Technically, National Sandwich Day was November 3, but we’re celebrating today with the great folks at GMA Live, who enjoyed lots of Schlotzsky’s sandwiches and chips on their online segment this morning. Check it out!
Throughout modern history, it’s never been particularly difficult to find a sandwich to eat. Just about every place that sells food will be able to make you one in some form or another, and if worse comes to worst it’s also pretty easy to find bread and something to put inside it. But recently it seems as if a golden age of sandwiches has begun. From “artisan” breads to lavish, gourmet fillings, it’s easier than ever to find a groan-inducingly good sandwich (and hardly anyone would argue against a perfectly composed sandwich being akin to a work of art). Thankfully, many chain sandwich shops are stepping up their game and offering some world-class sandwiches. They deserve to be recognized, so we’re saluting the top 25.
In order to assemble our list, we reached out to the folks who would know best: you. We started with about 65 chains, defining a chain as any shop that has 10 or more locations. Some were national, some were regional. Next we assembled a survey and put it to a vote, asking you to select your favorites. With 1,287 responses collected from all over the country, the results were nothing short of definitive, and surprising.
So what did we learn? For one, quality is key. If you want to attract customers and keep them happy, you not only need to serve a product you can be proud of, but you also need to keep up with the times, make sure your bread and fillings are fresh, and give your customers an experience they’ll enjoy. Next, even the small guys can compete with the mega-chains, because at the end of the day they’re both on the same playing field.
From the little guys who made our list like Atlanta Bread Company and Steak Escape to the behemoths like Subway, and from the entrepreneurs with a grand vision to the old guard trying to cement their legacy, we salute them all. Why? Because the sandwich is quite possibly the greatest food ever invented, and they’re working day in and day out to make sure nobody forgets that.
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.
Source: The Daily Meal
Join us on Tuesday, October 8th for our 42nd birthday! We’re celebrating with $1.99 small The Original sandwiches all day long at participating Schlotzsky’s restaurants nationwide. Stop by anytime on October 8 and enjoy our famous sandwich. No coupon required. And don’t forget to sign up for our Bun & Fun eClub now or while you’re at the restaurant – you’ll receive birthday specials and other coupons and discounts as a member.
Tell your mom! Tell your dad! Tell your friends! Tell your coworkers! Don’t miss this great deal!
PS – No coupon necessary. There’s no official limit on the number of sandwiches you can get, though some restaurants may set limits depending on demand. If you’re curious, contact them before you go. Vegetarian options may be available – again, depends on the location so ask in advance. Most options include Cheese Original or The Original with no meat.
Schlotzsky’s Inks Franchise Agreement for 55 New Restaurants Throughout Seven Former Soviet Countries
Schlotzsky’s®, home of The Original® round toasted sandwich and famous Fresh-from-Scratch® buns, recently signed a franchise agreement for 55 restaurants throughout seven of the former Soviet countries, including Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
The master franchise agreement was awarded to Moscow-based entrepreneur Mehmet Akpinar, who plans to open the first restaurant in Moscow. The remaining locations are expected to open over the next 10 years.
“This is a time-tested brand that has the ability to bring people together, from all walks, in their love for Schlotzsky’s sandwiches,” said Akpinar, who currently owns Pegas Touristik, a large tour operator which services Moscow and Antalya, as well as the newly formed Golden International Management Services Ltd. “After looking at the international success of Focus Brands’ restaurants and the available market share for a restaurant like Schlotzsky’s in these countries, it seemed like a natural fit for us. I’m thrilled to open the first location.”
Mike Shattuck, President of Focus Brands International, said this was one of the more significant deals the company has ever signed.
“This is a huge deal for us – we love expanding the Schlotzsky’s brand with entrepreneurs like Mehmet, who understand the complexities, challenges, and rewards of operating a company within their respective country,” he said.
As with domestic growth, further international expansion remains a focal point for Schlotzsky’s in 2013 and beyond. Company plans call for over 30 locations in the next five years.
International Schlotzsky’s franchise locations can currently be found in Azerbaijan, Turkey, and South Africa.
Schlotzsky’s offers more than 15 different sandwiches on its famous unique round freshly-baked buns, as well as gourmet pizzas made with Fresh-from-Scratch crusts, freshly made-to-order tossed salads, and a variety of soups.
Source: Restaurant News
Filed under: General News, National News | Tagged: "FOCUS Brands", "Fresh-from-Scratch", Azerbaijan, international, Mike Shattuck, Original, Russia, sandwich, Schlotzsky's, South Africa, Soviet, turkey | Leave a Comment »
Schlotzsky’s mega-deal puts SoCal in hands of neophyte ‘zee
By Beth Ewen
Schlotzsky’s is betting everything in its new Southern California market on one man: Moe Vazin, who owns two American Maid manufacturing plants and six Buy Low grocery stores that do a brisk deli business—but who has never operated a restaurant.
The Austin, Texas-based franchisor has inked a deal for 170 restaurants—yes, 170— with Vazin, who actually was pushing for up to 300 stores. “This one is by far the largest,” says Schlotzsky’s President Kelly Roddy about the deal. “We try to keep them under 30, and we actually try to keep them in the range of 10.”
But Roddy decided to end discussions with multiple prospects, each of whom wanted to open 25 or so restaurants, and put them all in Vazin’s hands, for a territory that includes Ventura, Los Angeles and Riverside counties, stretching from just south of Santa Barbara all the way to the Nevada/Arizona borders.
“There are very few people who have the business background to handle the volume of 170 restaurants, that have that capital to build out that quickly. It takes a very unique person to do a deal that large,” Roddy says.
Vazin says he likes Schlotzsky’s new format, which includes Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and Carvel ice cream, along with the flat round buns that define a Schlotzsky’s sandwich. All three are owned by Focus Brands in Atlanta, in turn owned by private equity firm Roark Capital, and Schlotzsky’s is the first Focus company to sell all three products under one roof.
“The new format is gorgeous,” Vazin says, adding he found Roddy and his management team to be “very, very receptive” and “very open-minded. We hit it off really well.”
Vazin says he’ll use funds from his operating companies to get the first five or so stores opened, and will seek bank loans and perhaps financial partners down the road. He’s working now to sign letters of intent for locations, and wants to get five to seven opened this year.
“They were looking for operators who were aggressive and had a long-term plan. I told them I’m not going to dabble in it,” he says, adding he’s downsizing his grocery store operation in order to focus on the restaurants. He’ll continue operating his American Maid plants in the Los Angeles area, which make small housewares such as plastic pitchers and storage tubs.
Vazin also sells imported goods through a related company, VMI International, and has real estate holdings tied to his family’s dealings in the supermarket business.
Many franchisors avoid cutting mega-deals with a single operator, especially someone new to the brand, and some scoff at the idea that all the stores will ever be built out. Roddy, too, acknowledges the risk in turning away seven or so operators who would all start building at the same time.
But Roddy is convinced. “Trust me, we had a lot of conversations about that,” Roddy says. “They’re used to running a large business, a multi-unit business, and they’re well capitalized.” That last point may have been most convincing, given the difficult times most franchisees face in raising money.
How long will it take to get those 170 stores open? “We are saying nine or 10 years. Moe is saying five years. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Moe get them open in five,” Roddy says.
Source: Franchise Times
Filed under: National News | Tagged: "FOCUS Brands", "Kelly Roddy", "Lotz Better", California, Carvel, Cinnabon, franchise, franchisor, Moe Vazin, Original, roark, sandwich, Schlotzsky's | Leave a Comment »
Join participating Schlotzsky’s restaurant on Tax Day – Monday, April 15 – for a FREE small The Original® osandwich with the purchase of a 32oz. drink and chips. NO coupon necessary! Offer is good ALL DAY on Monday, April 15.
So make plans to visit Schlotzsky’s on Tax Day and snag your free Original.
*Valid only at participating Schlotzsky’s restaurants. Limit on small The Original sandwich per person, per visit. Not valid with any other offer, coupon or kid’s meal. Valid ONLY on April 15, 2013.
Fast-Casual Chain Inks Game-Changing Partnership to Build Huge Presence in Southern California
In a historic deal with far-reaching impact in the fast-casual segment, Schlotzsky’s®, the home of The Original® round-toasted sandwich and famous Fresh-from-Scratch® buns, announced today it has signed the brand’s largest franchise agreement in more than 40 years. Anchored by its new Lotz Better® model and consistent positive sales, the partnership calls for 170 Schlotzsky’s locations throughout California, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.
Each of the new restaurants will feature a new, contemporary design and an upgraded service model in which crew members hand-deliver food to the tables. In addition, as part of a co-branding deal with Cinnabon® and Carvel®, the locations will include counters offering signature treats from the iconic dessert brands.
“The magnitude of this franchise agreement is a testament to the growing strength of our brand in the marketplace,” said Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky’s. “Between this agreement in California and multiple others we’ve signed in the past year alone, the momentum is incredible. On top of the obvious benefits the expansion is having on our brand, it’s also creating job growth in communities around the country,” noting that the new locations in Southern California will create nearly 7,000 jobs in the next five years.
After successfully completing its initiative to reimage its 350-plus unit franchise system, executives of Schlotzsky’s are focusing on growing in markets where there is a demand for a high-quality franchise brand. In this newest deal, Moe Vazin is responsible for opening the 170 locations throughout the market. Prior to joining the Schlotzsky’s family, Vazin experienced much success with his extensive management experience, accumulating a portfolio of supermarkets, manufacturing and distribution in the retail industry.
“Obviously, we look very carefully at brands before making a significant investment like this,” Vazin said. “We had many reasons for choosing Schlotzsky’s, but the key factors were its high-quality, fresh sandwiches, pizzas, salads and soups, the fact that we can offer Cinnabon and Carvel under the same roof, and an incredible management team that shares our vision of the brand in Southern California.”
Roddy added that Vazin perfectly fits the profile for a Schlotzsky’s multi-unit franchisee. “He’s a top-notch operator, and we’re confident he will not only uphold our brand standards and reputation, but knock it out of the park by making us the top fast-casual destination in Southern California,” he said.
This partnership comes on the heels of Schlotzsky’s signing a multi-unit franchise agreement in May 2012 with regional developers John Fehmer and Anastasia Rusakov to open 25 new Schlotzsky’s locations throughout Orange County, Calif.
With more than 350 locations worldwide, Schlotzsky’s continues its growth momentum by aggressively targeting markets in Texas and untapped markets around the country for multi-unit developers. These markets include: Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Nashville, Raleigh, St. Louis and Tampa, as well as other underdeveloped markets through the United States. Roddy added that, ideally, Schlotzsky’s plans to have upwards of 700 locations by 2016.
For more information regarding the Schlotzsky’s franchise opportunity, visit http://www.schlotzskysfranchising.com/or call 800-846-BUNS.
Filed under: National News | Tagged: "co-brand", "FOCUS Brands", "Fresh-from-Scratch", "Kelly Roddy", "Lotz Better", California, Carvel, Cinnabon, franchise, Los Angeles, Moe Vazin, Original, Riverside, San Bernardino, sandwich, Schlotzsky's, Ventura | Leave a Comment »
February 4, 2013 - Cherryh Butler
Everybody loves a good comeback story, and if Hollywood were to feature one about a restaurant as opposed to an underdog sports team, Schlotzsky’s would be the star. After all, what’s more inspiring than a brand reclaiming a top spot in the industry less than a decade after filing bankruptcy? That story belongs to Schlotzsky’s President Kelly Roddy, the man who took over in 2007, and helped the nearly extinct chain to accomplish seven years in a row of positive comps. It’s also enjoying a huge growth spurt, opening 30 units in the past two years with plans to open at least 50 more this year.
“All round, Lotz better”
While most brands struggling to regain relevancy tend to overhaul their entire menu, Schlotzsky’s left it alone for the most part except for changing the salads — they’re fresh now — and a few other menu additions. Instead of changing the food, Roddy decided to concentrate on updating the look and feel of the brand. What sets Schlotzsky’s apart from competitors, he said, is serving sandwiches on made-from-scratch, round buns, as opposed to the subs served in most restaurants. Those round buns inspired the chain’s design element and new tagline, “All round, Lotz better.” (Click here to see photos of the new design.)
“It’s our brand filter, our promise to do everything better,” Roddy said.
The first unit to get the redesign was in Waco, Texas, in 2009, because if it worked there, “We knew it would work anywhere. Circles are just a cool design and you see them everywhere from on the walls to the lamp shades to our cups and bags,” Roddy said. “When you see a circle, we want you to think Schlotzsky’s.”
The design also incorporated fresh, modern colors, including apple green, sky blue and bright red mixed with some earth tones.
“It’s just a cool, hip look,” he said.
When sales increased at the Waco unit by 45 percent, Roddy and his team knew they were onto something and began building all the new units with the new look. They still had 350 “old” stores, however, that needed updated. They went to work planning how to use their marketing dollars to retrofit the other stores. It took a few years, but now nearly every unit has new paint inside and out, new signage, packaging and road signs.
Although customers still order at the counter, Schlotzsky’s staff bring their food to their tables. In the past, guests waited for their numbers to be called and had to fetch their orders.
“It’s now more of a sit down and relax atmosphere, and we’ve removed the clutter with the numbers,” Roddy said. “We also added more soft seating instead of mainly just hard chairs. There’s more booths and nice lighting. It feels more like a casual dining experience.”
The food comes on china as opposed to paper products, which also upgrades the experience.
The chain also found another way to increase sales; it added a Cinnabon Express to about 200 of its locations, and 30 units now house Carvel Ice Cream units.
“When we add these brands, we are more of a complete package,” Roddy said. “We may be selling ice cream to one out of 10 customers during the day, but it’s more about creating family events at night. It helps bring in more families. We’ve seen a nice little bump in the Carvel stores at dinner.”
Cinnabon, which sees half its sales as take out, also encourages guests to spend more money.
“They’ll stop in for lunch and then grab Cinnabon to go,” Roddy said. “It’s a very inexpensive way to put in another national brand and bring in customers.”
Schlotzsky’s is in full growth mode, said Roddy, who predicts the spurt won’t stall anytime soon. The chain, which has a presence throughout the States, has sold more agreements in Texas and Oklahoma and has also targeted Phoenix and California. Franchises will also soon open in Philadelphia, North and South Carolina, New Jersey, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. An announcement about an international deal is also just weeks away, Roddy said.
“We’re not only financially strong; we are growing and will be for years to come,” he said. “It’s just been a great ride.”
Source: Fast Casual
Filed under: National News | Tagged: "Cinnabon Express", "FOCUS Brands", "Kelly Roddy", "Lotz Better", Carvel, Cherryh Butler, Cinnabon, fast-casual, franchise, Original, rebrand, reimage, remodel, sandwich, Schlotzsky's, Texas, Waco | Leave a Comment »
President Kelly Roddy shares results of reimaging with NRN and details 2013 plans
By Ron Ruggless
Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC this past year completed the reimaging of older stores in the 350-unit chain and this year plans to amp up expansion of its tri-brand units and catering.
Over the past several years, the company has packaged new stores with sibling brands Cinnabon and Carvel, all owned by Atlanta-based Focus Brands Inc.
Kelly Roddy, president of the Austin, Texas-based Schlotzsky’s division, said in a phone interview earlier this week that the company is set to open tri-brand stores in the new markets this year. Those markets include Kentucky, New Jersey and North Carolina as well as: Minneapolis, Minn.; New Orleans, La.; Orange County, Calif., Philadelphia; and Sacramento, Calif. Schlotzsky’s currently operates in 37 states.
The privately held company said reimaged restaurants are seeing a 20-percent increase in sales on average. In addition, Roddy said Schlotzsky’s has seen seven years of positive same-store sales increases “even through the tough economy.”
Roddy recently discussed the reimaging of Schlotzsky’s with Nation’s Restaurant News.
What have been Schlotzsky’s highlights in the past year?
We’ve reimaged the restaurants over 2011. We launched new menu boards with new soups, new fresh, made-to-order salads. All the stores are now on table service. Our new prototype rolled out. All the new stores we’re opening will have tri-brands with Cinnabon, Carvel and Schlotzsky’s. All this has been evolving over say the last five years to relaunch the brand. The result has been a lot of growth.
What has reimaging done for franchise sales?
We sold 110 new Schlotzsky’s tri-brand agreements this past year. We’re on trend to get 40 or 50 open this year. We have 27 under construction right now with other leases being negotiated.
Are you including drive-thrus with the new units?
They pretty much all have drive-thrus. There will maybe be one or two that will not. The average store that is opening right now is about 3,000 square feet with a drive-thru and a tri-brand. It has soft seating, so you have booths and lots of bright colors and new modern look.
How did you change the food-delivery model?
We put [food runners] in the new stores and went back and retrofit the other stores. [The table-runner model] is now in place everywhere. It eliminates all the clutter from the paging [system]. It allows the guest to go sit down, relax and start the conversation with whomever they are there with. It’s just more enjoyable. It allows us to engage with the customer. It allows us to monitor the dining room to make sure that it’s clean. If someone needs napkins or whatever, we can bring that to them. It gives it a little more of a casual-dining feels rather than a fast-food feel.
What strengths are you finding in the menu changes?
Our soup and salad business has grown. We’ve seen an increase in the female customer count since we introduced the fresh, made-to-order salads.
Any shift in dayparts?
In 2012, we saw a small bump in our dinner daypart. We think it’s because of the upgraded salads and serving everything on plate ware. We went from Styrofoam bowls, basically, to serving everything on china. That and the booths give us a little more credibility at dinner. This year, we’re looking at how to strengthen that with better offerings around our pizza, etc.
What are the advantages of the tri-branding?
It helps you capture different dayparts. The Cinnabon gives you a nice snack daypart fill-in. You’ll see a lift in the 2-4 [p.m.] range. We’re seeing quite a bit of ice cream sold in the evenings. We think it’s helping bring in families.
What’s the focus in the year ahead?
Catering. We added about 60 new catering vehicles this past year to the fleet. We will continue to do that. Most stores are getting catering vehicles. We’re also partnering with online catering vendors. We’ll also be working on a dinner daypart strategy as well, which will probably roll out at the end of the year.
You started the year with about 30 catering vehicles, so it’s now in about a third of your stores. What are you seeing in catering sales?
It was small to begin with. Catering sales were probably in the 30 to 40 percent increase off a small base. Our goal would be to double our catering sales within the next 12 months.
What kind of customers are you targeting with the catering sales?
It’s pretty much lunch business meetings for Monday-Friday lunch.
What challenges do you see on the horizon?
Commodity costs look to be a challenge, but everybody is in the same boat. We haven’t taken any price, and we’re doing everything we can to not to take price. We have pretty good food costs. We’re going to watch and see what happens.
Source: Nation’s Restaurant News
Filed under: National News | Tagged: "FOCUS Brands", "Kelly Roddy", "Lotz Better", "Nation's Restaurant News", Carvel, catering, Cinnabon, drive thru, franchise, Original, rebrand, reimage, remodel, Ron Ruggless, sandwich, Schlotzsky's | Leave a Comment »
FOCUS Brands Inc., the fast-growing company responsible for overseas expansion of Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, and Seattle’s Best Coffee, has opened its 1,000th international location—a milestone capitalizing on the vast global opportunities for U.S. food brands.
The 1,000th location is a cobranded Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s store, which debuted November 29 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at The Fall of Westmall. It is operated by Cinnaworld Ltd., a franchise group consisting of a husband-and-wife team from Trinidad. Naveed Mohammed and Renee Peterson are entrepreneurs by trade and have opened a total of five Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon stores in the Trinidad and Tobago area. The duo recently expanded their territory rights to include Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Lucia, and Grenada and have committed to opening an additional 15 locations over the next seven years. The group, Cinnaworld Ltd., also received the award for “International New Franchise Partner of the Year” for 2011 at the FOCUS Brands Worldwide Convention in January 2012.
“This opening is a landmark in our international expansion plan, which is crucial for our growth,” says Mike Shattuck,president of FOCUS Brands International. “Building our global brand presence has substantial value for us, especially when we can increase our visibility and brand presence by opening in high-traffic venues in new markets.”
In 2012, FOCUS Brands opened 205 locations in international markets, and a projected 260 will open this year. This growth comes while FOCUS Brands continues to increase its domestic footprint in the U.S. through franchise expansion of all brands.
Earlier this year, Cinnabon and Carvel became the first American brands to open in Libya, with nine additional Cinnabon bakeries and new Carvel and Moe’s Southwest Grill locations on the way. Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s recently expanded to Russia.
More than 80 new Auntie Anne’s bakeries have opened in 2012 internationally and plans call for more than 118 to open overseas in 2013 in countries such as Vietnam, Bahamas, India, and Aruba, as well as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Cinnabon bakeries operate in more than 51 countries and will launch in Iraq, Mongolia, and Ukraine in the coming year.
“We are thrilled by the consumer response we’re seeing when our brands enter a new market,” Shattuck says. “We’re always looking for opportunities to grow with individuals who possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit and the right industry experience.”
Source: QSR Magazine