And what about being so heavily involved on the legal side? How does that experience lend into leadership?
In my years as General Counsel, I provided support and advice to every department in the company. However, because of my own entrepreneurial background, including my time as a franchisee, my role in the company has also included a strong vein of business strategy while working with the CEO and my fellow executive team members. This exposure to all aspects of our brand gives me the “big picture” experience and point of view I need to seamlessly proceed forward with our goals and initiatives.
What are some early day plans for your president role? What would you like to accomplish in the first 30 days, year?
When I took over the role, we were in mid-stream with a few large, key initiatives. The early priority was to dive in to ensuring that these programs were completed smoothly. Beyond what was already underway, I immediately spent countless hours in conversations with many, many members of the franchise community to glean their ideas, suggestions, and concerns. These conversations served to reinforce what I already believed to be the priority areas of focus in the coming months—constant vigilance on profitability, great store-level operations, and better guest service training for our young store employees.
Talk about some of the brand’s differentiating qualities. How does it stand out in such a crowded segment?
The quality and freshness of the ingredients in our sandwiches is an absolute differentiator. It is also our brand philosophy to make our sandwiches “with a heavy hand”. In other words, our menu is going to deliver a substantial, delicious product—unlike anything that our customers can find elsewhere. We are also well-known for our order-on-the bag approach to selecting and personalizing your sandwich. Customers truly get to build their own sandwich if they desire, or they can choose one of our curated “Favorites” where we have done the work for them.
What is the strategic franchise growth plan moving forward?
In addition to our “bread and butter” of growing with our current franchisee partners, we are continuing our growth on the non-traditional front with college campuses, C-stores, hospitals, and airports. And as we expand our presence in larger DMA’s, we are very excited to now have the option to co-brand in some locations with our sister brand, Paciugo Gelato & Caffe.
What are some innovations, from menu to labor, that will carry Which Wich into the future?
We are in constant discussions with existing, as well as new, vendors to find technology integration opportunities that will streamline and enhance the guest experience. This encompasses everything from testing kiosk ordering systems, our online ordering platform, payment options, and 3rd-party delivery efficiencies.
Dovetailing menu innovation into our tried-and-true classic offerings is always a matter of striking the right balance with what our franchisees and customers are looking for, and we are very pleased with the direction these efforts are taking for the remainder of this year and into next. Part of that has been the introduction of French fries this summer, which is being very well received by our guests. We are also working closely with our new beverage partner, PepsiCola, to bring a fresh new approach to our lineup.