March 7, 2023

11: The Story of Ike’s (Part 1) | Ike Shehadeh, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches

11: The Story of Ike’s (Part 1) | Ike Shehadeh, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches

“I’m working LESS now with a hundred locations than I did with one… It’s a MYTH that it’s hard to expand.” - Ike Shehadeh
Imagine the following…

> You’ve been kicked out of college

> Your first business goes broke and you become homeless

> While working three jobs to make ends meet, you decide to open a sandwich shop

> On your first day no one comes. You sell zero sandwiches

> It takes you 3 months just to make more than $300 in gross sales per day

What do you do from here?

Well friends, this is the real life beginning of Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, a now iconic sandwich chain with nearly 100 locations throughout the Western US.

I recently sat down with Ike’s founder Ike Shehadeh to learn about how he overcame these challenges early in life to build such a beloved brand and successful business.

And Ike really BRINGS IT 🔥

His story and perspective is so fascinating, I had to break the interview up into two parts.

Here’s Part 1. Get ready to have your frame altered.


Where to find Ike’s Sandwiches:


Where to find Ike:


Where to find Bryan:


Where to find Kitava:



In this episode, we cover:

  • (02:25) Getting kicked out of college and foreshadowing his path to opening Ike’s
  • (05:40) Ike’s early entrepreneurial journey, failures, & becoming homeless
  • (08:05) How Ike got back on his feet after losing everything
  • (13:00) The tactic he used to talk Victoria’s Secret into hiring him
  • (16:45) To find meaningful work, ask: “what do I love to do that I’m already doing right now?”
  • (19:54) How the concept of Ike’s first restaurant came to be
  • (22:49) Where Ike’s crazy sandwich names came from
  • (24:22) Ike’s Earth-shattering Day One gross sales number
  • (25:36) The day that changed Ike’s life
  • (31:04) How long it took for Ike to pay himself
  • (32:15) The creative ways Ike generated more business when they weren’t making money
  • (36:34) Wants vs. needs
  • (39:10) The idea of Dynamic Value – what differentiates you that makes you unique?
  • (43:25) Stumbling upon the dynamic value of “caring more”
  • (50:51) How embracing the role of “Be Sexy” allowed Ike to open a second location