Meet Sandwich Franchise Owner Doug Engerman!

Meet Sandwich Franchise Owner Doug Engerman!

sandwich franchise

Citizens of Seattle- your world is about to get totally rocked by the best sandwich franchise in the U.S.A.! Thanks to Doug Engerman, our newest member of the Cheba Hut family, the great state of Washington is slated to get THREE new Cheba Hut locations. Doug’s first Cheba Hut will open later this year in Bellingham, a Seattle suburb with a laid-back, approachable vibe that Doug felt would be ideal for a “toasted” sandwich shop franchise that prides itself on being anything but ordinary. 

“Ever since I became acquainted with Cheba, I always thought that Bellingham, culturally, is a ready-made market for Cheba Hut,” explains Doug, who has lived in Washington for over two decades. “Bellingham has a Bohemian flair to it, and 40,000 college students. It feels like a good match not only to me but [Chief Relationship Officer] Seth [Larsen] and other corporate members agree completely.”

Finding the best location is nothing new to Doug, who moved his family to the Seattle area 20 years ago for a job opportunity, and has been happy about that decision ever since. “I’m a Chicago kid,” he says, “born and raised on the north side of Chicago. I moved my family out here and we’ve never looked back.” Doug, who lives in the town of Blaine, at the northernmost point of Washington State near the Canada border, says the breathtaking natural backdrop was one of the biggest attractions for him. “This is really come to be what we think of as home because of the surroundings,” he says. “The natural beauty is really hard to match- no offense to Colorado, but we have everything Colorado does, plus water!”

That’s not the only parallel Doug draws between Washington and Cheba Hut’s birthplace of Colorado. He acknowledges that, after Colorado, Washington was the second state to legalize cannabis. “We’re number two- we try harder,” he jokes. Since we’re a sandwich franchise and sell food products only, it’s not necessary for a state to legalize cannabis consumption before it can get down with some sweet Cheba goodness. However, as cannabis legalization sweeps across America, more people are eager to embrace the cannabis-themed culture of Cheba Hut. As a state that was one of the first to legalize cannabis products, Doug feels that Washington is in excellent position for a Cheba Hut sandwich franchise of their own, especially after seeing that we’ve been kicking so much ass in states that haven’t even legalized it yet, like New Mexico, Arizona, and Florida.

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Doug’s eclectic background and interests have equipped him with a great skill set for bringing the country’s best sandwich franchise to his community. As a former owner of a company that makes tech products, he has proven that he has the entrepreneurial savvy to successfully run a business. “I’ve pretty much spent my entire career in the tech industry,” he explains. “Specifically I’ve been a software entrepreneur and have been involved in software company start ups, and for the last 13 years I’ve been involved in software company turnarounds. I get involved to help chart a new course in software companies that are underperforming. That’s what I was doing up until a few years ago, and then I had an opportunity to buy a small tech company here in the Northwest.”

Believe it or not, Doug’s impressive tech background also feeds into his passion for music- in addition to being involved in the electronic components industry, he also sings and plays drums and other percussion instruments. “I’m a musician and a lot of software guys double as musicians,” says Doug. “With music, it’s another symbolic language like software programming and it’s a lot of mathematics involved.” Doug’s love of music shines through as he talks about his current involvement in two separate bands. “At the moment, I play in two different bands – one is a jazz group that we started up about 7 years ago now with some guys that were in a software company that I was managing at the time,” Doug says. The band specializes in West Coast and fusion style jazz- “cool jazz, not traditional,” he clarifies. 

Doug also plays in one of the hottest funk bands in the Northwest – a 9-piece ensemble called the Cosmic Sauce. “[My involvement in two bands] keeps me ‘well overcommitted,’ as my wife would say,” he laughs.

Between his performing commitments and his work schedule, Doug acknowledges that he doesn’t have much free time left. However, he is an avid fisherman who enjoys both freshwater and saltwater fishing. “I have a fishing boat that I keep here that’s just a few blocks from my house,” says Doug. “I manage to get out fishing  for salmon and crab. A lot of people take advantage of the really great summer months out here, they’re as good as it gets. We have pretty much four solid months of boating and a couple of months of solid fishing so it’s a great lifestyle.”

Doug’s introduction to the Cheba Hut sandwich shop franchise happened organically several years ago, when his college-age daughter took him to the downtown Denver location for lunch during a visit. “My daughter started college at Western Washington University in Bellingham, then transferred to Colorado University for a special study program,” he recalls. “When she graduated in December 2013, the whole family went out there. She said to me, ‘Hey, I want to take you to this place that has absolutely the best food you’ll have in a long time.’ She took me to Cheba Hut in downtown Denver. I was hooked from the first time I went there!” 

Doug’s initial Cheba Hut experience convinced him that it was truly the best sandwich franchise he’d ever been to, and he began eating at our flagship Ft. Collins, Colorado location frequently when he was in town on business. “A couple of years ago, I took on a software turnaround project in Fort Collins so I had an apartment in downtown Ft. Collins for 2 years,” says Doug. “I was right around the corner from their campus location and it became my go-to place. The store became my home away from home.” 

With so many delicious Cheba interactions over the years, it was only a matter of time before Doug started thinking about what it would be like to run his own location. He began investigating the Cheba Hut sub sandwich franchise opportunity, but still had his doubts about taking the plunge, until he sought advice from a friend who was involved with franchise development for Starbucks, and had what he calls his “Eureka moment.”

“After speaking with my friend for about half an hour, he said, ‘Doug, you want to sign that agreement. Sign it. Because that is the mark of a franchisor that really knows what they’re doing. They’re going to have high standards and demands of their franchisees. You DON’T want a franchisor that just wants to take your money and is not very concerned about the quality of themselves or their franchisees. These guys really sound like that have their act together so you want to rush as fast as you can to sign this agreement.” This was all Doug needed to commit to joining the Cheba Hut team and move forward with the franchise awarding process.

As one of Cheba Hut’s newest Franchise Owners, Doug has been keeping pretty busy with a series of events leading up to signing his Franchise Agreement. He remembers Discovery Day as a relaxed, low-stress way to meet CEO and Founder Scott Jennings and the rest of the corporate team. “Just the chance to meet everybody, sit around the table, and talk openly and candidly,” he says of his favorite part of Discovery Day. “No question was out of bounds and the answers were very straightforward, very direct. Not a lot of code words or buzzwords were used. It was really just a comfortable conversation, which tells me a lot about why they’ve been so successful.”

As the son of an entrepreneur, Doug was born with the spirit of wanting to be in business for himself, and he sees the Cheba Hut opportunity as a rewarding and lucrative step in his career as he follows in his father’s footsteps. “My father was an entrepreneur, and started a number of businesses, so I grew up in that environment and with that mindset,” he explains.  “His advice was always, ‘whenever you have the opportunity, invest in yourself.’” 

As Doug sets his sights on the grand opening of his first Seattle-area Cheba Hut sub franchise location, he looks forward to making money, but also is excited about the additional benefits of becoming a Franchise Owner. “I’m not doing this as an exercise in philanthropy,” he laughs. “I’m looking to make a return on my investment, but it goes beyond that. I want to build an organization where I can give young people an opportunity to get some experience, develop some new capabilities, and hopefully build a team of young people that I can help along the way. I’d like to see a smile on the face of every customer that’s coming out of that store and know they’re having a really extraordinary experience.”

If nothing else, says Doug, his Cheba Hut sandwich franchise location will be a prime spot for his bands to play gigs. He says, “If this is what it took to create my own musical venue where my bands and my friends in the music business can play, then that’s a good thing, too!”

As a newly-minted Franchise Owner here at Cheba Hut, Doug is about to embark on one awesome ride! If you see a little bit of yourself in Doug and want in on the Cheba action, it’s easy: just click here to visit our franchise website, where you can find out more about us, the opportunity, and what it takes to open the country’s best sandwich franchise in your area. 

Ready to dive in? Complete the form below or subscribe to our email list to stay updated on the Cheba Hut opportunity so you can be sure not to miss out. 

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Our Sandwich Shop Franchise Development Team Rocks!

Our Sandwich Shop Franchise Development Team Rocks!

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If you’ve stopped by a Cheba Hut sandwich shop franchise location lately, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are clamoring to get in on the “toasted” sub franchise action! After all, we’re an original in a sea of cookie-cutter sub sandwich franchises, and our unique, niche concept tends to draw entrepreneurs in and make them want to invest in a sub franchise that believes in individuality and enjoys going against the grain. (Bread pun heavily intended!)

However, our amazing product, counterculture values, and kickass business model are not the only ingredients that go into creating the best sandwich franchise opportunity out there. Our sub franchise development team goes above and beyond every day to partner us with the most awesome Franchise Owners we could ever hope to have. We took some time to chat with Senior Brand Manager Lana Nuss and Development Manager Dillon Joffe and find out what goes into finding just the right people for the Cheba Hut sub sandwich franchise opportunity.

Both Lana and Dillon make no secret of their passion for Cheba Hut, both as a sandwich shop franchise and as a freakin’ delicious sub sandwich, and they both have greatly enjoyed watching us grow as a nationally-recognized brand. “I think my favorite part of helping Cheba Hut grow has been how well the model fits so many different people,” says Lana. “They haven’t been able to find a concept they’ve been looking for until they find Cheba. It allows them to be unique and do their own thing while being part of a franchise.”

For Dillon, the best part of helping the Cheba Hut sandwich franchise is the entrepreneurs themselves. “People are excited about concept and want to see Cheba Hut grow,” he explains.  “They’re excited about the potential profitability, but are more excited to just be in the family. Cheba Hut in particular, with that niche counterculture vibe, really presents an especially familial type of sub franchise opportunity.”

Cheba Hut’s outside-the-box business model is one of the biggest draws for prospective Franchise Owners, Lana says. “it’s got great revenues, it’s simple to operate, but it’s unique in the Fast Casual space, and stands out against the competition.” Dillon agrees that the Cheba Hut sandwich franchise opportunity is particularly attractive to people who march to the beat of their own drummers, both in life and in their careers. As he puts it, Cheba Hut is the best sandwich franchise opportunity for “people who embrace their weird, in the best way possible!”  

“I’ve gotten to speak with so many incredible, interesting characters,” says Dillon. “Even on a quick call, I can tell they have some quirks, and a unique personality. It’s a fun weirdness clearly shown by [Cheba Hut Founder and CEO] Scott [Jennings] and the things he does. Whether it’s a quote or an article from Scott, or something they saw in store, Cheba Hut candidates know there is no reason to hide what makes them unique.”

However it happens, the Cheba Hut sub sandwich franchise opportunity is ideal for people who don’t like being put in a box, and enjoy disrupting the status quo while being great at business.

Of course, helping Cheba Hut connect with only the highest-quality people for sandwich shop franchise opportunities across America isn’t without its challenges, and one of the biggest obstacles of the Cheba Hut sub franchise opportunity is also one of its greatest assets. Along with the terrific investment and the fact that the quality of the product speaks for itself, Dillon lists the “Green Wave,” a nickname for the influx of opportunities related to the legalization of cannabis that is currently sweeping America, as one of the three key factors that draw people to the Cheba Hut sub sandwich franchise. 

However, as Lana points out, “Initially, the marijuana theme really scared people. It’s sometimes a challenge to figure out how to pitch our brand so the food comes first.” The cannabis-friendly theme of Cheba Hut and our acceptance of the pot culture can also pose a unique challenge when it comes to anticipating the success of sandwich franchise locations in areas where cannabis products have yet to be legalized, as Lana mentions. “Right now, [the challenge] is overcoming the objections that Cheba Hut can only do well in areas where weed is legal,” she says. 

That type of challenge always produces the sweetest victory- a recent deal in a seemingly unlikely part of the country gave Lana and the rest of the development team cause to celebrate. “Our deal in Arkansas was super exciting because a lot of people didn’t think Cheba Hut would work there,” she recalls, adding, “We’re breaking that mold!”

As a Chicago native and former trader, Dillon’s personal connection to a recent Cheba Hut sub franchise deal in the Windy City made it one of his favorites. “[Franchise Owner Chris Custer and his business partner’s] backgrounds are similar to the background I started with, so I connected with their story,” he explains. “They were traders, and it was a situation where advancing technology had started to restructure the industry. They wanted to put their money to good use instead of feeding it to computers. I saw their specific need and why Cheba Hut would be a good fit for them.” 

So, who makes a good Cheba Hut Franchise Owner? According to Lana and Dillon, there is no specific profile, but a few key things help. “Our owners come from different backgrounds, but they all have strong management experience, are financially driven, and don’t necessarily need to partake in cannabis products, but have acceptance of the culture and understand it, and understand they’re running a restaurant first and foremost,” says Lana. Dillon adds that an ideal Cheba Hut Franchise Owner should be “able to get things done but have a laid-back mentality.” 

Lana and Dillon are two of the driving forces behind the success of the Cheba Hut sandwich shop franchise opportunity, and it’s clear that they love what they do! Their passion for the Cheba Hut brand goes into their work to bring us quality Franchise Owners who keep this Cheba train rollin’. 

If you’re reading this and think that this sounds like the best sandwich franchise opportunity you’ve heard of, you’re not alone! Folks all over this beautiful country are hopping on board to bring Cheba Hut to all four corners of America, and the places in between. Click here to visit our sandwich franchise website, where you can learn more about the opportunity. Or, if you’d like to be contacted by Dillon himself (or one of his associates), go ahead and complete the form below so you can get things started.

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Sub Franchise Location in Albuquerque Gets Buzz

Sub Franchise Location in Albuquerque Gets Buzz

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Albuquerque, New Mexico recently got a brand-new location of the country’s best sub franchise! Cheba Hut recently opened a second location of our ‘toasted’ sub franchise concept in the Land of Enchantment, creating a whole new horde of rabid fans of our tasty sub sandwiches. This shout-out from Hoodline mentions how our superior sandwich franchise is known for its laid-back, friendly vibe that makes it stand out against the competition. We’re stoked to list Albuquerque as a Cheba-friendly city!

Besides having one of the hardest-to-spell city names in America, the city of Albuquerque is known for its rich culture and history. Founded as a Spanish colony in 1706, modern-day Albuquerque is a tapestry of Hispanic and indigenous influences, which are heavily reflected in its architecture, music, and art. The historic Old Town area boasts adobe buildings that have been around for literal centuries, such as San Felipe de Niri church. Additionally, fans of Native American art and handicrafts can purchase one-of-a-kind pieces by indigenous artists through one of Albuquerque’s many shops. Also, as many fans can tell you, the classic TV show Breaking Bad is set right in the ABQ, which makes it popular with pop culture geeks everywhere! A city like Albuquerque, with such a cool backstory and even cooler residents, is the perfect backdrop for our unconventional Cheba Hut culture. It’s a good fit!

Owned by Isaac Montoya, the Albuquerque locations of the Cheba Hut sandwich franchise are thriving as more and more locals discover what makes us the best sub franchise in the land. The Ellison Drive location spotlighted on Hoodline is Montoya’s second; his original Cheba Hut sub franchise is located at 115 Harvard Drive SE and continues to be a hit with a growing legion of fans. In an interview with the Albuquerque Business Journal last year, Montoya mentioned that he started out as a Cheba Hut employee back in 2012, and worked his way up to owning his own Cheba Hut sub franchise opportunity. He says that the sandwich franchise’s biggest asset is its employees, and we wholeheartedly agree! Our Franchise Owners create a fun, unique culture (counterculture?) in each Cheba Hut sub franchise location, and hire employees who not only take pride in creating mind-blowingly good subs, but also place a great deal of importance on making sure our customers always have a good time. It’s what sets us apart from other sandwich franchise opportunities.

So what does the Duke City think of the newest Cheba Hut location? The reviews are in, and (no surprise), they rock!

Yelp reviewer Jamie C., who was fortunate enough to stop by on 4/20, writes, “I ordered the Apollo13, my hubs ordered The Kind, and they were totally dope. No really, I mean it….they were freakin’ delicious. Toasted to perfection, brimming with flavor and freshness, I am impressed with their lil operation over here. Carry on…”

Lydia G. thought the Ellison Drive location was so amazing, she actually used the word “amazing” FOUR TIMES in her Yelp review! “The chicken and bacon salad is just amazing! Best cheese ever. Also the AK-47 is also amazing. It comes with ajus which makes it amazing. To pull the meal together, I added the strawberry cream rice crispy treat. AMMMMAZING!!!”

Google reviewer John Alvarez was amped up to increase the frequency of his Cheba cravings, thanks to his close proximity to the Ellison Drive location. He writes, “I am extremely excited to see Cheba Hut expand to the west side. The social environment and food is excellent. It is now a frequent stop since it’s closer to me now. I will always highly recommend this establishment.”

We’re excited to see Isaac Montoya’s newest Albuquerque Cheba Hut location catch fire, and we look forward to getting ‘toasted’ with new fans as we keep expanding across the U S of A! Is your city next? Stay tuned!

Looking for a sandwich franchise opportunity that doesn’t suck? Cheba Hut is on the hunt for new locations. If you think you could use the best sub franchise in your neck of the woods, why not open up a “joint” yourself? We’re currently awarding franchise opportunities in cities across America, and are always up for talking to like-minded individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to stick it to The Man! Visit our website to learn all about what makes Cheba Hut different from any other sub franchise, and find out about our outstanding economics, industry-leading business model, and outside-the-box culture. 

Want to talk to someone right away about a Cheba Hut sub franchise opportunity? Complete the form below to get rollin’.

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Sandwich Franchises Clash Over “Mushroom-Gate”

Sandwich Franchises Clash Over “Mushroom-Gate”

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What a week! Our sandwich franchise has made a few headlines over a little incident we’re going to refer to as “Mushroom-gate,” in which our badass Founder and CEO Scott Jennings got his very valid point across in the most memorable way possible. In case you missed it, we can bring you up to speed.

Cheba Hut fans from coast to coast can testify to the otherworldly (dare we say transcendental?) properties of our famed Magic Mushroom sandwich. We’ve been making it for over 15 years, and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon. For the uninitiated, our Magic Mushroom sandwich consists of spicy pepper jack cheese, portobello mushroom, teriyaki glaze, green peppers, and pineapples, all toasted to melty perfection on our signature, fresh-baked Cheba Hut bread. Like its namesake, it is truly a mind-altering experience.

It seems, however, that a certain other sandwich franchise based in Denver didn’t get the memo that our delicious homage to the trippy toadstool is the rightful owner of the Magic Mushroom moniker. This competing sub franchise developed a sandwich reminiscent of an Austin Powers fever dream, marketing it as a special edition sandwich available only on June 22, and using the same name as our beloved menu item. So we sent a cease-and-desist order to their corporate headquarters. With a stripper. Dressed as a cop. That’s how we roll. You can read all about it here, here, here, and here.

For a little background info, the use of actual magic mushrooms,- or Psilocybin mushrooms, if you’re feeling fancy- was recently decriminalized in Denver, and the other sub franchise was releasing their take on a Magic Mushroom sandwich as a tribute to the groundbreaking law, in an attempt to get on the bandwagon. Like the recent publicity stunts trying to cash in on the “green wave” sweeping the country (CBD-infused burgers come to mind), this tie-dyed concoction was the other sub franchise’s effort to be on trend, in the know, and (we guess?) hip with the kids. Their only real connection to magic mushrooms is the fact that they are based in the same city where the law was just passed, but they didn’t let that slow them down.

Long story short, once they received our little care package, the other sandwich franchise sent us a mildly humorous email laden with mushroom-related puns, delivered by a singing sandwich. “They kind of clapped back with a singing sandwich guy. They came over to our restaurant, so it was a little bit of fun back and forth,” remarked Jennings good-naturedly. In addition to fungus-based wordplay, the sub franchise pledged to donate their proceeds from the one-day-only sales of their mushroom sub at their Logan Street location in Denver to a local charity, The Food Bank of the Rockies, and encouraged Cheba Hut to do the same.

If there’s one thing you should take away from this story about the Cheba Hut sandwich franchise, it’s this: we don’t take any shiitake from our competition. If we see a fellow sub franchise or fast-casual restaurant try to hop on the bandwagon, you’d better believe we’re going to call them out on it! In the words of our Founder, “My ideal outcome would just to put people on notice, I know we can’t lock down the green wave, everyone is going to get on. But we’re putting people on notice that if you’re a faker or a trend jumper, we’ll put you on notice and we’ll poke you.”

We’ve built our entire sandwich franchise from the desire to never be ordinary and believe us: we are not like the rest. Clearly. We’ve been in the marijuana-themed sandwich franchise business since way back in 1998, long before pot became trendy- or even legal, for that matter! When it comes to sandwich franchises offering a delicious product in a fun, laid-back atmosphere, we’re in a class all by ourselves. Many a sandwich franchise tries to emulate us, but none succeed. We’re an OG sandwich franchise playing by our own rules, and our fans across the country know that there’s no better joint in town than ours!

Need a Cheba Hut in your city? Think you’ve got what it takes to be a Cheba Hut Franchise Owner? Let’s talk. We’ve got a dream to cover this beautiful nation with Cheba Hut sub franchise locations, and we’re always on the lookout for like-minded people to help us make it come true. Visit our franchise site to get more info about who we are, what we do, and where we’re taking this crazy sub franchise party next as we keep rollin’ across America. You can also hit us up on the form below to find out about Cheba Hut sandwich franchise opportunities in your location. Stay “toasted!”

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