Originally published on Foodable on May 20, 2021.
On this episode of Emerging Brands, Ashley Morris, Chief Executive Officer of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and the newly acquired Wing Zone, talks about growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and going to school for finance. Morris shares how his best friend introduced him to Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop when he came home from school.
Ashley Morris was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Las Vegas. He went to school for finance and he started early in his career in financial services and portfolio management with Wells Fargo. While in college, his best friend Jason introduced Morris to Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop.
Morris gets around to going to Capriotti’s and because he had a love for cheese steaks, he orders the sandwich. Morris says, “This was the greatest cheese steak I had ever eaten of all the cheese steaks that I had eaten.” Morris became passionate about the food at Capriotti’s and sometimes would eat it twice a day!
While at Wells Fargo, Morris wanted to diversify and find a side business with his best friend. They both looked into Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop because they had a high passion for the food and business. They became franchisees in 2003, and two years later they were building their third.
When it becomes clear to Morris that Capriotti’s was his true passion, he goes back to the founder’s wanting a larger territory. Through their negotiations Morris ends up acquiring Capriotti’s and becomes the franchisor in 2008, owning the entire company.
Morris talks about the overall philosophy and the rebranding of Capriotti’s as well as the total economic meltdown ninety days after the purchase of Capriotti’s. Their business plans at that point had gone out the window, forcing them to survive instead of grow and thrive. Learn why company values became the driving force for their vision.
Morris talks about the big picture, says the future of Capriotti’s is on track to be a national brand within five years and the pieces are in place for a successful franchise organization. He discusses how the acquisition of Wing Zone came about and the plans to continue growing.