Throughout 2021, Schlotzsky’s — the fast-casual, Focus Brands-owned sandwich company — has plans to sign more than 100 restaurants throughout the U.S. during its 50th anniversary year. After announcing new off-premises-driven store prototypes in late 2020, the company is ready to open new tech-focused franchised stores.
“The great thing is we got to see some of the efficiencies that we were forecasting actually come to fruition during COVID,” Tory Bartlett, chief brand officer for Schlotzsky’s, told NRN. “By partnering with franchisees up front, there was a lot of momentum from the existing franchisees to get excited about what the new direction is for the brand, which is leaning into these new channels.”
When expanding the brand, Schlotzsky’s will look to penetrate markets like the Southeast and Midwest, and filling in pre-existing markets like Kansas City. When developing both of these new store prototypes (one with no dining room, and one with a smaller dining room), the most important aspect was to keep cost in mind for franchisees:
“If you’re building these locations, what’s your return on investment?” Bartlett said. “By building a smaller footprint, we’ve engineered a lot of the cost out of that.”