Toledo Talk

Tom + Chee in Toledo?

I ran across this curios item today in my facebook feed from Tom + Chee in Cincinnati. I have not been to one and wanted to stop at a Tom + Chee on my next trip South, but now if I wait long enough there may be one coming to Toledo. I don't know if I would help fund it though.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bringing-tom-and-chee-to-toledo

created by sparky31134 on Jan 18, 2014 at 12:24:56 am     Food     Comments: 42

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Comments ... #

Yikes - the couple wants to be franchisees, but they want other people to contribute $40K for their dream. Sounds like a recipe for financial disaster.

posted by historymike on Jan 18, 2014 at 05:53:23 am     #   1 person liked this

I saw that story on the news a while back. They have never run a restaurant before, need to borrow the money and want to move into a location where another restaurant failed. Great business plan, what could possibly go wrong?

posted by OldTimer on Jan 18, 2014 at 10:29:38 am     #   2 people liked this

Anyone know the location they are building out?

posted by upso on Jan 18, 2014 at 10:51:34 am     #  

I'd think you'd have to sell a whole lot of grilled cheese and soup to keep a restaurant open. Then again, when I was in the WI Dells this summer, I at a place that sold nothing but different mac and cheese and the place was packed. Having a few local brews on tap didn't hurt them either.

posted by SensorG on Jan 18, 2014 at 11:11:38 am     #  

If I remember correct, it was the old Quiznos at Dussel and Holland

posted by OldTimer on Jan 18, 2014 at 11:17:00 am     #  

Isn't that the dead restaurant zone? Thought someone had posted that location as being where no restaurant ever succeeds.

posted by MIJeff on Jan 18, 2014 at 11:32:15 am     #  

I've never been there, but http://paddyjacks.com
has a pretty similar business model and didn't they just close two locations?

I wonder how many other Tom & Chee locations had similar start up ventures with the "kickstarter" campaign. http://www.tomandchee.com/locations/

It should be noted, since they are using indiegogo instead of kickstarter, they get all of the money, regardless if they meet their goal or not. With Kickstarter.com you actually have to hit your goal to cash out.

posted by upso on Jan 18, 2014 at 11:50:16 am     #  

upso posted at 10:50:16 AM on Jan 18, 2014:

I've never been there, but http://paddyjacks.com
has a pretty similar business model and didn't they just close two locations?

I wonder how many other Tom & Chee locations had similar start up ventures with the "kickstarter" campaign. http://www.tomandchee.com/locations/

It should be noted, since they are using indiegogo instead of kickstarter, they get all of the money, regardless if they meet their goal or not. With Kickstarter.com you actually have to hit your goal to cash out.

I'd guess Paddyjacks' closing has more to do with poor management and quality of food than the business model. We've argued this all over the forum about that operator and his marginal skills.

Look at Melt in Cleveland. Wildly successful. Similar concept.

posted by slowsol on Jan 18, 2014 at 02:54:06 pm     #  

Huh.
I looked at the Tom + Chee menu. Ok, at least you can get other things. That's a good thing.

I looked at the locations. None around here. That's a good thing. However, the founders have received over 7,000 inquires. Uh oh.

I looked at their "fundraising" page. They have raised $75.00.
That's a bad thing. If they even had a "float," they will kill the float in the first month. Did anyone mention that there is a $35,000 franchise fee? Uh oh.

I looked at their location. That's a bad thing. And they have had unforeseen HVAC and electrical costs. Uh oh. There goes that float.

Then there is the fact that the entire world knows that they have zero restaurant experience whatsoever. That's a bad thing, and is probably a subconscious alienating factor for people who have had restaurant experience.

No reason to wish them anything but success, but it's not my cup of chee.
Hope a lot of you have a strong desire to support them. From the looks of their funding page, only three people have in the last week, with an average gift of $25.00 bucks.

I think the lady who is currently opening a Biggy at Parkway Plaza is going to rake it in, however. Drive-through coffee on the trail will work.

posted by justread on Jan 18, 2014 at 03:55:19 pm     #  

The closed Paddy Jack's were poor locations. Downtown Sylvania is nice, but not really a high traffic commercial strip like Central Avenue and Heatherdowns Boulevard. And Ottawa Lake!?! What's that home to, maybe 500 people? The owners/franchisees should agree on what type of locations they are going for and stick to the plan.

posted by mixman on Jan 18, 2014 at 04:02:22 pm     #  

Paddy Jack's downfall will be attributed to the "silent" people behind the scenes and those who promote it. They call the H-downs location their Maumee location, sure whatever. When people like Andrew Z promote you......well you know the rest

posted by Hoops on Jan 18, 2014 at 04:09:40 pm     #  

About the Tom + Chee sign... if the Grilled Cheese is on top, the restauarant should be called Chee + Tom. They need to switch that around. Once they work out their dyslexic logo and get their funding, I might eat there.

posted by mixman on Jan 18, 2014 at 04:10:27 pm     #  

I first learned about "grilled cheese" when I was a junior or senior in high school. One day, the high school cafeteria's menu board advertised grilled cheese. I thought, what in the hell is grilled cheese? How do you grill cheese?

But when I saw the food item, I recognized it by the only name that I had ever heard it called while growing up in eastern Ohio: "cheese toastwich." I never heard anyone call it grilled cheese. It was always cheese toastwich.

I still like a cheese toastwich with tomato soup. I like to dip my cheese toastwich in ketchup. But now I've upgraded the bread considerably to either my own naturally-leavened bread or bread from Zingerman's. Plus, much better cheeses.

Grumpy's sells a tasty cheese toastwich.

To me, grilled cheese means Cheese Racing.

How about a grilled cheese cheese toastwich truck?

posted by jr on Jan 18, 2014 at 05:58:19 pm     #   1 person liked this

opening a Biggy at Parkway Plaza

Hey, who stole my "b?" :D

posted by justread on Jan 18, 2014 at 06:03:01 pm     #  

justread posted at 02:55:19 PM on Jan 18, 2014:

Huh.
I looked at the Tom + Chee menu. Ok, at least you can get other things. That's a good thing.

I looked at the locations. None around here. That's a good thing. However, the founders have received over 7,000 inquires. Uh oh.

I looked at their "fundraising" page. They have raised $75.00.
That's a bad thing. If they even had a "float," they will kill the float in the first month. Did anyone mention that there is a $35,000 franchise fee? Uh oh.

I looked at their location. That's a bad thing. And they have had unforeseen HVAC and electrical costs. Uh oh. There goes that float.

Then there is the fact that the entire world knows that they have zero restaurant experience whatsoever. That's a bad thing, and is probably a subconscious alienating factor for people who have had restaurant experience.

No reason to wish them anything but success, but it's not my cup of chee.
Hope a lot of you have a strong desire to support them. From the looks of their funding page, only three people have in the last week, with an average gift of $25.00 bucks.

I think the lady who is currently opening a Biggy at Parkway Plaza is going to rake it in, however. Drive-through coffee on the trail will work.

I know the owner of the soon to open Biggby's Coffee at the corner of Anthony Wayne Trail and Detroit Ave. Wishing them lots of success. I'll be stopping by often. An easy off/easy on coffee shop on the inbound Trail seems like a winning idea.

posted by bucknut on Jan 18, 2014 at 06:07:39 pm     #   2 people liked this

bucknut posted at 05:07:39 PM on Jan 18, 2014:
justread posted at 02:55:19 PM on Jan 18, 2014:

Huh.
I looked at the Tom + Chee menu. Ok, at least you can get other things. That's a good thing.

I looked at the locations. None around here. That's a good thing. However, the founders have received over 7,000 inquires. Uh oh.

I looked at their "fundraising" page. They have raised $75.00.
That's a bad thing. If they even had a "float," they will kill the float in the first month. Did anyone mention that there is a $35,000 franchise fee? Uh oh.

I looked at their location. That's a bad thing. And they have had unforeseen HVAC and electrical costs. Uh oh. There goes that float.

Then there is the fact that the entire world knows that they have zero restaurant experience whatsoever. That's a bad thing, and is probably a subconscious alienating factor for people who have had restaurant experience.

No reason to wish them anything but success, but it's not my cup of chee.
Hope a lot of you have a strong desire to support them. From the looks of their funding page, only three people have in the last week, with an average gift of $25.00 bucks.

I think the lady who is currently opening a Biggy at Parkway Plaza is going to rake it in, however. Drive-through coffee on the trail will work.

I know the owner of the soon to open Biggby's Coffee at the corner of Anthony Wayne Trail and Detroit Ave. Wishing them lots of success. I'll be stopping by often. An easy off/easy on coffee shop on the inbound Trail seems like a winning idea.

Agreed. In fact, haven't they already had a soft opening?

posted by Ace_Face on Jan 18, 2014 at 09:33:40 pm     #  

the Tom & Chee Shark Tank episode

posted by justareviewer on Jan 19, 2014 at 11:49:52 am     #  

^ guess which one eats the Chee?

posted by justareviewer on Jan 19, 2014 at 11:51:06 am     #  

justread posted at 02:55:19 PM on Jan 18, 2014:

Huh.
I looked at the Tom + Chee menu. Ok, at least you can get other things. That's a good thing.

I looked at the locations. None around here. That's a good thing. However, the founders have received over 7,000 inquires. Uh oh.

I looked at their "fundraising" page. They have raised $75.00.
That's a bad thing. If they even had a "float," they will kill the float in the first month. Did anyone mention that there is a $35,000 franchise fee? Uh oh.

I looked at their location. That's a bad thing. And they have had unforeseen HVAC and electrical costs. Uh oh. There goes that float.

Then there is the fact that the entire world knows that they have zero restaurant experience whatsoever. That's a bad thing, and is probably a subconscious alienating factor for people who have had restaurant experience.

No reason to wish them anything but success, but it's not my cup of chee.
Hope a lot of you have a strong desire to support them. From the looks of their funding page, only three people have in the last week, with an average gift of $25.00 bucks.

I think the lady who is currently opening a Biggy at Parkway Plaza is going to rake it in, however. Drive-through coffee on the trail will work.

The $35K franchise fee is especially problematic since part of the justification for franchise fees is that the training that the franchisor provides at startup. The 4-year-old Tom + Chee organization has exactly nine open units, meaning that not only are the franchisors relatively new to their business but that they also have little experience training others.

The $600K the franchisors received from Shark Tank sounds like a lot of dough to people making $30-$40K a year, but that is hardly enough to pay for a single year of a bare-bones corporate staff. These two guys cannot possibly answer franchise inquiries, develop marketing plans, handle accounting, secure more financing, research new locations, train new franchisees, work on product R&D, supervise quality control, handle PR, and the myriad other corporate functions all by themselves.

If I were "Tim and Pam," I would walk - no, run - away from this idea.

The franchise fees they will pay are going into a giant suckhole of funds needed for rapidly expanding a franchised business, not for support for franchisees. The Tom+Chee owners claim that by the end of 2014 they want to be expaning at the rate of one new unit per week, meaning that they want to emphasize franchise growth over a more sensible blend of corporate units and franchise units that allows for a more gradual approach to support staff growth.

Now, the biggest problem I see with this business is that it is heavily lunch-oriented. While people can indeed eat sandwiches in any daypart, sandwich-oriented restaurants tend to be much slower in evenings than at lunch. Tom+Chee will need to diversify its menu to try and capitalize on breakfast and/or dinner customers to be a more viable franchise opportunity.

Then throw in a lack of a drive-through window, limited organizational knowledge (it really is just these two dudes, a few unit managers, and a handful of restaurant employees at the moment) and a unit design that screams "well-intentioned-but-clueless-amateur," and I do not see this as a successful franchisee opportunity at this time.

The whole point of becoming a franchisee is for a relative novice to use the expertise developed by the franchisor (plus the collective strength from pooling marketing resources) in a turn-key path to success. Unfortunately, a 9-unit sandwich shop chain with almost zero corporate franchising experience is IMHO a scary proposition.

Bottom line: there are completely different skill sets involved in operating a few restaurants versus running a corporate franchise system.

Oh, and maybe Trew and Corey should emphasize their last names; I cannot help but make the mental association between "Trew and Corey" and "Corey and Trevor" from Trailer Park Boys :

posted by historymike on Jan 20, 2014 at 11:13:55 am     #  

Two locations opening in the Columbus area:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/tom-chee-coming-to-pickerington-hilliard-aw1

posted by dell_diva on Feb 03, 2014 at 11:46:58 pm     #  

I've had Tom + chee in cinci. It's ok. A bit gimmicky. I like the concept fine, but with a low overhead/ high traffic situation. This is exactly the opposite. east of Perrysburg Holland is no mans land for lunch at arrowhead park. Also, the idea of grilled cheese and tomato soup isn't exactly reinventing the wheel.

f'in rookies in the restaurant business, they go and ruin it for everyone. What exactly is the franchise good for, a bunch of recipes and a cute name? They're better off buying a time share.

posted by ahmahler on Feb 04, 2014 at 12:03:34 am     #  

Good News - I see the sign is up and it looks like they are close to opening.

Bad News - Charlies is opening a bigger place right next door.

posted by Molsonator on Apr 25, 2014 at 09:15:06 am     #  

Saw this yesterday-that little plaza ought to be interesting-I'm curious at just how bad that location is-I suspect we're about to find out. The Kroger there doesn't really increase traffic because you can't turn left out of their lot onto Dussel.

posted by ahmahler on Apr 25, 2014 at 10:34:40 am     #  

ahmahler posted at 10:34:40 AM on Apr 25, 2014:

Saw this yesterday-that little plaza ought to be interesting-I'm curious at just how bad that location is-I suspect we're about to find out. The Kroger there doesn't really increase traffic because you can't turn left out of their lot onto Dussel.

The way they designed that Dussel entrance/exit to Kroger is annoying as hell.

posted by Ace_Face on Apr 25, 2014 at 12:28:33 pm     #  

That area is a mess. People ignore the "Do Not Turn" signs and turn anyways, both in and out of Krogers. The only way into that strip mall is to turn down the street next to Tim Horton's. Navigating during lunch hour is tough.

posted by Molsonator on Apr 25, 2014 at 12:29:38 pm     #  

It might be time for new life in that strip mall. The Chinese buffet and Quizno's were open for many years before closing. That wedge of Maumee roughly bordered by Conant/S. Reynolds, Holland and Dussel is becoming a food mecca... 19 restaurants with two more on the way.

posted by mixman on Apr 25, 2014 at 12:46:39 pm     #  

Traffic trying to get over to the turn lanes for the Turnpike makes it even more problematic.

posted by Molsonator on Apr 25, 2014 at 01:22:10 pm     #  

Sign at the door says opening May 9th.

posted by toddhuey on Apr 25, 2014 at 02:23:07 pm     #  

ahmahler posted at 10:34:40 AM on Apr 25, 2014:

Saw this yesterday-that little plaza ought to be interesting-I'm curious at just how bad that location is-I suspect we're about to find out. The Kroger there doesn't really increase traffic because you can't turn left out of their lot onto Dussel.

I just drive around the backside of the Kroger. There is another exit back there that lets your turn left.

posted by slowsol on Apr 26, 2014 at 08:44:10 am     #  

If anyone knows these guys... Have them ask for a refund on this weeks city paper ad.

No address or website listed :(

posted by upso on Jul 19, 2014 at 01:26:40 pm     #  

I saw that too, upso. Pricey size ad for them to make that mistake.

posted by Molsonator on Jul 19, 2014 at 03:13:31 pm     #  

The ad is aimed at smart phone users, maybe they're smart enough to get the addy off their phone? Just sayin, :)

posted by nana on Jul 19, 2014 at 09:12:49 pm     #  

Yeah nana? Where's the QR code? Texting=no smartphone needed.

posted by ahmahler on Jul 19, 2014 at 10:50:56 pm     #  

It appears to be a campaign to build a database of numbers that they can text offers back out to, rather than a campaign to drive foot traffic directly. The City Paper is cheap, and the outcome of the campaign in terms of constituent acquisition is measurable.

posted by justread on Jul 20, 2014 at 07:51:00 am     #  

I would be hesitant to place all the blame on the CP. I'd be curious to know if the Tom + Chee owners saw a proof of the ad before it went to press. If they signed off on the ad, than blame (if any) rest squarely with the restaurant owners.

posted by daddyg on Jul 20, 2014 at 08:20:18 am     #  

Trust me justread, the CP does not want there to be an absolute measurable way to illustrate response.

My guess is CP has this going on with a group of advertisers as a way to build a CP list.

If Tom Chee did this on their own it was a waste of money.

posted by Molsonator on Jul 20, 2014 at 08:33:00 am     #   2 people liked this

Not knowing the intent, goal, outcome or cost it would be hard to say.

Shrug.

posted by justread on Jul 20, 2014 at 09:34:15 am     #   2 people liked this

I think nana's right ... people who have smarter phones than mine don't need to be spoon-fed their information. I get annoyed when I see an ad that doesn't mention a location -- info that would be helpful for potential new customers. But I'm old-fashioned and I'm not surfing my phone all day.

We went to T + C for supper. For me, a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich has always seemed like an ideal evening meal. The menu is relatively diverse, and I found several things I'd like to try on the next visit.

posted by viola on Jul 20, 2014 at 08:18:46 pm     #  

justread posted at 09:34:15 AM on Jul 20, 2014:

Not knowing the intent, goal, outcome or cost it would be hard to say.

Shrug.

WHAT?!! This is ToledoTalk. Our default is to leap to conclusions based on little to no evidence. That's what we DO. Don't mess it up for the rest of us. :(

posted by endcycle on Jul 21, 2014 at 08:49:53 am     #   5 people liked this

That's funny stuff endcycle. ^^^^^^

posted by Molsonator on Jul 21, 2014 at 10:07:07 am     #  

Finally tried Tom+Chee at the taste of Maumee. Good stuff. Half a sandwich was $3 which was nice. You didn't have to drop a lot of money to try it. Fresh bread makes the difference. Good stuff!

posted by Molsonator on Aug 16, 2014 at 02:02:51 pm     #