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 coming back to Paris this summer

Posted on Feb 2, 2013 in Business by 

A Dallas-based franchise partner with Schlotzsky’s restaurant has signed an agreement to open a new location in Paris, according to Schlotzsky’s Communications Manager Amanda Palm.

The contract for the franchise was signed last December, and the company has been looking for a prospective location for the sandwich restaurant, as well as working on a lease and designing the restaurant.

“Our best guarantee is we’ll open in the summertime,” Palm told reporters. “Six to seven months is a quick turnaround, but that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Schlotzsky’s operated in Paris for several years on Lamar Avenue before the company declared bankruptcy in 2004.

In 2006, the sandwich restaurant was acquired byFocus Brands, an affiliate of private equity firm Roark Capital Group, parent company of Cinnabon, Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Auntie Annie’s.

Palm told reporters that Schlotzsky’s would be the primary brand in the store, but will feature a co-brand with sister chain Cinnabon. The new location will also sell select Carvel ice cream products.

Source: eParisExtra.com

Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel is coming to Galveston!

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Get your buns to our new Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel in Galveston at 500 Seawall Blvd! Doors open at 10am on Tuesday, January 29th. First 100 people to buy a Cinnabon 6-Pack will get FREE Schlotzsky’s for a YEAR! We’ll also have a day full of fun, games, prizes and more. Don’t miss out on the food & fun!

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

Schlotzsky’s sees growth with reimaged units

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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

Another Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel comes to San Antonio

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Get your buns to the Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel grand opening at 20821 US Highway 281 N in San Antonio on Tuesday, January 22. Doors open at 10am and the first 100 guests to purchase a Cinnabon 6-Pack will get free Schlotzsky’s for a year!  Grand opening events will also include fun-filled events, games and prizes, giveaways, and more. 

Tuesday, January 22 at 10am

20281 US Highway 281 N

*One small sandwich per week at this location for 52 consecutive weeks commencing on January 22, 2013 and expiring on January 22, 2014. Only valid for persons 18 years or older. Offer valid only at this San Antonio Schlotzsky’s.

© 2013 Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC. All rights reserved

FOCUS Brands Now 1,000 International Units Strong

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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

Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon opens in Midwest City, OK

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Make plans to attend the Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon grand opening on December 30 in Midwest City, OK! Doors open at 10am and the first 100 guests to purchase a Cinnabon 6-Pack get free Schlotzsky’s for a year! And sign up to win other prizes throughout the day. See you there!

Sunday, December 30 at 10am

2400 South Air Depot, Midwest City, OK

*One small sandwich per week at this location for 52 consecutive weeks commencing on December 30, 2012 and expiring on December 30, 2013. Only valid for persons 18 years or older. Offer valid only at the Midwest City Schlotzsky’s.

© 2012 Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC. All rights reserved

Schlotzsky’s-Cinnabon-Carvel is back in Auburn, AL!

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We are coming back to Auburn! Our new restaurant at 131 N. Dean Road opens at 10:30am on Thursday, December 20! The first 200 customers to sign up for our Bun & Fun eClub will get a free medium Schlotzsky’s sandwich each month for a year!

Doors open at 10:30am on Thursday, December 20

*One medium sandwich per month at this location for 12 consecutive months commencing on December 20, 2012 and expiring on December 20, 2013. Only valid for persons 18 years or older. Offer valid only at the Auburn Schlotzsky’s.

© 2012 Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC. All rights reserved

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

Schlotzsky’s is back in Tuscaloosa, with Cinnabon & Carvel

We are back, Tuscaloosa! After 19 long months Schlotzsky’s is happy to be back in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Come celebrate the grand re-opening of our newest Schlotzsky’s Cinnabon-Carvel location on Wednesday, November 28 at 405 15th St. East! As part of the celebration, Schlotzsky’s will reward the first 100 customers who purchase a CinnaPack™ of six Cinnabon Classic rolls at the new Tuscaloosa location, with free Schlotzsky’s for a year, which includes one free small sandwich or 8-inch pizza a week for a year. In addition, fans will have the chance win prizes and enjoy the Chamber ribbon cutting at 3pm.

Doors open at 10am on Wednesday, November 28

Chamber Ribbon Cutting at 3pm

*One small sandwich or 8-inch pizza per week at this location for 52 consecutive weeks commencing on November 28, 2012 and expiring on November 28, 2013. Only valid for persons 18 years or older. Offer valid only at the Tuscaloosa Schlotzsky’s.

© 2012 Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC. All rights reserved