Don’t try to tell Luis Arango or Jorge Castillo that hard work and determination don’t pay off.
Both young men turned entry-level jobs at Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip into their own thriving businesses, thanks to a winning combination of supportive mentorship, a strong restaurant concept and their own innate determination to succeed.
Castillo started working at Nestlé Toll House Café in 2008, after emigrating to the United States from Mexico City at the age of 16 to pursue his education. He began as a front-line employee at the Galleria Dallas, and when his manager quit, he was given the chance to operate the café himself.
“I had always taken care of the café is if it was my own, so when my boss left, they knew they could trust me to run it the right way,” said Castillo.
Earlier this year, when another franchise owner at the nearby Collin Creek Mall decided to sell his café, Castillo decided it was time to take the plunge into ownership.
With financing help from the seller, Castillo and his wife purchased the franchise and began the hard work of turning it around. Within their first three months, sales increased by 20 percent and the café became very profitable. He attributes his “overnight” success to being hands-on, working closely with his employees and following the simple operational steps prescribed by the franchisor.
“Nestlé Toll House Café is a really good concept and it’s fairly easy to operate; but like any business, you have to put your heart into it,” Castillo said. “I also think it’s very important to be there, on-site. No matter how much you pay your manager, he or she doesn’t care as much as you do as the owner.”
Castillo envisions expanding his ownership to two or three cafés in the Dallas area in the next few years.Arango began his career at Nestlé Toll House Café in December 2000, when local operator Jason Piltzmaker opened his first franchise location at the Galleria Houston. He worked his way up from assistant manager to general manager, then helped open Piltzmaker’s second café in 2003. Arango trained the employees and oversaw the new café’s operations while continuing in his GM role at the Galleria location.
In October 2011 – after earning a B.S. degree in Business Management (with a minor in Marketing) from the University of Houston in 2009 while continuing his jobs at Nestlé Toll House Café – Arango had the opportunity to take over an existing café at the Houston Premium Outlets in Cypress, Texas. And just like that, an entrepreneur was born.
Arango quickly turned around his new café and, four years later, it is one of the best-performing locations in the system. He still provides training to new hires and store managers in the Houston area, and helps out Piltzmaker whenever needed.
“Jason always supported my desire to start my own business some day, and I got a lot of great support from the headquarters team as well,” said Arango. “Now that I have my own café, I want to do my part to help others who are trying to follow a similar path.”
But Arango’s story doesn’t end there.
At Nestlé Toll House Café’s annual convention in Las Vegas earlier this year, he was awarded the rights to another café, with the initial franchisee fee waived. The native of Colombia, who came to the United States in 1999, is now scouting locations for his second location in the Houston area.
“Jorge and Luis are two of our young franchise superstars, and it’s interesting that their career paths are so similar,” said Scott McIntosh, vice president of franchise development for Nestlé Toll House Café. “We tell prospective franchisees all the time that all you need is a strong work ethic, a desire to succeed and a passion for the brand. Jorge and Luis are the perfect examples of that, and we are very fortunate to have them on our team. We’re looking for a few dozen more men and women just like them to write their own success stories at Nestlé Toll House Café.”
Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip is a premiere dessert and bakery café offering customers an unrivaled experience through the use of fine ingredients, indulgent creations, distinct flavor profiles, and the rich tradition of the very best Nestlé brands. Crest Foods Inc., franchisor of Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip, based in Richardson, Texas, is a premiere restaurant franchisor company. The company currently franchises nearly 150 bakery cafés in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. The versatile concept has kiosk, in-line mall and street café locations. The first café opened in 2000. Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine’s “Franchise 500” for the last nine consecutive years through 2015. For more information please visit nestlecafe.com.
Nestle and Toll House, and associated logos and designs, are trademarks of Societe des Produits Nestle S.A., and used by Crest Foods, Inc. with permission.