Ike’s Love & Sandwiches Lands Multi-Unit Denver Deal
Ike's Love & Sandwiches touts its indulgent sandwich combinations, of which there are more than 700.
In its marketing materials, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches likes to say it has a “cult-like following” of fans and celebrities, a following it’s now turning into franchisees. On the celebrity side there’s NFL player John Miller, a guard for the Cincinnati Bengals, who inked a deal to open 10 Ike’s sandwich shops in Florida.
As for fans, Camille Woodfield is the latest to make the leap from Ike’s follower to franchisee, signing with her father, Blair, a five-store development deal that will bring the brand to the greater Denver area. Their franchise group, Woodfield Squared LLC, expects to open its first Ike’s in downtown Denver this year.
“When we found out Ike’s Love & Sandwiches was franchising, we knew it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said Woodfield in an announcement of the deal. “I was blown away the first time I tried a sandwich at Ike’s—it was easily the best sandwich I’ve ever had. I was impressed with the innovative flavor combinations and Ike’s passion for bringing great food and love to his customers.”
The Woodfields have a background in commercial real estate, plus operations experience with Wendy’s, making them ideal franchisees as Ike’s seeks experienced operators as part of its expansion plans working with franchise development firm Fransmart. Dan Rowe, Fransmart’s founder and CEO, said Ike’s, launched by founder Ike Shehadeh in San Francisco in 2007, has all the makings to become “the next big thing,” which is what he looks for in brands such as The Halal Guys or Qdoba that Fransmart partners with.
“He puts these combinations together, every cuisine in the world has about the same protein and starches. It’s all in the sauce, that’s what makes cuisine different is the way you season and sauce it. The way he builds his flavors is just incredible. When you’re eating it it’s just so good,” said Rowe of Shehadeh’s concept. “He’s in a competitive market in San Francisco and he’s just killing it. I think half the appeal is that the food is good, but it’s also not Quiznos or Subway, people like supporting the next thing.”
Ike’s launched its franchise program in April 2019 and today has 70 locations open, mainly in California, Nevada and Arizona. The brand is entering a competitive sandwich space that in 2018 lost $1 billion in sales and shed nearly 2,000 restaurants, according to Franchise Times Top 200+ data. That downturn was led by Subway, which saw a 6.4 percent drop in sales as its unit count diminished by more than 1,400 restaurants.
Other sandwich players fared better that year, including Jersey Mike’s, which grew systemwide sales 17.8 percent to $1.1 billion, and Firehouse Subs, up 11.7 percent in 2018. Ike’s, meanwhile, made its Top 200+ debut at No. 409 and will need to significantly differentiate itself to stand out among more established players.
Start-up costs range from $191,400 to $671,000 for an Ike’s location. Royalties are 6 percent of gross sales and franchisees also contribute 2 percent of gross sales to a “worldwide creative fund,” along with 1 percent for local store marketing.