It’s your neighbourhood one-of-a-kind gourmet sandwich shop.
But here’s the catch—there are 12 others around New York City, one in Las Vegas, and one in San Francisco.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT
‘wichcraft, whose mission is to make sandwiches the way chefs make food, has seen remarkable success in its sandwich-making endeavours; filling a unique void in New York City’s food-to-go space.
Rising to be one of the most popular eating spots for those who crave quality, delicious food, ‘wichcraft’s impressive Bundle score of 99 piqued our interest. We uncover its story below.
‘wichcraft Score Breakout
“Our menu stands out because of the taste,” says co-owner Jeffrey Zurofsky, who has had a passion for food and cooking since he was eight years old. “Our food is made and seasoned the way chefs work. We don’t rely on anyone else to flavour our food; it’s not about buying a prepared product from someone else. It’s about our technique for doing things the way that chefs do.”
Zurofsky, along with ‘wichcraft partners Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar, landed his first life-changing restaurant gig at the renowned Union Square Cafe, describing it as “heaven.” By the time he was age 28, Zurofsky acquired valuable restaurant and business experience and found himself, Colicchio, and Ortuzar all on the same page—and thus ‘wichcraft was born.
WHY IT DOES WELL
Zurosfky simplified ‘wichcraft’s core by explaining that its classic and ever-popular slow-roasted pork sandwich is effectively the slow-roasted pork entree from Colicchio’s highly-rated fine dining restaurant Craft, plus a few garnishes and two slices of bread.
“We make fresh, high-quality products, off-site. We put the pork in the oven before we leave at night, at our commissary [where all of ‘wichcraft’s food is cooked], and when the staff returns 12 hours later, they pull it out and it’s falling off the bone. Then they cool it down, and they pack it up into a package that goes to the stores. That’s our product.” Zurofsky says.
The company’s 15 locations are all thriving. ‘wichcraft’s thoughtful business plan behind opening a new venture is unsurprisingly not an arbitrary decision.
“We have a funnel that we put every decision through in the company,” Zurofsky explains. “The first and most heavily weighted question is, ‘Do we like it?’ That’s it. The second most important question is, ‘Will our customers like it?’ The third question to ask is, ‘Is it profitable?’ and then it goes, ‘Is it scalable?’ Meaning, can it be done well everywhere? If all the answers are yes, then it’s a recipe for success.”
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT
Zurofsky disagrees with the “argument in business that in order to make things efficient you have to rubber stamp everything and make it look all cookie cutter.” ‘wichcraft tried that in a few locations, and the results were clear: those stores—specifically those located in Midtown, NYC—are not their most successful.“I think they are probably not our most successful stores because there’s less character to them,” Zurofsky says. “Our customers like what we do because we’ve given a lot of thought to it – especially the food.”
Many businesses put the customers’ needs and demands at a top priority, but ‘wichcraft does things differently. Though they strongly believe their customers are very important, Zurofsky explained that “We don’t want our innovation to be driven by reacting to a trend or a fad… We believe our customers like us because they trust our taste.”
‘wichcraft’s focus on product quality and consistency has played a vital role in the company’s success. Zurofsky states that “If you have a desirable, craveable product, I think people are always going to react well to it.”
THE BUNDLE TAKEAWAY
What we learned: ‘wichcraft does well because of product quality. It never compromises, is always consistent, and the customer is confident in spending decisions.
What surprised us: The answer to the title of this piece: Yes, it is possible to make a gourmet food-to-go shop mainstream. ‘wichcraft has done that and more, and continues to be a great example of doing something well that hasn’t been done before.
Technique takeaway: As a business owner, believe in your customers, but remember to believe in yourselves too. As Zurofsky put so well, “we believe our customers like us because we’ve liked something first.” Once you’ve built a strong foundation of trust, it’s only upwards from there.
See ‘Wichcraft photos below:
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