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4 Secret’s To Ike’s Place Sandwich Empire

Professor Savings Ike's Sandwich

Dear Professor Saving fans,

   Today I bring to you a special treat.

When I was in grammar school at Holy Name in San Francisco, I played kickball with Ike Shehadeh.  At that time, I would have never guessed he would build a sandwich empire and be the sandwich of choice of celebrities and athletes. 

Don’t take my word for it, Ike even gets publicity when he recently got married and was featured in SF Gate. Read about the love story Ike Shehadeh’s place is with his bride.

With the mile long lines, Ike’s Place is now a hit.

Now, Ike Shehadah now has fourteen restaurants in the Bay Area and has expanded to other states.

But things did not start off well.

Ike  opened his sandwich shop in the Castro district in Halloween of 2007 and he did not sell a single sandwich.

Hard to imagine right?

   Not surprisingly, he closed shop and was depressed.

One week later rejuvenated, Ike opened his doors and his sandwiches became a hit and soon he could not keep up with instant flow of business.

  I got a good mentoring session with Ike around 2007 and now with twelve locations I caught up with him recently and he was kind enough to share some tips for our readers.

Professor Savings teaches daily money saving videos so today we want to be resourceful and share with you 4 Business Secrets from Ike Shahadeh himself.

  Often times, I have aspiring entrepreneurs who want to jump into the food and beverage industry so I asked Ike a few important questions.

Let’s jump right into his

 4 Secrets to Creating a Sandwich Empire


Q1 Professor Savings: What is one major key to your success?

Ike Shehadeh Mission: Make Perfection your goal. (while acknowledging there is only the idea of perfection and that it truly doesn’t exist.) So quality is the core focus.

What quote drives you to deliver great products? ”If you aren’t pissed-off for greatness, that means you are OK with being mediocre” -Ray Lewis

“Good” is the enemy of “Great”

Q2 Professor Savings: In San Francisco, there is so much competitors in the sandwich arena. What are your thoughts? There is no such thing as competition.

Ike Shehadeh Mission:There is enough to go around for *everyone*! Until I (or anyone else) figures out a way to serve, deliver, help 7 billion people, then there cannot be ‘competition.’. Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Apple, Wal-Mart, etc–even if they wanted to, they do not have the capacity to serve 7 billion people, so there is room for others.

Q3 Professorsavings: How to manage employees?

Ike Shehadeh Mission: I blame myself for them being there and then I get rid of them as quickly as possible.

There isn’t a single person that’s worth keeping around if they are going to be negative. Even if you are short staffed, you’ll see that just by not having anyone negative around, more will get done.

“When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer. When you realize everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both Peace and Joy.” -The Dalai Lama

Q4 How do you know when I’m ready to be an entrepreneur? 

Ike Shehadeh Mission: Make your move **before** you are ready. I infamously opened my first Ike’s without even having a permit. By the time, me and the City figured it out, it was nearly 3 years of being in business. Had I waited, I may be three years behind right now.


WHO IS Ike Shehadeh Mission?

“I’m here, making it OK for myself to be human and to make it OK for others to be human too. Would I like to lead the world to love itself through sandwiches, or would I rather just have an amazing sandwich restaurant? The answer is Love then Sandwiches through the G.I.F.T of Love.

Gratitude. Integrity. Fun. Teamwork. I am grateful for everything that I am given. Am I in alignment with what I am saying, what I am doing, and how I am feeling? Enjoy every moment of my life. Am I making others’ lives better? Together we are all better. There is no such thing as competition.

Love, Respect, & Appreciation

Love: Love first–even in the face of anything. Love my co-workers, my fans, food, myself, everyone else, where I live. Being in love with my life and every moment in it. Extending Love outward instead of passing judgments.

Respect: Respect everyone as if they are me, in fact, respect others more than I would want them to respect me.

Appreciation: Appreciate where I came from, where I am in my life right now and all of

the magical possibilities of the future. Everyone I encounter has a reason and a story–appreciate whatever they had to go through to get to being here, right in front of me right now.

I created Ike’s because I did not want anyone to tell me what I can or cannot do. I created Ike’s because I wanted to be free to be myself in a world that tells me that I cannot do things. I created Ike’s to be my own person. I continue to work at Ike’s because I believe in the realm of all possibilities and at Ike’s all is possible for me. I continue to work at Ike’s because I can be different and still accepted. I continue to work at Ike’s because I care about people and because I want to be loved.”


Takeaway:   Ike went through up’s and down’s as entrepreneur.  In order to be an entrepreneur, great people skills are needed. After all, we are dealing with people whether in your team or your customers.

Ike taught me to have leadership and own up to my mistakes.  If I hire a person who is not the right fit, I need to be responsible.  I often tell people that there is a big difference between ideal and realistic.

Especially being in the service industry be ready to solve problem.  After all, success is doing things others are not willing to do.

Thanks Ike Shehadeh Mission for taking time out of your business sandwich empire schedule,

Professor Savings,

Rayfil Wong



Ike’s Website:

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