Many people separate their work from their family and personal lives. But, for family-owned businesses, this distinction doesn’t exist – which comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.
Capriotti’s franchise partner Kim Schneese embodies the unique interplay of working in a family environment. She grew up in a small town in Delaware, spending most days at the original, family-owned Capriotti’s on Union Street, where her mother worked.
“My mother Linda was the only non-family member that worked at Capriotti’s at the time,” Kim said. “She was good friends with the founder – which is how she found her way there – doing a lot of the bookkeeping. From the time I was ten years old, I basically lived there.”
From Small-Town Favorite to National Brand
When Kim’s mother started working at Capriotti’s, it was a small mom-and-pop sub shop in the Little Italy neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware. The restaurant’s founder, Lois Margolet, was just 28 when she quit her job at Military Base Management and took out a $13,000 bank loan to purchase the small storefront underneath her apartment and open a restaurant. She and her brother Alan decided to name the restaurant after their grandfather, Phillip Capriotti, who loved to cook.
With just a little more than $2,000 to get the restaurant running, Lois and her brother relied on other family members to help out. Although sandwich shops were plentiful in their neighborhood, they were determined to stand out from competitors by serving the highest-quality ingredients. Lois and Alan began roasting whole fresh turkeys overnight and serving their fresh meats and cheeses with delicious rolls and produce – showing a commitment to quality food that did not go unnoticed.
The restaurant became increasingly popular, and, to accommodate widespread demand, began franchising in 1987. Capriotti’s is now a national franchise with more than 100 locations – but Kim and her mother never forgot their hometown’s love for the little sandwich shop.
Kim spent much of her childhood at the flagship Capriotti’s and worked there during high school and college. Ten years after Capriotti’s started franchising, Kim’s mother bought her own location in Silver Side, Delaware.
“It was their fourth store open, and my mother bought it from the original franchisors,” Kim said. “We jointly owned it and worked there together. Before my mom bought the location, I was working at a bank and didn’t have much time to spend with family, so it was a welcome change.”
Kim had a four-year-old son and enjoyed the flexibility she had as a joint-owner in the restaurant, since it freed up some time for her to spend with her son. It also allowed her to work alongside her mother – for the very same family-owned brand she grew up with.
“I liked the consistency and stability of it,” Kim said. “Even now, our guests get the same thing for their money that they got 40 years ago. The quality of the food is still phenomenal – and we still roast our turkeys overnight – which cannot be said for many other restaurants that have been around for a while, or for other franchises in general. I’m so proud to be part of Capriotti’s and their great reputation.”
The Next Generation
Kim’s mother got sick in 2015, and Kim took over as sole owner. Her son, who is now 24, worked there as a teenager, and her 17-year-old daughter still works at the restaurant during the summer.
Kim’s restaurant has been No. 1 in sales for the past 10 years, and she is planning to open her second location in Wilmington, Delaware, this year.
“Since our first location was so successful, expanding to a second location is the natural next step,” Kim said. “But, even more than that, I just couldn’t imagine someone else owning the Wilmington location. I’ve lived here my whole life, and Capriotti’s has been such a big part of my life and my family that it just felt right.”
To learn more about franchise opportunities with a values-driven brand, contact us at 702-374-4746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.