The Product: CHEESEWICH
As an Italian, Greek and Polish kid growing up in Chicago, one thing I learned how to do was eat. Home Run Inn Pizza, Italian Beefs (hot, sweet, wet), Chicago Dogs, Polish Dogs, Italian Sausage, Gyros – what could be better?
At snack time, it was not unusual to grab a slice of hard salami or pepperoni and wrap some provolone around it. That is just the way we ate. Little did I know, my future friends from Michigan Avenue to Rodeo Drive would be clamoring for the same protein laden snacks that I grew up on – all because of the keto diet.
Fishing for a good idea
Tony Migacz combined a passion for food with his entrepreneurial energy to develop CHEESEWICH, a creative, high-protein snack producer that is enjoying rapid growth in grocery, c-stores, vending and micro markets. Tony is president of the company, a concept that he thought of 17 years ago when he was fishing. “The bread on my sandwich got wet,” he said, so he had to eat the salami and cheese by itself. The CHEESEWICH idea was born. True story.
Tony was unable to find a third party to develop the product line, so after sitting on the idea for a decade, six years ago, he launched CHEESEWICH on his own. CHEESEWICH generated over $1.5 million in sales the first year and Tony is expecting to exceed the $8 million dollar mark in 2021, with total sales for the company over $21 million.
“The Atkins diet was popular when I thought of this idea for high-protein, low-carb snacks,” Tony said. “Now we have the keto diet which has really helped our growth.” His CHEESEWICH products have enjoyed rave reviews among keto followers on YouTube and other social media outlets.
With or without the “keto factor,” Tony has developed a perfect grab-and-go product. His snacks are substantial, flavorful, high-protein, low-carb and gluten-free – a series of adjectives that will generate brisk sales in vending and micro market locations.
The products and the taste test
For operators, there are several choices to consider. Of course, doing what I do best, I tasted them all.
Top sellers are the actual CHEESEWICH sandwiches » two slices of cheese with salami, vacuum packed, without the bread. All of these are delicious and satisfying.
- Colby Jack and Salami
- Pepper Jack and Salami
- Cheddar and Salami
- Provolone and Salami
My absolute favorite products:
- The New Breakfast Taco – Turkey bacon, Colby Jack cheese, an egg patty and a flour tortilla. A delicious breakfast sandwich after just 25 seconds in the microwave.
- The Uncured Turkey Baconwich – All-natural uncured turkey bacon wrapped around mozzarella cheese. According to Tony, the product quality shines through here due to their low moisture, heartier string cheese and all-natural turkey bacon.
Two other new products are designed specifically for cheese lovers. The Double Play, Colby Jack and Pepper Jack (two blocks of cheese) and The Triple Play, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack and Cheddar (three blocks of cheese) feature fresh, all-natural Wisconsin cheese.
Always looking ahead
CHEESEWICH is a family-run operation. Tony’s son and daughter are part of the management team in a company that now has about 40 employees. What is next in their product pipeline?
“We have done plenty in the last year, but I think maybe later this year we are going to introduce the ‘CHEESEWICH Wafflewich’ with the maple syrup right in there,” Tony said. “Two waffles, egg patty, cheese and turkey bacon.”
While the CHEESEWICH Wafflewich might not resonate with the keto community, for everyone else, this future creation sounds like another tasty success story.
Bob’s Perspective: Why CHEESEWICH makes sense for operators
Riding a strong trend » The keto diet is providing a nice boost for CHEESEWICH and other high-protein snack providers. According to the Kerry Digest and Grandview Research, the keto market size is only increasing.
- “Having only become mainstream in recent years, Keto is now well known around the globe, with everyone from athletes to self-help gurus adopting the high-protein, low-carb style of eating.
- Projections value the keto market as having a compounded annual growth rate of 5.5% and reaching $15.64 billion dollars by 2027.”
Operators need to jump on board and capitalize on this trend.
Growth » CHEESEWICH is enjoying 30% annual growth and has a knack for rolling out successful products. In fact, the Colby Jack and Salami CHEESEWICH is featured in over 8000 Walgreens. The new Breakfast Taco is a guaranteed hit.
Satisfying the underserved » As a vending or micro market operator, any time you can find a product that will bring in new customers and new dollars, it is a big win. This is one of my favorite themes and without question, the high protein, low carb customers are currently underserved.
CHEESEWICH can deliver new clients for breakfast (The Taco), for lunch (CHEESEWICH Sandwich) and at breaktime (The Uncured Turkey Baconwich) – all of which will result in added operator revenue.
The logistics work
- The products are shipped refrigerated.
- Shelf life is outstanding. Up to a year (but that will not be an issue).
- The products are being sold at premium retail prices, from $2.25 to $2.50, leaving plenty of margin.
- Distribution is nationwide. Contact your local Vistar representative.
Samples are available
Tony loves to promote CHEESEWICH and see his customers succeed because of his products. Samples are always available. This is the type of product that can sell a micro market account on its own, especially if the decision maker loves flavorful food as much as I do.
Tony Migacz can be reached at [email protected] or (708) 458-3100 x6.
Visit cheesewich.net for additional information.
ABOUT BOB TULLIO
Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio (www.tullioB2B.com) is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. Tullio recently launched a YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in two minutes” and is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.
As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q&A webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.