Chris Shimer, 36, had a fantastic career as an electrical engineer at a nuclear power plant. He rose through the ranks into supervisory and managerial positions. But after nearly 15 years, something wasn’t sitting right with him. He felt the encroachment of burnout from working all of the time and knew something had to change.
“I was making a lot of money, but I was not satisfied,” Shimer told Philly Grub about his former career. “I always dreamed of getting into the food business.”
Shimer, a Baltimore native, who lives in Royersford, PA, had known about Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop for about ten years. The Wilmington, DE-based company started in 1976 and now boasts 112 company-owned and franchise locations in 16 states, including the District of Columbia.
Having no prior restaurant experience, he felt opening and operating a franchise would be the best introduction to the restaurant business. Already a fan, he decided to reach out to them to learn more about franchising a Capriotti’s.
Impressed by the company culture, support, and resources, he decided it was the right fit for him to open a Capriotti’s. Last year, he spent a few months at the franchise headquarters in Las Vegas learning the fundamentals of running a Capriotti’s franchise, from the day-to-day business operations to the financials. He also trained in food safety, management best practices and learned all of the technology needed to run the business. He had hands-on experience in actual stores with a dedicated trainer.
He knew opening a brick-and-mortar during a pandemic wasn’t a good idea. He decided going the ghost kitchen route would be the best way to get him started. He opened the Capriotti’s inside of North Center Food Nest, a shared ghost kitchen space at 13th & Girard, in October 2020.
“It’s been great and challenging,” Shimer spoke of the first few months of being open. “The hardest part is staffing. Finding people who want to work right now is not easy.”
Fortunately, Shimer has recently hired a promising general manager who will be pivotal as he plans to expand and open new franchises in the area.
“I plan to own at least five Capriotti’s franchises by the end of 2022,” he said.
Shimer’s second Capriotti’s will open as a brick-and-mortar in Royersford by the end of May.
“I’m looking at a few other locations in the region for Capriotti’s right now. Eventually, I would love to branch out and own a sit-down restaurant with a bar,” Shimer added.
Capriotti’s known for its roasted Butterball turkey sandwiches has also added American Wagyu beef to its menu in both hot and cold sandwiches.
“The Bobbie is the best-selling sandwich,” Shimer explained. The Thanksgiving-in-a-bun flagship sandwich includes house-roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mayo.
Cheesesteaks, Italian-style, pastrami, sausage, homemade meatball, and tuna subs also feature on the sandwich menu. Vegetarians can choose cheesesteaks made with Impossible™ plant-based meat as well as subs made with sliced veggie turkey.
Capriotti’s also offers breakfast sandwiches, salads, fries, and desserts.
Catering and party trays are available.
Customers can place orders through Capriotti’s website or the 3rd party delivery services (Grubhub, Door Dash, UberEats, etc.)
Catering orders go through EZ Cater.