Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

NOV 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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18 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • NOVEMBER 2017 a pro you should know Jeff Sinelli Founder, CEO and Chief Vibe Officer, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Dallas A huge fan of alliteration, Jeff Sinelli came up with the Which Wich name during a brain- storming session. He notes that many of the most iconic brands incor- porate alliteration, such as Coca-Cola, Dunkin' Donuts, Best Buy and American Airlines. Since founding Which Wich in 2003, the chain has expanded to 430 loca- tions and should come close to having 500 U.S. stores by next year. While the chain does have a few corporate locations, the operation primarily runs through a fran- chisee network. FE&S: How do you keep Which Wich a step ahead of the competition? JS: One of our main differentiators since the beginning has been our brown bag and Sharpie ordering system, but we under- stand that there are guests who prefer a quick point-and-order option. So, we updated our menu recently to cater to that type of guest with some delicious "favor- ites" options that don't require custom- ization. We also introduced a brand-new kids menu that my wife and co-founder Courtney worked on with several franchi- sees and members of our corporate team who are parents. In 2017, we've done a lot with investi- gating how music can play into the innova- tion and creativity of the brand, and we are working on some exciting things to roll out in 2018 and the years to come. FE&S: Given that sandwiches are sometimes "in" and sometimes they're "out," how do you keep a sandwich concept relevant? JS: Sandwiches will always be "in" as long as you're giving guests new flavorful ex- periences. It's a simple base from which to innovate. We have focused on making sure that our sandwiches are more unique, more delicious and of a higher quality than you can get from competitors. We also have focused on introducing new ingredients, styles and flavors that appeal to a broad set of different dietary wants and needs. FE&S: What is your Project PB&J endeavor about? JS: Project PB&J [peanut butter and jelly], which launched in January 2014, was born out of the simple comfort that comes from a PB&J sandwich. Courtney and I both grew up in homes where PB&J sandwiches were synonymous with nourishment, comfort and a little happiness — and that's what we want to provide through the initiative. For every PB&J sandwich purchased in a Which Wich location, we donate one additional sandwich to a local charity or cause and we bank a second sandwich for our global efforts in times of large scale crisis, like the aftermath of the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. FE&S: How does Project PB&J connect with your corporate mission? JS: While I was at the Conscious Capitalism conference in San Francisco in April of 2013, I introduced myself to Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store. He said to me, "On your business card it says that you want to make the world a better place. How are you doing that?" No one has ever called me out on one of the values or the mission of the company. There are a lot of brands that have their mission or their val- ues on the wall but don't live them. I didn't want to be one of those companies. That was a moment that changed my life. As soon as I landed in Dallas after Conscious Capitalism, I went to our Jeff Sinelli Founder CEO and Chief Vibe Officer Which Wich Superior Sandwiches Dallas

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