A man and a woman standing in front of a display of food at a restaurant.
Starting a business

Grandma Loves You: How Artin and Sarah Davoodi spread love through sandwiches, one bite at a time

Behind every small business is a 'big why' – the reason they started their company in the first place and what motivates them to keep going, even when times get tough. Intuit QuickBooks is proud to support Canadian small businesses through every step of their journey and is pleased to celebrate companies doing remarkable things in this “Small Business, Big Why" series.

While there's no shortage of sandwich shops amid the hustle and bustle of Toronto, one stands out among the rest — Grandma Loves You. Run by a husband and wife team, this beloved eatery has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike, earning a spot on Yelp's list of 100 Top Places to Eat in Canada and being featured on The Globe and Mail as the number one sandwich business in the country. Behind its success are passionate owners Artin and Sarah Davoodi, an Armenian couple who recently immigrated to Canada from Iran via Germany.

Turning a dream into reality

The origins of Grandma Loves You can be traced back to 2015, when Sarah was pregnant with their first son, Leonas. Fueled by their desire to create a workplace where they could spend quality time together as a family, the idea of opening a café or restaurant was born. This led to the birth of Grandma Loves You in 2018 — an eatery that would soon become a cherished part of the Toronto community.

The challenges of a new beginning

For Artin and Sarah, starting their new venture in Canada was not without its difficulties. Not only were they stepping into a new business, but they were also acclimatizing to a new country.

"We had to learn about what the people of Toronto liked to eat and it honestly took us a while," says Artin. “We wanted to create a place where people are welcomed and love to come back. We had to create food items that are fresh, filling, taste homemade, and still unique enough to bring people in from all over the GTA to our little neighbourhood in Rosedale."

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The pandemic pivot

Soon after purchasing the business, the Davoodis faced an unexpected challenge — the Covid-19 pandemic. Overnight, they had to rethink their entire strategy. Undeterred, they transformed their shop, formerly part convenience store and part seating area, into a take-out sandwich space.

Drawing from their experiences living in Germany, the Davoodis infused their sandwich recipes with German-inspired flavours, coupled with a Middle Eastern twist. They also added themed hot dogs to the menu, inspired by trips to their favorite countries. “Our motto is, 'Don't be a copy, be the original!'" says Artin. “Our goal is to always offer menu items that we would gladly eat ourselves. We experiment a lot and we continue to do so to create new and better options."

Recipe for success: Add love

Grandma Loves You is not just a business — it's a family endeavour. “We think one of our biggest successes is the love we have for each other, our love for what we do, and all the love our family has received," says Artin.

With their two young sons always at their side, Artin and Sarah have crafted the essence of the eatery, imbuing it with a sense of warmth and familiarity. This personal touch extends to their team members — whom they consider an extension of their family — and to their dedication to providing top-notch customer service and mouthwatering sandwiches.

The path to franchising and beyond

Grandma Loves You has already opened a second location and is expanding rapidly. The Davoodis have embraced franchising as a means to spread the love of their sandwiches throughout Toronto, and perhaps the rest of Canada and even internationally. Even as they expand their reach, their vision of providing a welcoming and homey environment remains a core value.

For the Davoodi family, success goes beyond financial gain. “Success is when your customers become friends. Success is the smile you see when someone bites into your sandwich," says Artin. “Success means getting to do what you really love every day with the people you love!"

How the right tools help them juggle business demands with raising a family

The Davoodis rely on QuickBooks for managing all their business outputs — from staff paycheques to financial records and documents. It's the convenience of having access to all this information at their fingertips that they appreciate the most.

“This is the amazing feature of the app," says Artin. “Wherever you are, whenever you have a minute, you can just upload all your documents on your phone and get everything done. For busy parents running a business, it's incredibly efficient."

How QuickBooks Canada can help your business

Looking for tips to start, run, or grow your business? Whether you need help with payrollmanaging invoices, or want insights into the latest trends, look to QuickBooks Online Advanced to guide you through your entrepreneurship journey.

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