By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Sep 30, 2021 at 10:01 AM

The Midwest-based sandwich shop Erbert Gerbert’s is coming back from the pandemic shutdown with an eye for growth.

In fact, the brand – which was established in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1988 – is working toward a multi-year plan to double its store count and profits through a variety of efforts including a refocused menu, new branding and a refreshed store design along with best in class 24/7 restaurant support.

“We are pulling out of the pandemic with a game plan to accelerate growth through improved efficiency, increased quality, and enhanced customer service,” noted Erbert & Gerbert’s CEO and President Eric Wolfe in a release about the brand’s plans, which fall in line with industry predictions for strong growth in fast food and quick service restaurants.

“We are outpacing the market recovery by 10%, thanks to our ability to be nimble, respond quickly to consumer needs, and deliver the products our loyal fans value the most. We also offer an incredible business opportunity for those seeking to pivot jobs. Many people are reconsidering priorities right now and owning a franchise is the perfect opportunity to become your own boss and start a new, rewarding career.”

Back to basics

Wolfe says the pandemic prompted Erbert & Gerbert’s to refocus on what it does best: offering bold-tasting sandwiches on their signature bread, along with their popular soups.

To do so, they’ve simplified their menu, improving efficiency in operations. They will also be launching a slate of limited time offerings (among them will be a bold twist on their The Northern Cheesesteak in November).

At the same time, they doubled down on things like online and mobile ordering, take-out, in-store, and third-party delivery. The company is also in the process of enhancing its mobile app, which includes a robust loyalty program.

To facilitate the expansion, Erbert & Gerbert's has hired Tyler Schwecke, a Jimmy John’s alum, as their director of operations. Schwecke is responsible for streamlining and enhancing the operations of the brand in its current restaurants, as well as 18 new locations expected to open this year in locations like Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

“We have a labor model that works within the current climate, which is supporting our expansion,’ says Schwecke. “As a Midwestern company we’re excited to grow here in the Midwest with a mix of franchise and corporate stores.”

In conjunction with the growth, Erbert’s & Gerberts is expected to roll out a new “out of this world” store design later this year, as well as an entirely new consumer-focused shop concept.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.