The Creator of ‘The Best Sandwich in America’ Shares His Secrets to Success

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|August 30, 2012

Business is booming for Tommy DiNic’s, afamily-run sandwich stand at the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia that was established in 1954. Its roast pork, provolone and broccoli rabe sandwich was recently crowned the Best Sandwich in America by Travel Channel Man vs. Food host Adam Richman. Richman toured the country sampling 28 sandwiches, before naming DiNic’s creation the winner.

Soon after the show aired, the typical 10 minute wait for one of its signature sandwiches jumped 45-60 minutes, with lines snaking around the counter. Many entrepreneurs would capitalize on the instant fame and start drawing up plans for dozens of new stores nationwide. But, owner Tommy Nicolosi, is happy to grow his business right where he is.

I sat down with Tommy, after an obligatory hour-long wait for one of his award-winning sandwiches, and asked him for his thoughts on entrepreneurship, and the secret to his success.

Q: Has your recent success made you consider opening more stores?
A: My son (Joe) is working 60-70 hours a week and I’m still working 40-50. For me to take on the stress of another store, I’d be afraid that one good store would equal two bad ones, and “bad” or “mediocre” I’m not satisfied with. The only thing I’ve ever cared about is product quality — I’m always trying to improve the product, not expand our footprint.

Q: What do you see as the drawbacks to expansion?
A: The only way I’d open another location is if I had someone to run it that had a lot of Tommy DiNic’s experience. If he’s good, then I can give the sweat and the strain and the stress to him. But for me to do it at this point in time, there would be some loss of quality. As you can see…

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