Grab a sandwich and go like the Brits

[attach]5849[/attach]Inspired by his British roots, Richard Fogel decided to bring London’s popular grab-and-go sandwich shop concept to the city.

“I’m originally from the UK and this is very popular back in Europe,” he says. “It’s done everywhere and there really wasn’t anything quite like what we have in England, here in Toronto. People have always been talking about it so I decided to bring my own version and bring it here.”

Aimed at the nearby business community, Panier Rouge, which opened on Yonge south of St. Clair in April, offers a selection of paninis, wraps, salads, baguettes and sushi ready for takeout.

“Everything is made fresh here every day and the whole experience is that we value people’s time and you don’t have to wait,” he says. “You’re in and out within 60 to 90 seconds from the time you pick up an item, unless it’s a toasty that we have to toast for you.”

With food being prepared by chefs Anne Conway and Alex Miragliotta, Fogel says his goal is for people to understand pre-made food can taste good and be healthy when it’s made with non-processed and fresh ingredients.

“They’re used to going and getting stuff made in front of them, which really isn’t that great, some of it is all processed,” he says. “That’s something that we don’t want and the experience again is to have great food, quick and on the go.”

Although his goal is to open other locations across the city, he decided to open the first store in the area because he felt there was a need for it.

“We’re only open Monday to Friday during business hours 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. so really it’s a corporate environment that we’re after,” he says. “So there’s no seating in this store or anything else like that.”

Fogel says the name Panier Rouge, which in French means red basket, was derived from picnic baskets.

“It was just a name that we thought was conducive to having sandwiches in boxes,” he says, adding they donate any leftover food to charities at the end of the day.

Having run several businesses in the past, Fogel says he learned staff members are his most important assets and thrives on making everyone feel like an equal part of the team.

“If you treat them great, they’ll treat their customers and their job in a better respect than normal in my view and that’s what I believe,” he says.