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.

Cobranding Part 1: Will it work for fast casuals?

Cobranding in the restaurant industry may have started in the ’90s with “KenTacoHut” — Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC — but fast casuals are starting to embrace the idea. Bruegger’s Bagels and Caribou Coffee, for example,  expanded their cobranded concept last year to North Carolina, marking the third cobranded unit for the two brands, and Bruegger’s recently announced a deal to pair up with Jamba Juice in South Florida. Another smoothie concept, Smoothie Factory, is now testing cobranded units with Red Mango, and Fatburger has combined with Buffalo’s Café to offer chicken with its burgers in California.

While developing the right partnership and operations formula can be tricky, cobranding is a great way to add an additional revenue stream for franchisees, said Kelly Roddy, CEO of Schlotzsky’s, which has been cobranding since 2007 with Carvel Ice Cream and Cinnabon. He said the key to a solid cobranding partnership is ensuring that both brands benefit. The Schlotzsky’s/Cinnabon cobrand, for example, gave Cinnabon the opportunity to expand beyond malls and travel centers but also allowed Schlotzsky’s to offer menu variety to guests.

“It’s a great partnership for us and contributes to dayparts beyond lunchtime, including breakfast for those restaurants that open early as well as snack/evening options,” Roddy said. “Cinnabon also offers an additional catering option for our guests.”

The benefits

Those are just a couple benefits that cobranding can provide, said Steve Beagelman, president and CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors. Cost savings and risk aversion are two others.

“When you want to keep costs down, cobranding makes a lot of sense. When you’re going through the real estate process, you can save a lot of money up front since you’re utilizing two business to pay the rent for one location,” he said. “So, a lot of brands look at cobranding because it saves the front-end costs. The best benefit is utilizing and cross-training the labor. So you’re saving on your rent, your build out, your employees. There are a lot of economic reasons why cross-branding makes sense.”

Risk aversion is another benefit of cobranding, said Catherine Kearns, general manager of CHD Expert North America.

“Cobranding affords restaurants an opportunity to introduce their products to new markets, while mitigating cost and risk,” she said. “A significant capital investment is required to open a restaurant, especially costs associated with making a brick and mortar location service ready, and cobranding allows for brands to test new territories, while requiring less money for initial overhead costs.”

The challenges

While the benefits of cobranding are numerous, there are also challenges, including the possibility of complicating operating procedures and brand dilution, especially when one brand’s word-of-mouth, marketing and history are stronger than the other, said No Limit Agency’s Chief Brand Strategist Nick Powills.

“You are dealing with two brands and, in many scenarios, two different customers. Even if you sell cookies and ice cream, the cookie customer may not have the same taste as the ice cream customer at that exact moment,” he said.

Beagelman agreed but also said some franchisors will risk brand dilution to score faster distribution, so it’s often a trade off they are willing to make.

The possibility of complicating operating procedures stems from the fact that franchises abide by corporate-mandated guidelines, so combining operations from two entities can create challenges, Kearns said. For example, if two brands come together and they both have exclusive contracts with their own paper goods supplier, someone may have to break a contract.

“In addition to contracts and sourcing of products, melding two different restaurant cultures can also be a challenge,” she said. “Many chain restaurants have a pre-established operations manual and different standard to which they hold their team accountable. This includes processes for food preparation, customer service, and employee culture. Introducing two company cultures with different standards is not a seamless process. Camaraderie and synergy will take time to develop.”

These reasons, Kearns said, are why it is more common for cobranding to occur among companies who share a parent company — Yum! Brands, for example. Even then, however, it’s not a sure thing.

“You are mixing two brands with two different missions — even when run by the same franchisor,” Powills said. “Cobranding certainly can make sense when you are not experiencing a strong ROI from every square foot of your restaurant, however, it is a tricky balancing act, no matter how you look at it — so, being an effective operator will be critical.”

Should you cobrand?

Before hopping on the cobranding wagon, operators should ask themselves a few questions. They include:

  • Am I comfortable with employees being cross-trained?
  • Am I comfortable with potentially sharing revenue streams?
  • Do I really need two concepts under the same roof?
  • How will my brand benefit?
  • What negative effects will it have on my brand?
  • How is my brand perceived in comparison with the brand I am cobranding with?
  • How will my core consumer base react to this cobranding?
  • What is the cost benefit analysis on customer acquisition?
  • How will marketing efforts be affected?
  • How are joint decisions going to be made between the two separate corporate entities?
  • How will vendor relationships be affected?
  • And how will my internal employee culture be affected?

“The best time to co-brand is when it will help both perspective franchises and customers,” Powills said. “Many brands have mastered the art of this concept, hoping that franchise operators will be happier with a mixed portfolio and that customers will frequent the business more with more options.”

A mutual benefit is what inspired the partnership between Bruegger’s and Jamba Juice, said Arturo Zindel, the developer of the five cobranded Bruegger’s and Jamba Juice units in South Florida.

“We believe there are synergies with the brands plus additional operational efficiencies and economies of scale when you build stores that offer the two brands together,” he said. “Additionally, in the case of Bruegger’s Bagels and Jamba Juice, the dayparts are different plus both brands stand for high quality products and a top end customer experience in the stores, so we believe they will be a great fit offered under one roof.”

The same can be said for Schlotzsky’s, which has been so happy with its partnerships with Carvel and Cinnabon, that it’s launching a five-restaurant test with TCBY this April in the Austin area. Through the express format, the chains will offer six yogurt flavors and more than 15 types of toppings, Roddy said.

“We are excited about this opportunity and the potential daypart expansion,” he said.

Editor’s note: This is part 1 in a two-part series about cobranding. The next installment will feature Q and A interviews with three restaurant operators who have found success in cobranding.

Source: Fast Casual

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® Unveils First-Ever Chipotle Honey Sandwiches

The new mouth-watering sandwich trio will be layered with the hot and sweet honey chipotle sauce

Schlotzsky’s® falls into autumn with the announcement of a completely new line of limited-time-only Chipotle Honey Sandwiches. From now until November 25, the home of The Original® round-toasted sandwich will feature three new, signature Chipotle Honey Sandwiches – the Turkey and Bacon Chipotle Honey, the Roast Beef and Bacon Chipotle Honey, and the Chicken and Bacon Chipotle Honey.

“We have been looking to bring something hot and sweet to our customers and this trio of delicious sandwiches is the perfect menu option,” said Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky’s. “When the chipotle honey tops our high-quality meats and cheese, it creates an irresistible taste. We look forward to hearing our customers’ feedback.”

The three new, signature sandwiches include:

Turkey & Bacon Chipotle Honey 

Smoked turkey breast and crispy bacon with smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato with chipotle mayonnaise and hot and sweet honey chipotle sauce on a toasted Sourdough bun;

Roast Beef & Bacon Chipotle Honey

Tender slices of Angus roast beef and crispy bacon with smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato with chipotle mayonnaise and hot and sweet honey chipotle sauce on a toasted Sourdough bun; and

Chicken & Bacon Chipotle Honey

Tender, shaved chicken and crispy bacon with smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato with chipotle mayonnaise and hot and sweet honey chipotle sauce on a toasted Sourdough bun.

Schlotzsky’s restaurants offer guests more than 15 different sandwiches on its famous, unique and 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 and delectable desserts.

For more information or to find the nearest location, visit www.Schlotzskys.com.

Franchise Chatter Exclusive: Q&A Interview with Kelly Roddy, President of Schlotzsky’s

by AMBROSIO on FEBRUARY 5, 2012

Since 1971, Schlotzsky’s has been the home of The Original toasted sandwich. The menu has evolved with customers’ tastes to include other sandwiches, pizzas, salads and soups. Schlotzsky’s has more than 350 locations worldwide, with restaurants in Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Costa Rica, Jordan and Kuwait. Schlotzsky’s is owned by FOCUS Brands Inc., the franchisor and operator of over 3,300 Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Auntie Anne’s locations and Seattle’s Best Coffee on certain military bases and in international markets.

Kelly Roddy came to Schlotzsky’s in 2007 as president, having served as director of sales and marketing and later director of retail operations for H-E-B Grocery Company, a 106-year-old retailer with more than 315 locations throughout Texas and Mexico. Before his time with H-E-B, he was vice president and executive director of new business development for Scholastic Corporation and prior to that, he spent eight years with Walmart Stores, Inc. in a variety of positions. In 2011, Kelly received his Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation from the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives and is also a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA).

Franchise Chatter (FC):  Can you share with us the story of how Schlotzsky’s got its start?

Kelly Roddy (KR):  In 1971, a small shop on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas was home to a single, one-of-a-kind sandwich. Don and Dolores Dissman opened the first Schlotzsky’s with only one product – an 8-inch muffaletta stuffed with three meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, olives and dressing, served on hot, freshly-made sourdough bread. Modeled after the muffalettas they discovered in an Italian grocery store in New Orleans’ French Quarter, The Original toasted sandwich was an instant hit.

FC:  For those unfamiliar, please tell us about your food? What is unique about your menu compared to other fast food franchises specializing in sandwiches? 

KR:  The main thing that sets us apart is our bread – our buns are round and are baked fresh-from-scratch in the stores every day. It differentiates us and it’s our signature shape. Our sandwiches are served warm and are made to order. In addition to our great-tasting sandwiches, we have fresh-tossed salads, soups and pizzas.

FC:  Can you describe the ideal franchisee for a Schlotzsky’s restaurant?

KR:  Our ideal franchise partner is a well-capitalized, savvy business professional. He or she is a passionate, high-energy individual with a true entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, they should have previous restaurant experience and are willing to be a multi-unit operator.

FC:  What is the ideal neighborhood and territory for a Schlotzsky’s restaurant?  In what regions of the country do you see the strongest demand for your restaurants?

KR:  We have a strong presence in middle America and appeal to a wide customer base. Our guests have a distinct appreciation for top-quality food and great customer service. Schlotzsky’s is in strong demand, with locations in 37 states across the U.S., but our highest concentration of restaurants is in the central and southern parts of the country. From there, we are growing out concentrically as our distribution system allows and have recently signed agreements for areas in the northeast.

FC:  What specific steps do your most successful franchisees take in order to build and grow their respective businesses?

KR:  The most important thing is to be an active owner willing to follow a proven system that works. Our most successful franchise partners are active in their restaurants, are involved with the brand and are quick to embrace and promote change and innovation.

FC:  What are some of the things you are doing to help your franchisees become profitable?

KR:  As of the end of 2011, our entire system has been reimaged, which reflects a circle-themed design and includes new colors, new graphics, new signage and new menuboards. We’ve also revamped our menu, adding fresh-tossed salads along with sandwich meals, which appeals to our current customers and brings in a new age group. In addition, 165 of our restaurants now have Cinnabon as part of their operations and 30 will have both Cinnabon and Carvel Ice Cream.

FC:  What are your goals for Schlotzsky’s in the next few years and how do you plan to grow your business?

KR:  Now that we’ve completed our rebranding, it’s time to focus on growth and continued improvement of our operations and our menu. Moving forward, most of our new restaurants will be tri-brand locations (Schlotzsky’s, Cinnabon and Carvel). Growth is a big focus for us and we’re looking for franchise partners who are ready to come into our system and operate multiple units. Increasing pizza sales and different day parts are high potential opportunities. Our pizza is unique because we use our sourdough bread mix. Another major goal is to expand our catering services across our brand in order to provide cohesive, systemized catering to our guests.

FC:  What advice can you give prospective franchisees on how to evaluate the overwhelming number of franchise opportunities available to them?

KR: Do your research. Find a brand that is relevant and growing. Every brand has its own culture and distinctive characteristics, so find one you are passionate about and that you believe in. And definitely reach out to other franchise partners to learn from their experiences and find out what they like and don’t like about the brand.

FC:  What advice can you offer new franchisees on how to increase their chances for success in the restaurant business?

KR:  Your franchisor will present you with a business model to guide you to success. The best thing you can do as a franchisee is embrace the business model and make it work for you. That’s the advantage of being a part of a franchise system, because processes and products are tested and perfected before they are implemented in restaurants.

FC:  Is there anything else you wish to share about Schlotzsky’s?

KR:  After 40 years in the restaurant business, we’ve worked hard to develop strong, positive relationships with our franchise partners. We have a clear line of communication within our franchise system and include individual franchise partners in our decision making through our franchise advisory council. We’ve also used our time and experience to create a brand culture that is relevant, quirky and fun. With our sister companies, Cinnabon and Carvel, we offer the unique opportunity to operate three complementary brands under one roof.

Source: Franchise Chatter