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Exec Chooses Togo's Partly for Connections to Top
Jerry Chase and his wife researched many brands when they decided to purchase a franchise. He served in the Marine Corps, went to grad school and then was CEO of two publicly traded companies in the past.
“We did a lot of due diligence. We looked at everything from automotive franchising to McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-Fil-A,” he says. They ended on Togo’s, the California-based sandwich chain where they were customers.
But the relationship went beyond liking Togo’s food, all the way to the executive suite. Chase had worked with the private equity firm Mainsail Partners in one of his CEO roles, and Mainsail Partners owns Togo’s.
“We connected at a lot of different levels and that was one of them,” Chase says. “People think of private equity guys as being hard-nosed, but these are very warm, engaging guys. They showed up at our grand opening.”
That was in February, in Danville, California. Since then Chase says they’re cash-flow positive, and now are building their catering business and trying to increase the performance of their team. Because of his military background he focuses there.
“The military clearly understands that young people want to be challenged, they want to be proud of what they do,” Chase says. “You have to kind of have faith that that’s in them, and then you need to bring it out.”
He says Togo’s initial franchisee fee was $24,000 for him, a veteran, compared to $30,000. “Six thousand dollars is a meaningful number, but for me more than that it was them saying you’re welcome here,” Chase says. “It was a nice statement.”
Read more about Veterans in franchising in our June/July issue.