Since the pandemic, restauranteurs have had to get creative. Some turned to technology, others revamped menus, but Freddy Smith did something much more unique. He decided to open his Ike Sandwich shops in his existing Fabulous Freddy’s mega car wash shops in Utah.
For the past 1 ½ years, Smith has been reaping the rewards of that decision, turning his car washes into a destination. In fact, many Ike’s customers come in solely for the restaurant, not a car wash.
“My goal as an owner is to provide a fabulous experience for our guests, and having Ike’s here accomplishes that,” said Smith.
Additionally, he cross-trains employees so any employee can work at Ike’s, run the convenience store, or the car wash. This has helped Smith have far less of a labor issue than other restaurants during the post-pandemic. He is also able to develop cross-promotions between Ike’s and the car wash, benefiting both businesses.
Smith operates two Ike locations in Utah, one in Las Vegas, and two more sets to open this year.
Initially, Smith wanted to become a franchisee of a burger or Mexican restaurant, but when he was introduced to Ike’s through Fransmart, he was sold.
“I loved how hands-on Ike was,” he said. “He makes his sandwiches stand out with creative names, their size, and the focus on quality, hand-picked ingredients. Since becoming a franchisee the support I’ve received has been amazing. Whenever I need anything I can pick up the phone and call Ike directly.”
If you’re working on any stories about the continuing challenges restaurants face post-pandemic, Freddy Smith’s story about how getting creative has paid off big during this time period can inspire other restaurateurs and entrepreneurs. I’m happy to arrange an interview with Freddy as well as provide high-res imagery