Industry News | September 29, 2009

Togo's Picking a Pastrami Fight

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West Coast sandwich chain Togo’s announced that it is throwing down the gauntlet and kicking off a pastrami war.

Confident that its hot pastrami sandwich is meatier and better-tasting than those of other chains, the San Jose, California–based Togo’s Eateries Inc. on Wednesday is scheduled to debut system-wide a new money-back guarantee and an ad campaign designed to stoke the “Pastrami Wars.”

Tony Gioia, Togo’s chairman and CEO, wants to stake the claim that his chain’s pastrami sandwich is the best. If a customer doesn’t agree that Togo’s pastrami sandwich is better than any others out there, they get their money back. The deal requires receipts of both Togo’s sandwich and the other chain’s sandwich to qualify.

With a suggested price of $5.49, the Number 9, made with five ounces of sliced lean pastrami seasoned with a proprietary blend of spices, has been the chain’s top seller for years. Gioia estimated the 242-unit chain serves more than 1.5 million pastrami sandwiches per year.

“At Togo’s, we know our quality is superior to those ‘breadwiches’ the other guys serve, and we aren’t afraid to put our money where your mouth is,” he says.

The campaign will include in-store creative materials featuring a “sandwich guru” who says “No more skimpy breadwiches. I want my sandwich big and meaty!” The campaign will also include radio advertising throughout California and television ads in San Francisco. A social media element will also feature a YouTube video contest.

The guarantee is scheduled to run through Oct. 20.