’s President Glenn Lunde emphasizes offsite sales as a new and efficient path to franchisee success.

“Customers are no longer considering their lunch options in terms of the few restaurants they see on their way to and from work,” said Lunde. “They are looking online at everything available for pick-up and delivery. We will keep increasing our share of sales by increasing our mobile visibility.”

Norcup concludes his observations of the last year to note that successful franchisees also invest in employees and training.

“Training is vital. Both owner training and employee training. The top franchisees consistently say that they have the best employees. There are good employees out there. If you invest in them and treat them right, that’s going to go a long way.”