Multi-brand franchise owner calls Erbert and Gerbert’s his best store
Thanks to outstanding food, customer service and corporate support, Erbert and Gerbert’s is this multi-brand franchise owner’s top performer
What’s the secret to success for multi-brand franchise owner Rick Swanson? In a word: quality. Quality food, quality service and quality support from our knowledgeable corporate team. Thanks to all of that, Swanson’s Erbert and Gerbert’s is his top-performing business. He spoke with us about what he believes makes Erbert and Gerbert’s one of the best sandwich chains in the industry.
When did you first open your franchise with Erbert and Gerbert’s?
We actually bought an existing store in Hudson, WI. We were already owners of three Dunn Brothers Coffees, one in Stillwater, MN, and two in Hudson. I first heard of Erbert and Gerbert’s when we bought a Dunn Brothers adjacent to one, though all my relatives knew what it was because they all went to college towns with locations. To date, of the stores that we own, it’s the best store that we have of the four franchises that we own.
What was it that made you decide to buy the Erbert and Gerbert’s store?
We really like the product that we have, and the customer-oriented service, employees with smiling faces saying thank you to every guest. We liked the brand, we took the risk and it’s paid off greatly.
How hands-on do you get in the store?
I’m very hands-on in our stores. I open the store in the mornings. Each morning I do the tills, because I like to just see how things are going and make sure the store is in good shape. I try to be around at lunch time because as an owner, I feel I’m the best salesperson. Hopefully, I set an example for the rest of the young people that work for me, so when I’m not there, they still know how it’s done.
From the perspective of a multi-brand franchise owner, what makes this a great brand to be a part of?
I think the opportunity at Erbert and Gerbert’s really starts with the outstanding food we serve. I think we have the best bread of the franchises. It’s a more wholesome product compared to the rest of the fast food out there.
We are very fast in the store and have a nice combination of great product and quick service, and you can really do it with a minimal amount of people in the store and when I check other restaurants, that helps us get by with lower labor costs than others. You’re working with high school kids and college kids, it might be their first job, and you’re really able to mentor them. That’s one of the best parts of the job, seeing your team mature and grow more responsible.
What kind of support do you get from the corporate team?
The support that we get from them is outstanding. We have some people on staff at corporate that I just think are the best people, very supportive, very helpful and very friendly. When we came into it, our biggest apprehension was that we didn’t know a thing about the food business. We knew coffee, but we didn’t know food. With the support and training and guidance we got, our store basically doubled in income and we got what was called the Rookie of the Year. I attribute a lot of that to the help that they gave us in the beginning there, because again, we didn’t know anything about the business of sandwich-making, we just knew how to treat people.
Do you get your store involved in the community?
We’re very involved in our community, especially the schools. All three of my business partners and I are alumni of Hudson High School. We were very involved in the sports programs when we were growing up, so we’ve gotten very involved in the sports programs now. We give away game-day food for the teams in football, basketball, hockey, softball, baseball. That has turned out to be a great benefit to our store; it comes back tremendously because we get a lot of support from the community in that area.
Do you feel that you’ve met your business goals with Erbert and Gerbert’s?
Our Erbert and Gerbert’s have exceeded what we thought it would do. It’s turned out to be our best store, because you’re serving a really good product. With our vendor relationships, Erbert and Gerbert’s gets us a high-quality product, and they keep our costs down.
What do you enjoy most about being owning an Erbert and Gerbert’s?
What I enjoy most is, I’m the owner. I get to be a part of a franchise that I can be proud of, I am serving great food in a fun environment. From that standpoint, it’s something where each day I don’t mind getting up to go to work. How many people can say that? If you can do that in life, you’ve found something good. Owning my own business, that’s something that I look forward to each and every day. I don’t regret a day when I go in.
If you’re ready to learn more about why Erbert and Gerbert’s works so well for this multi-brand franchise owner, visit our other research pages. To start a conversation, fill out the form on this page and we will reach out to further discuss the opportunity. We look forward to speaking with you!