Deli Delicious Franchise Expands To Sacramento Area

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fresno's Deli Delicious sandwich shop has come a long way since opening its first shop at Bullard and Blackstone avenues in 1996.

The franchise now has 20 stores, including its latest location in Citrus Heights near Sacramento, which has nothing, but rave reviews on Yelp. Great customer service and fresh ingredients are the most common reviews.

And, it's not stopping there. The maker of hot, cold and specialty subs is continuing its Sacramento area expansion with a planned Roseville location.

Locally, the restaurants can be found in Fresno, Visalia and Madera. One of the newest locations is at 2380 W. Cleveland Ave. in Madera.

About 60 percent of the franchisees are owner-operators. And about 40 percent are investors.

As Deli Delicious grew, so did its lineup of submarine sandwiches. It now has 47 subs on its menu from ham and salami to blue buffalo chicken. It also makes hamburgers, fries, salads and soups.

Along with a big selection of subs, Deli Delicious president Mohammad Hobab wanted to offer an upscale, but relaxed deli experience. And he insisted on using the best possible ingredients in his subs.

Deli Delicious continues to make improvements to its menu presentation and offerings, store design and the level of service it provides to its customers.

"Our products are the highest quality meats and cheeses, sliced in our restaurants," said Ali Nekumanesh, advisor for Deli Delicious.

Hobab came to the U.S. from Iran where he worked as a banker. He was initially educated as an engineer. But after arriving in America, Hobab saw opportunity in offering quality subs to sandwich lovers. Although Deli Delicious was not an overnight success, Hobab and his team remained committed and succeeded as a popular local restaurant.

It has also been a family affair from the start. Starting out making sandwiches and sweeping the floor, son Hadi is now chief operating officer and son Hesam is chief financial officer.

Deli Delicious is also in a crowded space, having to compete against Subway and Quiznos, the giants of the submarine sandwich industry. Hobab was determined to keep his business growing through superior service and attention to detail.

"It took years and many struggles to get it going," Nekumanesh said.

Once Hobab's restaurant became popular, he began plans to offer franchises to entrepreneurs in the greater Fresno area and around Sacramento.

The company plans to move its franchises into nearby states following its effort to penetrate the greater Sacramento area. "In fact, our general plan calls for us to be the largest regional premium deli restaurant by the year 2019," Nekumanesh said.

He said one Sacramento franchise has opened and another that will feature Deli Delicious and a Colorado Grill restaurant in the same location will open in late April or early May.

Jasdeep Rhawanda and Arvin Tanu, both of Fresno, are partners in the first Sacramento Deli Delicious restaurant. It has been open for nearly three months.

"We've had good response," Rhawanda said, adding that he will be relocating to Sacramento.

He is a business major at Fresno State and will graduate this summer.

Bill Schwartz, owner of Geno's Sandwiches & Salads in Fresno, said that it helps franchisees when a company like Deli Delicious provides direction and equipment.

"They've got the hang of it with a program that can be carried out," Schwartz said.

Schwartz said he received help when he started Geno's Sandwiches & Salads 34 years ago. He took over an existing business at 1615 E. Ashlan Ave. that already had a following.

"It makes it a lot easier," Schwartz said.

In developing plans for franchises, Deli Delicious decided on two restaurant models. One is the express model and the other, the standard model.

The express model is designed for serving food in smaller or non-traditional locations like hotels and airports. It can be as small as 450 square feet depending on location.

The standard model is a larger shop spanning about 1,300 square feet and ideally suited for malls other popular retail locations.

Deli Delicious offers help with site selection.

Training is provided to bring the new franchise owner up to speed on how to run a Deli Delicious restaurant. It includes 14 days of classroom and hands-on training.

"We strive to ensure our franchisees are good operators and become better and more informed business people through the ongoing training and development seminars offered to our franchisees and their staff," Nekumanesh said.

He added that Deli Delicious is supported by a group of restaurant professionals, including sales, operations and training teams.

"The cost of entry is affordable and the return on investment has thus far been generally quite favorable," Nekumanesh said.

To be a franchise owner, an investment of $100,600 to $187,800 is necessary for the express model and $190,350 to $359,150. The estimated investment includes three months of working capital.

Franchise owners pay a franchise fee of $15,000 for the express model and $20,000 for the standard model.

Besides providing tasty sandwiches, Deli Delicious places importance on providing healthy ingredients. "Our research and development team is consistently working to stay on top of the healthy foods trend and adjusting the menu as is necessary," Nekumanesh said.

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