Togo’s, a west coast chain popular for its sandwiches for nearly 30 years, hits the Chicago market March 15.

The new store will be the sixth Togo’s/Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins combination, or “trombo,” store in the nation, and the first of a dozen Togo’s stores planned to open in Chicago this year, including downtown and suburban locations.

This first store, which will operate 24 hours a day, will feature a decor that captures the excitement of each of the three brands, but blends the concepts together to provide a service-oriented environment for the customer, says Dennis Gramm, head of the Midwest zone of Allied Domecq Retailing USA, the British holding company that owns the three franchises. Gramm went on to say that “wood-grained tables, three separate menu boards, seating for close to 100, newspaper racks, speed-of-service operating systems, and fax ordering capability make this an ideal prototype for the Chicago market.”

The company will focus special attention on the catering market, both for social occasions and workplace functions, with a recently re-launched Togo’s “Crowd-Pleasers” catering menu. The menu includes sandwiches, salads, and deserts. Catering is expected to represent up to 40 percent of total Togo’s business for the new store.

The move to combine the three brands into one retail space, according to Mark Richardson, vice president of Togo’s and multi-branding for Allied Domecq, is part of the company’s effort to “appeal to the consumer with a new level of access to favorite brands, while leveraging a franchisee’s real estate investment more effectively.” Targeting all three meal markets was also a goal: “We had a strong breakfast brand in Dunkin’ Donuts and we had the late afternoon, evening snack brand with Baskin-Robbins. The missing piece was the lunch brand.”

Allied Domecq filled that gap with the acquisition of Togo’s in 1997. The chain currently boasts 250 shops in California and another 14 are already in place on the east coast. The average west coast location produces about $600,000 in revenue per year.

Richardson states that the company plans to open 60 Togo’s stores in various parts of the country this year and has 150 more in development for 2001.

Allied Domecq PLC, formed in 1961, is a major international drinks brands retailing group publicly traded on the London, Amsterdam, and Brussels Stock Exchanges. The British holding company acquired Baskin-Robbins in 1978 and Dunkin’ Donuts in 1989. Allied Domecq started combining brands in 1995 when it opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins store.

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