David Pepin is a busy guy, and that’s the way he likes it. Dave and his business partner, Peter Boniface, own and operate Yampa Sandwich Co., a thriving Colorado mainstay. They’re looking to expand their business and turn their operation into a nationwide sandwich and salads franchise system. Business is good and the future is looking bright, which means that everyone’s on deck and pulling together to ensure that the company’s growth proceeds smoothly.
If you’re interested in investing your business acumen and capital in sandwich and salad franchise opportunities, there’s no better source for information on the process and daily experience of sandwich and salad restaurant franchise ownership than from one of Yampa Sandwich Co.’s founders. Dave Pepin was kind enough to share some of his time to participate in a Q&A with us, to give us his perspective on running a sandwich and salads franchise.
We sat down with Dave to learn more about the ins and outs of operating a sandwich and salad bar franchise. We found out how Dave and Peter identified a market need and filled the niche, some of the challenges he and other sandwich shop owners encounter while managing their stores, the best part of owning a Yampa Sandwich Co. store, and what they look for in a potential franchise owner.
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How Did You Develop Yampa Sandwich Co. into a Thriving Sandwich Shop?
Dave and Peter both hail from the Northeast US, and they share a common philosophy of how a sandwich and salads franchise should operate. When the two men met up decades ago in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado, they quickly recognized that the local area lacked what they regarded as a fixture of urban American life—a quality sandwich shop.
“We knew that what Steamboat Springs needed was an East Coast sensibility that blended with the Colorado atmosphere,” Dave says. “Peter and I brought the care and attitude of a Northeastern sandwich shop to the town.”
Dave and Peter targeted outdoor excursions as their initial target market. “There are lots of daily outdoor excursions that operate out of Steamboat Springs, and many of those places include a lunch in their tour packages. Before we opened our doors, that lunch was usually not a lot—a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chips, maybe.”
They reached out to local excursion companies and secured contracts to provide them with lunches for their trips. Soon the business started to grow, and after building the business, they started on the road to becoming a new sandwich and salads franchise.
What’s the Greatest Challenge of Sandwich and Salads Franchise Ownership?
Dave doesn’t hesitate when asked about what challenge he regularly encounters as he runs his shops and prepares to transition to a sandwich and salads franchise model. There’s no question, he says, that staff recruitment and retention are always keeping him on his toes.
“Putting together a great staff is as important as the quality of the sandwiches you make”
A good team takes time and effort to assemble, Dave notes. And the qualities that combine to create a great team also make those team members appealing to other sandwich and salads franchises and the business world at large. “Keeping the team together can be a big ask.”
Dave enjoys the challenge, though. Since its inception in 1999, the concept behind the Yampa Sandwich Co. franchise brand expanded, opening additional stores in Fort Collins and Denver. The larger markets have a ready pool of highly qualified and motivated workers. In the smaller market of Steamboat Springs, Dave and Peter keep a top-quality staff in place by offering competitive benefits and a productive and welcoming work environment.
What Aspect of Sandwich Shop Ownership Do You Most Enjoy?
Dave is equally quick to identify the aspect he enjoys most about running his own shop while also planning for growth into a sandwich and salads franchise. No matter the location or staff, the most rewarding part of Dave’s day is always the customers.
“Our customers make our days better,” says Dave. Yampa Sandwich Co. prides itself on the atmosphere it creates in its stores. The décor, attention to quality, and attentive team foster a creative and encouraging atmosphere that keeps Yampa Sandwich Co.’s customers coming back, and the customers keep Dave engaged. “There’s nothing like making our clientele happy—they’re the most important part of our operations and the heart of our business.”
Dave and Peter feel that Yampa Sandwich Co.’s customer-facing attitude is one of the main reasons for their popularity and growth, and they strive to maintain the same level of engagement at all stores and at all times.
As Dave maps out plans for moving into a sandwich and salads franchise format, his attitude toward customers stays the same. “They’re still the key to our success,” he says, “and that never changes.”
What Are You Looking for in a Yampa Sandwich Co. Franchise Investor?
Every sandwich and salads franchise has its own culture and business philosophy, and a franchisee who invests in a business has the best chance to thrive when their views and approach align with those values. So, what are Yampa Sandwich Co.’s principles, and what does Dave look for in a prospective franchise investor?
Yampa Sandwich Co.’s core values are simple and customer focused. Dave and Peter believe that commitment makes them great, and they emphasize attention to detail and respect for customers, staff, and the community.
The duo also looks for some specific qualities when they meet potential franchisees.
“We feel that the ideal franchisee is someone who is committed to bringing value to their community through sandwiches,” Dave says.
He and Peter are looking for “someone who is interested in being part of a new, but culturally strong brand and has a passion for food that is unique and delicious.”
Yampa Sandwich Co. is on the lookout for new investors who share Dave and Peter’s sandwich and salads franchise philosophy and are ready to help get an exciting opportunity off the ground.
Contact us to find out more, and get the next phase in your business life underway. It might be the start of something big!