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Capriotti’s co-founder Lois Margolet dies

Margolet remembered as a pioneer in the sandwich segment and franchise business

Lois Margolet, co-founder of Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, died Thursday of lung cancer at her home in Las Vegas, the company said Friday. She was 68.

“Lois was a bright, giving, extraordinary woman and a pioneer in the sandwich and franchise industry,” said Ashley Morris, CEO of Las Vegas-based Capriotti’s, in a statement to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Margolet and her brother, Alan Margolet, launched Capriotti's in 1976, in Wilmington, Del., naming the restaurant after their grandfather, Philip Capriotti.

Photo: Capriotti's

Capriotti's

“The brand she created is not just a sandwich shop; it is an institution in Delaware,” said Morris, adding that the company’s subs “have touched countless people across the country.”

Lois Margolet is credited with creating the chain’s popular Bobbie menu item, which is known as “Thanksgiving on a sandwich,” with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayonnaise

Capriotti’s moved its headquarters from Wilmington to Las Vegas in 2008, when Morris and business partner Jason Smylie acquired the company. Capriotti’s now has 105 units, largely in Nevada and the Mid-Atlantic states. 

"Capriotti's is an institution in Delaware and the cornerstone of so many communities here," Carrie Leishman, president of the Delaware Restaurant Association, told The News Journal. "It's incredible what she was able to achieve, and I'm so sorry to hear of her passing."

In 2016, Capriotti’s drew a trio of new investors, including David Barr, a Yum! Brands Inc. franchisee and board member at Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc., along with JD and Shelly Sun, founders of the home health agency BrightStar Care.

Barr and JD Sun took positions on Capriotti’s board, and Morris said the three franchising experts would help further the chain’s nationwide expansion.

“We set out to become a national sandwich franchise company,” Morris said in an interview last September. “Not only did we need growth capital, we needed strategic advice. We now have two great, new board members and substantial capital. We can focus our energy into growing the brand across the country.” 

In Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 census, Capriotti’s reported 2015 U.S. systemwide sales of $63.7 million across 90 units, including 13 company locations and 77 franchised restaurants. System average unit volumes in fiscal 2015 were $707,410.

Alan Liddle, NRN’s data and event content director, contributed to this report.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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