How One Restaurant Chain Rides the Green Wave

June 15, 2021
Barbara Castiglia

Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.

 

Established in 1998, Cheba Hut is the first marijuana-themed sandwich “joint” that provides customers with made-to-order food in an eclectic fast-casual environment. Seth Larsen, Chief Relationship Officer of Cheba Hut joined host Barbara Castiglia for an in-depth conversation about the Cheba Hut experience, their franchise operations, the impact of the pandemic, and how marijuana legalization is changing the company’s plans for growth.

With a focus on fresh food and incredible service, Cheba Hut has thirty-five locations across twelve states. Larsen points to a ‘green wave’ during the last twenty years that has made marijuana and marijuana culture more palatable to consumers. While there has been some pushback on the theme over the years, Larsen notes the company’s successes with converting customers who might be uncomfortable initially.

“We really put our franchisees up to our core values. We have the hustle, show respect, own it, pay it forward, and keep it real.” – Seth Larsen

Larsen started with the company as a franchisee and sees the company’s commitment to food quality as one of the main attractions of the brand. “At the end of the day, we’re all foodies. We’ve never gone backward on quality, only forwards even if it meant more money,” Larsen said.

When it comes to finding the right franchisees and expanding their locations, Cheba Hut focuses on values. “We really put our franchisees up to our core values. We have the hustle, show respect, own it, pay it forward, and keep it real. Nice and simple,” Larsen said. “That’s made it really easy for us to identify who’s going to be a good fit.”

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