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Unique Theme Gives Sandwich Franchise a Boost

This story appears in the June 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Scott Jennings had two goals when he decided to open a restaurant after graduating from Arizona State University 15 years ago. First, he wanted a place that didn't feel corporate and would make employees happy.

Second, he wanted something unique. "I'd worked in a lot of places in college, and everything was the same," Jennings says. "I wanted to shake things up."

His solution? A marijuana-theme sandwich shop called Cheba Hut. While sandwiches and stoners fit together like ... well, sandwiches and stoners, building a franchise empire around the theme seemed like a long shot. But Jennings is killing it. He has opened 16 Cheba Huts in Colorado, Arizona, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Iowa--mainly in college towns--and chalked up $10 million in sales last year from "toasted" subs named after varieties of pot. "People underestimate us," he says. "But we are dead serious about what we know--serving up good food in a place with a great experience."

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