Smiths Grove gets IGA store

By Monica Spees

Smiths Grove is now home to the first Schlotzsky’s store in south central Kentucky.

Crossroads IGA – which features Cinnabon baked goods, Carvel ice cream and Schlotzsky’s Bakery & Cafe – officially opened Wednesday at 619 S. Main St. in Smiths Grove. The building stands where the Shell gas station was – and fuel is still available on the premises.

Dog food, charcoal, soft drinks, motor oil, chilled tuna sandwiches and jars of pickled eggs stock the shelves in the 11,000-square-foot facility. A specialty coffee and hot beverage bar and customizable fountain and frozen beverage bar stand near the cafe.

Lifelong Smiths Grove resident Ruby Woods attended an open house Tuesday evening where she had her first taste of Cinnabon. Woods attended the grand opening Wednesday and left with a box of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls she purchased. Woods said she’s excited about the options the store gives Smiths Grove.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Woods said. “I think it’s going to do Smiths Grove justice. We’re all excited about it. We need something like this in Smiths Grove.”

The store is the fifth Crossroads IGA Houchens Industries has opened in the Bowling Green-Warren County market and the 10th in Kentucky. Houchens Industries recently opened another store in Louisville.

The new Crossroads IGA employs 57 people, 12 of whom were prior employees of Shell and IGA in Smiths Grove. The employment opportunities and additional grocery and convenience store products will benefit everyone in town, Woods said.

“This is the biggest thing to happen to Smiths Grove in years,” Woods said.

Brandon Jones, spokesman for Houchens Industries, is also a Smiths Grove resident, so the new Crossroads IGA is special to him.

The store is “a wonderful addition, personally as well as professionally,” Jones said. “I think it’s going to be a really good fit for the entire community.’

People at the grand opening could spin a wheel set up in front of the cafe for prizes, including food and discounts. Cupcakes were also available for the crowd of about 40 people to celebrate the event.

Mark Meers, chief marketing officer for Schlotzsky’s, said the Smiths Grove Crossroads IGA is the first of several partner projects the company will have with Houchens Industries. The store’s proximity to the interstate will likely draw many truckers and travelers, Meers said.

“We want to be a dedicated stop along the way for (travelers) to get a great Schlotzsky’s meal while visiting Smiths Grove,” Meers said.

Meers said Schlotzsky’s is trying a new rewards program at the Smiths Grove store. Lotz4Me is a mobile app that allows customers to get $7 off their purchase after their seventh $6-minimum purchase. Schlotzsky’s also caters and delivers.

Smtihs Grove Mayor Bert Higginbotham said he was thrilled with the store, especially since he found Edy’s sugar-free ice cream, which he often has trouble finding.

Crossroads IGA is in a great location for highway traffic, he said, and the people of Smiths Grove are happy to have another food and grocery option close to home.

“I’m tickled with this,” Higginbotham said.

Various public officials attended the opening, including Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon, state Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken, state Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, and state Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green.

Tim Sturgill, division manager for Houchens Industries, said he’s looking forward to the future of Smiths Grove’s Crossroads IGA.

“I think you’re going to be proud of what we’re going to do for you here in Smiths Grove,” Sturgill said.

Crossroads IGA is open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight.

Source: BGDailyNews.com

Schlotzsky’s cracks top five in app store restaurant category

By Brenda Rick Smith

Schlotzsky’s new “Lotz 4 Me” loyalty app – the first system-wide loyalty program in the brand’s history – had a strong launch in June, with 60,000 downloads in the first three and a half weeks.

More than 11,000 people downloaded the app on the first day alone, driving “Lotz 4 Me” as high as fourth on the restaurant charts in the Apple Store.

“We are a relatively small brand, and to be number four in the app store in the restaurant category is pretty amazing,” said Schlotzsky’s President Kelly Roddy. Especially considering many of the other high-ranking brands have thousands of units, compared to Schlotzsky’s 350 locations, he added. “We were expecting a slow build. We figured we’d get several thousand downloads, and maybe add some more through the sharing features.”

The goal of the app, which was developed on the Punchh management platform, was to drive occasional customers to visit stores more frequently and encourage them to advocate for the brand on social media, said Roddy. While data is not available yet, he reports that he has observed an increase in social media traffic.

The app offers customers who make seven visits $7 off their next purchase. Customers can earn rewards for sharing the app with their friends via social media and getting them to download the app, too. Customers who download the app before July 31 will also get a free Original sandwich.

Customers can also find Schlotzsky’s locations and menu information in the app, keep up with company news and claim special offers.

Some customers are already redeeming rewards, according to Roddy, and those customers are spending an average of 20 percent more than they typically do because they are getting something for free.

The increased check size has been welcomed by franchisees, who have wanted to see a loyalty program.

While the focus of the first iteration of the app is on loyalty, future versions may also include mobile ordering, said Roddy.

Reaching out to Millennials

The app is central to Schlotzsky’s goal of attracting Millenials and their $1.3 trillion spending power. The app, coupled with a revamp of Schlotzsky’s restaurants and expanded menu options, is part of the brand’s bid to reconnect with its core audience: young people.

“We’ve always had a young audience. Most of our early stores were close to universities,” said Roddy. That proximity, paired with the brand’s fun, quirky appeal and fresh, made-from-scratch menu offerings, helped reach young customers, he said.

“But we see a change in Millennials, in what they want and what they expect,” said Roddy. “They are more tech dependent, more social, more culinary-savvy than in the past. We wanted to be able to communicate with that audience in the way they want to communicate: through their mobile device. We want to keep and grow that audience and serve them the way they want to be served.”

Along with the app, Schlotzsky’s updated its restaurants with vibrant colors, new seating and the brand’s “Lotz” messaging in an effort to appeal to Millennials. Many restaurants are also co-branded with Cinnabon bakeries. Schlotzsky’s has also added new items to the menu, including Artisan Flatbreads, Gourmet Pizzas and seasonal salads, including the Very Berry Salad.

Schlotzsky’s plans to add 20 new locations this year.

“We’re excited to be where we are,” said Roddy. “We’re staying on the bleeding edge of where our customers want us to be.”

Source: Fast Casual

Schlotzsky’s ranks high in Consumer Reports latest survey

Taste champs for burgers, chicken, and more

We asked subscribers this direct question: On a scale of  1 to 10, from least delicious to most delicious you’ve ever eaten, how would you rate the taste? We heard about 53,745 burger chains’ burgers, chicken chains’ fried or roasted chicken, Mexican chains’ burritos, and sandwich chains’ sub—or heroes, hoagies, grinders, or wedges, depending on where you call home. (Click on the image above to see an expanded view of the the taste tables.)

The tables reveal that some signature dishes came close to our readers’ benchmarks for excellence. But many of the biggest names earned significantly lower scores for the foods that made them famous, notably McDonald’s. The chain, which serves flash-frozen patties made with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef, touts them as free from  “preservatives, fillers, extenders, and so-called pink slime.” Such a pledge might be comforting, but it’s hardly a rousing endorsement. McDonald’s own customers ranked its burgers significantly worse than those of 20 competitors, including Hardee’s, White Castle, and Carl’s Jr. No other house specialty scored as low.

Taco Bell’s burritos were also voted least luscious. And the subs from Subway, the world’s largest restaurant chain with more than 40,000 units in 106 countries, are near the bottom of the list.

CRM_Consumer_Reports_Taste_Champs_08-14

Fast-food alternatives: Readers’ choices for fast-casual restaurants

Fast-casual restaurants are a step up from fast food (Chipotle describes its fare as “farm to face”). They usually serve higher-quality fare, charge higher menu prices, and focus more on a dine-in rather than drive-through experience. And they’re big on breakfast. The ones listed were among the most praiseworthy. McAlister’s Deli gets the award for most improved. The chain’s score increased significantly since our 2011 report.

Here are the restaurants at the top of the list.

• Chipotle Mexican Grill

• Firehouse Subs

• Five Guys Burgers and Fries

• Jason’s Deli

• Jersey Mike’s Subs

• Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches

• McAlister’s Deli

• Panera Bread

• Schlotzsky’s

Source: Consumer Reports

Free sandwiches on Tax Day!

Tax Day_755x525_Home Screen

Visit participating Schlotzsky’s on Tax Day, April 15 and enjoy a FREE small The Original® sandwich with the purchase of a 32oz. drink and a bag of chips. This offer is good ALL DAY LONG on Tax Day. No coupon needed. Limit one free sandwich per person, per visit. Click here to find the Schlotzsky’s restaurant nearest you.

These are the 16 Southern Chains the Rest of the Country Needs

By Liz Childers

Regional chains aren’t simply side-of-the-road stops: they’re a way of life (and sometimes a shortcut to death). Just ask a Texan who woke up in Maine about their Whataburger withdrawals. In the South, chains are about fried chicken, biscuits, tacos, burgers, and addiction. And until these ones expand, they’re the reason Southern expats are burning millions of gallons of gas on drive-thru pilgrimages.

Schlotzsky’s
Where they are: The Austin-based chain crushes it in the deli-sparse Southeast, but many states outside the region are home to one or two locations.
Why you need them: If you’re in somewhere like New York “we have a deli on every corner and are better than you!” City, then maybe you don’t need them. But for everybody else, the mile-high sandwiches are a thing of wonder. Plus, you can eat these suckers without trying to decipher a Brooklyn accent.
What to get: Start basic with The Original: a pile of salami, ham, cheddar, mozzarella, Parm, and the usual sandwich suspects.

For full article, go here: Thrillist

Schlotzsky’s celebrates National Sandwich Day with GMA Live

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!

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/gma-live-110413-20775639

America’s 25 Best Chain Sandwich Shops – Schlotzsky’s Ranks #5

Schlotz_TheOriginal_052510_300dpiThroughout 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.

America’s 25 Best Chain Sandwich Shops (Slideshow)

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.

Click here to see the 25 best sandwich chains in America.

Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.

Source: The Daily Meal

Tuesday October 8 is $1.99 The Original Day!

BirthdayBash_Event Header

 

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

Big Bet

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

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