Schlotzsky’s brings Lotz Better model to area

By BRENDA SHOFFNER / Daily News 

MARY ESTHER — It’s not often that a brand-name restaurant gives an area a second chance. When Schlotzsky’s opened its Lotz Better location in the middle of last year, that’s what it did. It had tried a Mary Esther site years earlier. This time a different formula might be the key to success.

The food
Schlotzsky’s is known for The Original: lean smoked ham, Genoa and cotto salamis, melted cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses layered with black olives, red onion, lettuce, tomato, mustard and signature dressing on a toasted sourdough bun.
Other sandwiches include smoked turkey breast, turkey bacon club, Angus roast beef and cheese, and fiesta chicken.
There are also fresh veggie (cheddar cheese, cucumber slices, red onion, tomato, lettuce and black olives), ham and cheese, pastrami reuben and chipotle chicken.

Sandwiches are available in small, medium and large sizes. Any can be turned into a meal by adding chips and a drink. Abandoning the trademark round bun for a wrap is an option, too. Schlotzsky’s also offers pizza, salads and soups. Pizzas come in 8-inch and 14-inch sizes. They include pepperoni and double cheese, fresh veggie, grilled chicken and pesto, smoked turkey and jalapeno and a combination. Salad choices are cranberry, apple, pecan and chicken; hearts of Romaine chicken caesar; turkey avocado cobb; turkey chef; and garden.

My guest chose a large turkey bacon club and a bowl of Timberline chili for his meal. The sandwich was as big as the plate it was served on, and was deemed delicious. The chili, served steaming hot in a nice-sized bowl, was also good. It came with crackers.
I chose to go with Schlotzsky’s “Pick Two” option. You get to select any two of half a medium sandwich, bowl of soup, half an 8-inch pizza or half a salad. It was difficult, but I finally decided on half of a smoked turkey-guacamole sandwich and half of a pepperoni/double cheese pizza.

The sandwich was part of a “Winterific” menu. It tasted fine but was a little disappointing compared to my guest’s sandwich. The pizza was delicious with light crust and flavorful sauce and toppings. Schlotzsky’s offers Coca-Cola products at a serve-yourself dispenser. A separate iced tea machine dispenses Southern, unsweet and raspberry versions of Fuze tea.

A press release explained that part of the Lotz Better restaurant model is co-branding deals. In this case, that’s with Cinnabon and Carvel Ice Cream. My guest and I each chose a different Cinnabon for dessert. I had the carmel pecan version, and my guest had the classic. Both were good although they could have stood being heated a little more. Other choices include the Minibon, Center of the Roll and a variety of packs. There are also desserts on the Schlotzsky’s menu including cookies, cheesecake, brownie and two kinds of cake. On a chilly winter day, no one was eating ice cream. Schlotzsky’s also does catering with items ranging from trays to box lunches.

The atmosphere
The clean, bright dining area is larger than I expected. It included free-standing tables and chairs as well as banquette seating along one wall. There were also a few tables outside. A large-screen television hangs on one wall. I think it was set on a news channel, but what distracted my attention was that the screen also contained standing ads for Schlotzsky’s. A short hallway connects Schlotzsky’s to the convenience store next door. The hallway is also where the restrooms are located.

The service
Orders are placed at the counter, where you receive a number. A server delivers food to your table when it’s ready. The young man taking orders on the afternoon of our visit was pleasant and patient explaining the Pick Two menu, delivering our food and clearing away used dishes. He also seemed to know several of the other diners who came in while we were there. Some stayed to eat in while a few ordered their food to go.

A final taste
In its second Mary Esther incarnation, Schlotzsky’s seems to be attracting new business as well as repeat customers.

Source: NWF Daily News

Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel is coming to Philly

Philadelphia PA_Event Header

We are so excited to make our way to Philadelphia! We are celebrating the grand opening of our Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel in Philly on Thursday, August 29. Doors open at 10am and the first 100 to purchase a Cinnabon 6-Pack will get FREE Schlotzsky’s for a year. That’s one FREE small The Original sandwich each week for 52 weeks! We’ll have lots of fun games and other prizes to giveaway all day. Don’t miss it!

4600 City Line Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

*One small The Original sandwich per week at this location for 52 consecutive weeks commencing on August 29, 2013 and expiring on August 29, 2014. Only valid for persons 18 years or older. Offer valid only at the Philadelphia Schlotzsky’s.

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

Serving sandwiches for a quarter century

Schlotzsky’s Deli celebrates 25 years in Battle Creek

Written by
Jennifer Bowman
The Enquirer

Schlotzsky’s celebrates 25 years in Battle Creek

Eric Kitchen said he hears it at least three times a week.

“So many people pull off the highway and come here to eat and say, ‘I cannot believe I found a Schlotzsky’s. This is the best sandwich on the planet. Do people in Battle Creek know how lucky they are?’” said the 48-year-old. “We get that a lot.”

This month marks 25 years since Kitchen moved back to his hometown from Oklahoma City to open Schlotzsky’s Deli, a Texas-based sandwich shop. He now operates three locations in Battle Creek — on B Drive North, West Michigan Avenue and South 20th Street — and one in Portage on South Westnedge Avenue.

Not bad for a guy who brought a national franchise restaurant to Michigan for the first time when he was just 23 years old.

“I determined that from the restaurant business,” he said, “to be 100 percent committed, the only way to do it is to start something yourself.”

That commitment is clear through his customer service. Kitchen said it’s difficult to choose what has been most rewarding for him since he began the business. It could be the young locals he employed throughout the years, he said, or catering a funeral to fulfill a man’s request. Once, he said, they hustled all night to prepare to cater a 1,500-person event before realizing they hadn’t figured out a way to transport all the food.

But what comes easy for Kitchen is revealing how he has managed to keep his doors open for decades.

“Business isn’t that complicated,” Kitchen said. “If a customer leaves with a smile on their face, telling themselves they’re going to be back soon, then we’ve done our job.”

General Manager Jim Keating — who Kitchen said has been on the team since day one and also acts as a minority owner — agreed.

“It comes down to taking care of your customer,” he said. “If you take care of your customer — give them great service, give them a great product at a reasonable price — they’re going to come back. It all comes down to customer service. That’s the most important thing, is taking care of the customer and treating them like family. And we do that everyday.”

Schlotzsky’s opened in 1971 in Austin, Texas. It was home to a “single, one-of-a-kind sandwich,” according to its website, and now is an international franchise with locations in 35 states and four countries. Its menu has been expanded to offer salads, soups and pizzas.

Kitchen said being in business in 25 years has made it impossible to escape any economic downturn. A company that once boasted dozens of locations throughout the state, Kitchen is now the only remaining franchise operator. He closed his Marshall location about a year ago when it was decided that the cost of revamping the store and taking care of small children at home was too much.

While they used to have a heavy focus on growth, Kitchen said they’re now looking to provide the best quality of customer service at their current locations.

“I think if you do a darn good job, there’s room in the economy for a business,” he said. “There’s much more competition in town than there was when we first started. But I think more people dine out. I think that’s always skewing upward.”

But what has helped, Keating said, is the duo’s close connection to the community. Both are Lakeview High School graduates and work to help with community and school events on behalf of the business.

“Seeing those kids coming in everyday and supporting them, as well as them supporting us, I think is very important,” he said. “The parents and the families appreciate that as much as we appreciate their business. So you try to help out everybody as much as you can and give back as much as you can, and that’s what helped us grow.”

And there are no plans to stop now.

“We probably have 25 more years in us,” Kitchen said.

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer

Schlotzsky’s franchisee tops new restaurant with upper crust apartments

The 800-square-foot apartments feature crown molding, patios, microwaves and 50-inch flat screen TVs. Schlotzsky’s franchisee David Jones says the project has a Bricktown feel but is in Midwest City’s “Original Mile.”

By Jennifer Palmer

MIDWEST CITY — Schlotzsky’s franchisee David Jones took the company’s motto of “Lotz Better” to heart, adding posh extras to his new location here, including upscale apartments above the restaurant.

The $1.5 million project less than a mile from Tinker Air Force Base’s main gate is part of the city’s effort to revitalize the area known as the “Original Mile,” by providing attractive, mixed-use housing within walking distance to the Town Center Plaza shopping center, the city’s major retail development. It’s the first Schlotzsky’s restaurant to feature housing above.

The restaurant opened in December and construction on the four upstairs apartments should be complete this month, Jones said. The 800-square-foot apartments have a private entrance and will feature crown molding, granite countertops and appliances including microwaves, stackable washer and dryer and 50-inch flat screen TVs. Jones’ son, David, who manages the Midwest City restaurant, will live in one unit and the other three will be rented for $1,000 a month.

“It’s just like downtown Bricktown — in Midwest City,” Jones said.

Amenities continue throughout the restaurant, with a water fountain in the patio area, a media wall with flat-screen TVs and space for laptops in the dining room, tall booths, a cozy fireplace, baby changing tables in both men’s and women’s restrooms and plates to serve the sandwiches on. Jones said he didn’t want his guests eating out of baskets.

Most stores go above and beyond the Schlotzsky’s corporate model, but each was made to give the restaurant a homey feel because to Jones, Midwest City is home. His father, Kenneth Jones, worked for Tinker for 30 years and David Jones grew up in Midwest City.

Though a career with Pepsi Co. took him to California and Texas, when he decided to open a business his family could be involved in, it was time to come home, he said.

Jones opened his first Schlotzsky’s in Moore in the summer of 2011, which his daughter, Sarah, manages.

“When I was looking for a place to put our second franchise, Midwest City was at the top of the list because it had sentimental value,” David Jones said.

For Schlotzsky’s, it was an opportunity to re-enter Midwest City with an established franchisee, said Amanda Palm, a spokeswoman for Schlotzsky’s, which is based in Austin, Texas.

She said the company allowed Jones some flexibility in designing his restaurant and building, which he owns.

“We knew in looking for sites this was simply a good place for our brand. We wanted to be a part of the redevelopment efforts the city was putting into this particular area,” she said.

In December 2011, Midwest City published its revitalization plan for the Original Mile, a one-square-mile neighborhood defined by SE 15 on the north, SE 29 on the south, Air Depot Boulevard on the west and Midwest Boulevard on the east. Much of the classic, 1940s wartime housing built there was becoming dilapidated and was in desperate need of a face-lift.

Midwest City Mayor Jack Fry said when Jones approached the city with plans for a new Schlotzsky’s restaurant, he pitched the idea of adding a housing element. Jones, who has no experience being a landlord, was the first business owner to take a chance on the city’s vision.

The apartments are within walking or biking distance to the many stores and restaurants at Town Center Plaza and are perfect for somebody looking to live an urban lifestyle, the mayor added.

“It is a bold step for the city. We’re changing a little from suburban America to urban America. It’s time for Midwest City to adopt some of the architectural things going on around the country,” Fry said. “Sometimes, I think we need to think outside the box … and this was a place we could do that.”

Source: The Oklahoman

Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel opens first restaurant in New Jersey

GO_Red

 

Our first restaurant in New Jersey is scheduled to open on Sunday, March 24 at 10am! Join us for all-day giveaways and a chance to spin the wheel for various prizes. Join the eClub on opening day and you’ll have the chance to win an iPad Mini. Schlotzsky’s will also reward the first 100 patrons who purchase a CinnaPack™ of six Cinnabon® Classic rolls with free Schlotzsky’s or Cinnabon for a year.

The fun doesn’t stop on opening day! During the opening week, the New Jersey Schlotzsky’s will support the brand’s national cause, JDRF, by donating 5% of proceeds to the organization.

Date: Sunday, March 24

Time: 10am

Address: 39 Nathaniel Place in the Englewood ShopRite Plaza

*One small The Original sandwich per week at this location for 52 consecutive weeks commencing on March 24, 2013 and expiring on March 25, 2014. Only valid for persons 18 years or older. Offer valid only at the Englewood, NJ Schlotzsky’s.

Schlotzsky’s Shatters Company Record With Agreement for 170 New Restaurants

Fast-Casual Chain Inks Game-Changing Partnership to Build Huge Presence in Southern California

Schlotz2011_GreenCircle_logo

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.

 

Schlotzsky’s comeback story: The days of bankruptcy are long gone

Fast Casual

 

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.

Better service

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.

Branding together

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.”

Looking ahead

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

Schlotzsky’s sees growth with reimaged units

NRN_Banner

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.

Schlotzsky’s unveils new look – Check out the slide show!

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

Schlotzsky’s will reenter area eatery offerings

 

By Donnie Bryant donnie.bryant@empiretribune.com

This will be the second store for Schlotzsky’s restaurateur Nelson Olivares who owns another in Brownwood. It is also the third time for the sandwich shop to enter Stephenville city limits. But it doesn’t take long to surmise Olivares’s bid for success will soon make the original Schlotzsky’s sandwich something of a staple in local fast food fare.

A franchise begun in Austin in 1971, the unique spin on the Italian muffuletta earned fierce loyalty from students who swarmed the shop, quickly making it a college favorite. Olivares is certain his close proximity to Tarleton will garner the same devotion from area university sandwich aficionados.

Question: You have made a franchise triad at this store with Schlotzsky’s at the helm and some favored cinnamon rolls and ice cream riding shotgun. What drew you to the three brands?

Answer: “I’ve been doing Schlotzsky’s for 15 years, and this is my second restaurant. It’s familiar to me. This store will have the Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, which are the best, and Carvel ice cream. It’ll be tri-branded.”

Question: This will be the third Schlotzsky’s to open in Stephenville. What do you expect to be the key to making this store a success?

Answer: “Our concept has grown in the last 10 years―since the last one closed. Our menu has evolved. We do offer the Original, which everybody loves, but we also offer a lot of nutritional sandwiches. Society has changed and people are not into the fried foods like they used to be. We don’t fry. We attract the people who don’t want the french fry or the hamburger.

“Our bread is baked daily from scratch. It’s never brought in frozen and then put into an oven. We do pizzas and the ordered salads, fresh when you order them – it’s a higher grade salad with the field greens and things of that nature.”

Question: Your location at the corner of Harbin Drive and Washington Street is the busiest intersection in town. What is your plan to make access to your Schlotzsky’s less challenging?

Answer: “I’ve noticed a lot of the locals have embraced the side door entrance on Harbin that they are really comfortable with. And I also notice the Stephenville traffic is very friendly. They actually let people out and to cross the traffic. But I’m banking on that side back entrance on Harbin.

“I think when the food is good enough, getting there doesn’t tend to bother people. A loyal Schlotzsky’s fan is not going to let the traffic slow him down.”

Source: Empire Tribune

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