How Good is Our Training and Support?
Togo’s offers extensive training and robust ongoing support
As you research franchise opportunities, you should take the time to talk to existing franchisees. One thing you should always ask them is how well they are supported by their franchisor: Did they get thorough training before they launched their businesses? How did they feel about their grand opening? If they have been in business for a while, do they still have good communication and plenty of support from headquarters?
Some young franchise systems struggle to support their franchisees. Larger franchise systems can grow so much that the management team becomes distant from franchisees. Togo’s occupies a sweet spot. We have been in business since 1971, and we remain a tight-knit organization. We have had time to develop robust business systems, and we have invested in a field support team that is larger than you might expect from an organization our size. That allows us to give frequent, personal attention to each of our franchisees.
Here’s a look at how our training and support works:
When you sign a deal to become a Togo’s sandwich franchise owner, you and/or your designated manager will be enrolled in an extensive training program that covers all aspects of restaurant operations — running and marketing the business. The training includes eight hours of food safety certification; a week of classroom training at our headquarters in San Jose, which covers business operations, bookkeeping, marketing, and systems for overseeing and managing your business; three weeks of on-the-job operations training at a Togo’s restaurant, learning to make sandwiches, manage inventory, and use the point of sale system. Our director of training has four decades of restaurant industry experience.
Franchisees who plan to open multiple Togo’s locations or who have extensive restaurant experience may not be required to complete all of our standard training requirements, however the operating partner or designated manager for their restaurants will need to complete the training.
Our ongoing support sets Togo’s apart. We group our restaurants into three districts: Northern California, Southern California, and New and Emerging Markets. Each group is overseen by a Vice President of Franchise Operations, who manages a team of Franchise Business Consultants. The Franchise Business Consultants (FBC) help franchisees track key performance indicators, solve operational challenges, and boost performance. When a franchisee is getting started, they can expect to hear from their FBC every week for two to three months — enough time for the franchisee to adjust to managing the business. Once franchisees hit their stride, their FBC will stay in touch every 30-45 days — and franchisees can always reach out for help at any time. Additionally, we work with franchisees in the first quarter of each year to revisit the business plan for each restaurant. If a single-unit operator would like to generate larger margins and benefit from a larger payout, we’ll work to develop a plan, goals, and metrics to help. If a franchisee is eager to open additional units, we can help develop a plan to transition from single- to multi-unit owner and help them move into the new role of overseeing multiple operations.
Our field operations team also has of two auditors who keep tabs on food safety and operating standards. If they see that additional training is needed for an employee, they’ll let the manager know immediately and will make recommendations for improvements. Togo’s is known for excellence, and this process helps keep the brand, and its individual restaurants, strong.
“The key to strong performance is execution to brand standards,” Chief Operating Officer Jim Peros says. “If you manage your people, oversee your inventory, ensure everyone is properly trained to prep food and make orders, that will control the cost of goods and create additional margin. If you hire friendly people and you match their work hours to peak demand, you’ll be able to provide great service that keeps guests coming back while keeping your labor costs under control. It sounds simple, but there are a lot of pieces that have to come together, and it’s good to have an extra set of eyes.”
In addition to the field support, Togo’s also hosts regular webinars exploring different aspects of the business, such as hiring leaders and cultivating leadership, training people so they can do their jobs well and enjoy that success, and strategies for reducing turnover to keep your team cohesive and your guests happy.