Modern Restaurant Management magazine’s Franchise Feed offers a glimpse at what’s new in the restaurant franchise environment. Send items of interest to Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subway Fresh Forward
Subway®, the world’s largest restaurant chain, is rolling out the Subway® Fresh Forward design, transforming every aspect of the customer experience.
Subway® engaged FRCH Design Worldwide to design a distinctive and welcoming space. A bright new color palette, inspired by fresh vegetables, and the new Choice Mark serve as a focal point in the new space.
“We’ve created a modern design that gives our guests choices – from how they order, to how they pick up their food, to how they enjoy their meal,” said Trevor Haynes, Vice President of Operations at Subway®. “The reactions from our guests, our franchisees and the Sandwich Artists™ has been incredibly positive.”
Digital: Self-order kiosks in select locations, digital menu boards and, as always, Apple and Samsung Pay options. Guests enjoy a speedy Subway® experience with a separate food preparation area and a designated pre-order pick-up location for kiosk, mobile app, delivery, catering and bot for Messenger orders.
Food: Fresh veggie display with whole tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cucumbers that are sliced daily, plus new bread and cookie displays on the front of the line. Subway® Fresh Forward restaurants also include new menu items, starting with pico de gallo, new sauces, house-made pickles, and made-without-gluten bread.
Dine-In Experience: Bright and playful décor, curated music, and comfortable seating with USB charging ports and complimentary Wi-Fi create a welcoming environment.
The Subway® Fresh Forward design has been brought to life with input from franchisees and customers around the world. There are 12 pilot locations open today in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.: Tamarac, FL; Orlando, FL (2); Winter Park, FL; Chula Vista, CA; Knoxville, TN; Palmview, TX; Hillsboro, OR; Vancouver, WA; Beauport, QC; Granby, QC; and Manchester, U.K.
The new restaurant design is the next phase of Subway’s evolution. The company created Subway® Digital in 2016 to develop an omni-channel strategy. Subway® also revealed a new brand identity, designed by Turner Duckworth New York, including an iconic logotype, new symbol called the Choice Mark and optimized color palette that is brought to life through bright and bold new imagery, new packaging, uniforms and signage, which started rolling out this spring in North America. Many elements of the new brand identity will be worldwide by the end of 2017.
Founded in 2009 in a vacant bakery in Astoria, New York, Bareburger has grown to 44 locations in five countries. The Impossible Burger debuted at Bareburger’s flagship store near New York University in March. Bareburger was the first multi-unit chain to feature the Impossible Burger. One in five Bareburger customers orders the Impossible Burger – and the fanbase is growing daily since its debut in March 2017.
“We’re meeting new customers every day who specifically come to Bareburger for the Impossible Burger,” said Euripides Pelekanos, Bareburger CEO and Co-Founder. “Having the Impossible Burger on the menu is good for the planet, our children – and happens to be good for business, too. In the simplest way I can put it, we feel ‘good’ about serving this burger in more of our restaurants.”
Founded in 2011, Impossible Foods will begin production at its first large-scale plant later this summer. The manufacturing facility, in Oakland, Calif., is expected to scale up production throughout the second half of 2017.
The goal for the East Oakland site is to make enough Impossible Burgers to serve one million people per week. The 67,000-square-foot site has the capacity to make 250 times more Impossible Burgers than the company is currently making in its headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., and at a small facility in New Jersey, which helps to meet the consumer demand for Impossible Burgers at more than one Bareburger. As production increases, Impossible Foods will expand to more and more restaurants, including multi-unit chains. The Impossible Burger is now at the Astoria (31st Ave.), Court Square, Forest Hills, Upper West Side, Murray Hill and Laguardia Pl. locations.
Ways & Means To Open Third U.S. Location
On the heels of announcing its upcoming grand opening in Portland, Oregon, Ways & Means Oyster House will open its third location in San Diego in Spring 2018. The oyster house will be located in the center of downtown La Jolla on Prospect Street, which boasts a large variety of art galleries, iconic restaurants and city landmarks, all representing the rich and colorful history of the town.
This will be the third domestic restaurant, with international locations coming soon in the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa. The award-winning Southern California oyster house was created in the tradition of world-class oyster bars around the world, boasting fresh seafood and seasonal dishes. Its creative menu boasts small plates with bold flavors and an extensive bar program.
“Our focus is to be more than just a restaurant to our guests; we aspire to be a part of their lifestyle. Ways & Means celebrates community and quality seafood and we are very excited to introduce this concept to La Jolla,” said VP of Operations, Dan Schneider.
Ways & Means has developed a collection of private label products, including oysters, wine, rum and beer. The brand introduced its own Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc wines, produced through a partnership with TateDog wines in Livermore, California. Ways & Means formed a partnership with Tom Perry to harvest its own branded oysters out of White Stone, Virginia. In a similar partnership with Papa’s Pilar Rum, the brand now offers its own 24-year-aged rum; with Santa Monica Brewing Co, it offers Blonde and IPA beers, and with Julen’s Ausome Sauce, two marinades with sales benefiting autism charities.
Wayback Burgers’ Rapid Domestic and International Franchise Growth
Wayback Burgers is growing their franchise system in the U.S. and abroad. In the first six months of 2017, the hometown burger joint is on pace to shatter their franchise development numbers from 2016. Wayback Burgers President, John Eucalitto, credits the corporate staff and franchisees for introducing and embracing game changing ideas that have positioned the brand for consistent and sustainable growth.
“Few industries are as competitive as the burger business, so it’s difficult to earn, and even harder to maintain, a great reputation and true staying power,” said Eucalitto. “The brands that endure serve great tasting food and commit to constant innovation, like we have at Wayback Burgers. Since January, we have already rolled out a brand new in-store design, introduced a revolutionary mobile food cart, and sold dozens of new franchise agreements while continuing to serve up the best food in the business…and we’re just getting started.”
Wayback Burgers has already opened 10 new locations in 2017 (with another 20 under construction in the US), raising the system total to 120 locations in 28 states. Since January 1, Wayback Burgers has opened locations from coast-to-coast in Buford, GA, Dallas, TX, West Chester, OH, Middletown, CT, Woodland, WA, Folsom, CA, Phoenixville, PA, Winston-Salem, NC, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, and Covington, GA.
Eucalitto says these new franchisees, and all other aspiring owners, are attracted to Wayback Burgers’ experienced leadership team, reasonable cost, proven model, and of course, the fantastic food.
“Prospective franchisees are drawn to our stable leadership group, which has been in place since 2008,” said Eucalitto. “We have strong experience in franchising and understand the needs of the franchisees. They also love the manageable all-in investment, multi-unit franchising options, and our world-class training and support, whether they have a restaurant background or not. But the biggest selling point to prospective franchisees is the food. Once they taste it, they’re sold.”
Internationally, Wayback Burgers has its sights set on even more growth. With restaurants already open in Argentina, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia, Wayback Burgers will be opening locations in Kuala Lumpur, Sudan, Casa Blanca, and Kuwait by end of year.
Wayback Burgers Executive Vice President, Bill Chemero, says this international success is just the beginning.
“We have already awarded Wayback Burgers franchise agreements in more than 35 countries and are actively searching for master franchisees in the UK, Germany, South Africa and the Netherlands,” said Chemero. “In each country, we develop relationships with experienced food executives interested in becoming master franchisees and area developers responsible for introducing and growing the Wayback Burgers brand. These master franchisees and area developers open and run a successful Wayback Burgers restaurant before selling the concept to other independent owners. This system works beautifully because American brands sell incredibly well in other countries when a respected and proven native businessman is leading the charge.”
Wayback Burgers currently operates in 28 states with over 120 locations nationally and internationally in Argentina, Brunei and Saudi Arabia. Through its executed master franchise agreements, Wayback Burgers plans to open in 35 provinces/countries in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Argentina, Pakistan, Brunei, Bangladesh; Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with pending letters of intent sent out to South Africa and the U.K.
“Since our founding in 2012, we have built the infrastructure to grow through the franchise model and we’re confident we’ll continue to flourish throughout California,” stated David Adir, co-founder and CEO. “We’re seeking franchisees who appreciate the originality of our concept and are passionate about the restaurant industry in order to elevate our brand to new heights.”
With additional corporate locations slated to open in downtown Los Angeles, South Bay, Koreatown, and Beverly Hills, The Carving Board is targeting strategic franchise growth throughout San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.
“The Carving Board is truly a unique brand—it thrives in high-density major metropolitan areas and we want as many people as we can to experience the fresh products we have to offer,” added Adir. “We are excited to continue our expansion in our home state and bring fresh ingredients and innovative sandwiches to our local communities.”
Founded in May 2012 by brothers David and Yoav Adir, The Carving Board Sandwiches is a fast-casual specialty sandwich franchise that transforms classic comfort dishes into sandwiches. Headquartered in Tarzana, Calif., the brand began franchising in 2016 and has since grown to five locations currently operating or in various stages of development.
Bobby’s Burger Launches Global Licensing
Bobby’s Burger Palace, the fast casual burger concept created by Bobby Flay launched its first ever global licensing program, opening up expansion opportunities for the brand through qualified partners in new markets.
Bobby’s Burger Palace first opened its doors in 2008. Today the company operates 17 restaurants in the U.S., with the goal of expanding into new markets around the globe.
“I’ve spent the last nine years perfecting Bobby’s Burger Palace,” said Bobby Flay. “We have been patient in developing the concept and have waited to grow more aggressively until we felt the concept and the business were ready. We are fortunate to have great growth potential with this brand, and we believe that we are now ready to work with licensing partners to bring our burger experience to our fans around the world.”
“With our many restaurants located across nine states and Washington, D.C., we believe we have a significant opportunity to grow the brand with partners in the U.S. and internationally,” added Laurence Kretchmer, managing partner at Bobby’s Burger Palace. “We have shied away from many licensing requests over the years because we did not feel it was the right time to expand. Today we are proud to say that our brand is ready and we look forward to working with partners to rapidly expand Bobby’s Burger Palace.”
Gloria Jean’s Grants Area Development Rights
As part of its efforts to accelerate growth in the United States, global speciality coffee house, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, today announced the grant of Area Development Rights for Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
Raed Naser secured the Area Development Rights following a rigorous selection process, and plans on establishing his first Gloria Jean’s Coffees outlet within the region by September 2017.
RFG Chief Executive – International, Mike Gilbert, said the U.S. is one of the fastest growing regions for the Gloria Jean’s Coffees Brand System.
“Growth of the brand in the US market has been stimulated by rising trends in habitual coffee consumption, together with a growing demand for high-quality espresso coffee offered by respected brands specialising in the coffee space,” he said. “The Gloria Jean’s Coffees brand was founded in Chicago in 1979, so the region holds a special place for the brand. We are therefore excited to be partnering with an experienced local professional who shares our vision for Gloria Jean’s Coffees.”
The agreement will see Naser open seven coffee houses throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and represents a departure from the brand’s historical North American store-by-store growth model.
“The United States very much remains an untapped market with considerable opportunity to grow the Gloria Jean’s Coffees footprint,” Gilbert said. “Small territory licences are much more common in large countries like America than they are in Australia, and they’re a proven business model because they allow the master franchisor to retain sufficient control of the brand, whilst also affording access to local expertise, knowledge and relationships.We are focused on accelerating Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ growth in North America, and see considerable opportunity in partnering with committed area developers and master franchisees aligned with our vision to tap growing American demand for unique and high-quality coffee offers.”
Naser affords the business significant growth opportunities via his significant property experience, and is already investigating Drive Thru locations, multiple street front opportunities and two kiosk sites in premium outlet malls.
Sunny Street Cafe Celebrates 10 Years
Sunny Street Café first opened their doors back in 2007 and has been serving excellent breakfast and lunch ever since. Based out of Columbus, OH the breakfast restaurant franchise has now grown to 18 restaurants in Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, and St Albert, Alberta. To celebrate a whole decade of flipping pancakes Sunny Street Café is throwing a party, “10 Years and Still Crackin’,” from July 22nd to the 31st.
“The celebration is all things ten- 10 days of fun,” says Mike Stasko Jr, Vice President of Brand Strategy. “We really wanted to say thank you to our community in a big way. We couldn’t have kept going without our guests behind us. This celebration is not only a chance for us to have fun but a chance to give back as well.”
They will be raising funds for the Kids In Need Foundation during the celebration.
“We have always put a high priority in giving back to those we serve,” says Stasko. “Kids In Need Foundation really aligns with our values of family, community, and generosity. They are a fantastic charity and we are proud to be working with them.”
During the 10 Year Celebration Sunny Street Café will be featuring a throwback menu item from their original menu. The Black and Bleu Wrap is a Black Angus Burger, blackened and sliced, then wrapped up with bleu cheese crumbles, sauteed red onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. 10 percent of the proceeds of the featured item will be donated to the Foundation. The Café will also be collecting donations at the counter.
Salata To Open First Restaurant In Kingwood
Salata is celebrating the grand opening of its first Kingwood restaurant in the Main Street Kingwood shopping center.
“We are very excited to introduce Salata to the Kingwood area,” said Shaz Amarsi, Salata Kingwood projects coordinator. “We are dedicated to serving healthy, quality food to our guests and we’re looking forward to supporting the schools, charities and other organizations throughout our local community.”
Salata Kingwood will donate 50 percent of the proceeds made on grand opening day to help support the medical rehabilitation of local boy, Seth Haynes, who was seriously injured in February after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike.
“Our hearts went out to Seth and his family when we heard about his unexpected accident,” said Karim Haji, Salata Kingwood franchise owner. “We felt it was important to join the community in support of Seth’s recovery.”
The new restaurant marks the 56th Salata in Texas and among more than 60 nationwide.
Uberrito Signs New Franchisee
Überrito said that Rick Howard and Ryan Howard have signed on as the Company’s initial franchisee with a multi-unit commitment for three future locations in Arizona. The announcement signals Überrito’s focus on growth through several initiatives, including the franchising of its fast-casual, build-your-own burrito concept nationwide.
The father and son team brings a breadth of franchise knowledge to the agreement. Rick Howard is an entrepreneur and franchisee with more than 37 years experience across a multitude of brands, while Ryan Howard is the operating manager of a franchised Pita Jungle that is majority owned by Rick Howard. Throughout his career, Rick Howard has held various roles in restaurant development and operations, as both a franchisee and franchisor, for brands ranging from Pizza Hut, Peter Piper Pizza, Pita Jungle and several others.
The new franchise locations, once opened, will bring the number of total Überrito locations in the area to five. The first franchise location is slated to open in 2018.
“As professionals, we spend our careers looking for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and joining Überrito as a franchisee is exactly that for me and my family,” said Rick Howard, Überrito franchisee. “This is a growing franchise with an unrivaled product and customer experience. As lifelong residents of the greater Phoenix area, we look forward to growing this brand in our hometown and beyond.”
In order to meet growing demand and further its expansion, the company brought on Chief Development Officer Peter Ortiz in April 2017. Ortiz is singularly focused on establishing Überrito as the premier franchise concept in the fast casual Mexican food segment.
“Adding franchisees of this caliber signals our commitment to deliver an exceptional experience for customers and the community as a whole,” said Peter Ortiz, chief development officer for Überrito. “Rick and Ryan have an impressive background in our industry, but perhaps most impressive is their involvement in serving the communities in which they operate. Their focus on quality, growth, and being engaged in the community will be an asset to our mutual growth plans.”
Überrito continues to seek experienced, multi-unit operators and investors to help grow the brand nationally. Single and multi-unit area development opportunities, along with master franchise agreements, are available.
The company currently operates five Houston-area locations and two Phoenix locations, which includes four new restaurant openings since 2016.
Überrito is part of Mexican Restaurants, Inc., which currently operates 45 Mexican restaurant locations across five brands: Überrito, Casa Ole, Monterey’s Little Mexico, Tortuga Mexican Kitchen and Crazy Jose’s. Additionally, there are ten franchise locations for Casa Ole.
Insomnia Looking for Expansion Opportunities
Insomnia Cookies,will open their real estate search to all 48 states in the continental United States. The brand celebrated their 100th opening last year and currently boasts 116 locations in 32 states. The concept’s locations are focused in areas that have a large college or university presence (defined as 10,000 or more full-time students), as well as dense urban markets with heavy nighttime and/or daytime traffic. The official search includes spaces ranging from 500-1,200 square feet.
“Insomnia’s growth has been fueled by our fans across the country. In the past few years we have expanded out of our core markets like Philadelphia, New York and Chicago and have been met with great success. In keeping with our commitment of continued progress in everything we do, opening the real estate search to all of the continental U.S. makes complete sense,” said Dave Lasus, Chief Operating Officer. “We have given careful thought to our expansion since day one. We are particularly excited about having reached this milestone and are optimistic about the search.”
Taco John’s® Breaks Ground in Bridgeport
Taco John’s has broken ground on its first Bridgeport restaurant in anticipation of a September opening. The new restaurant is currently under construction at 102 W. 5th St., at the corner of Highway 385 and 92/26. It will be part of a newly expanded 6,393-square-foot Cenex convenience store. The store is triple the size of the original with two drive-thru restaurants, seating capacity for 40 people, a beer cave and seven fueling islands.
When the Bridgeport restaurant opens, it will be the 41st Taco John’s in Nebraska and among nearly 400 system-wide. The company will be hiring 20-30 team members for multiple positions in the weeks ahead.
“No one does Mexican like Taco John’s, so we’re very excited to have them join us for this unique project,” said Mike Hofer, Chief Operating Officer of TJ® franchisee Panhandle Cooperative Association. “We are really looking forward to bringing our giant one-stop-shop to the people of Bridgeport.”
Panhandle Co-op is a patron-owned, community-based company dedicated to serving “Families, Farms and Food.” The Bridgeport location is their first Taco John’s franchise.
Back Yard Burgers Acquired
Axum Capital Partners, a Charlotte, NC, based private equity firm, has acquired a controlling interest in Back Yard Burgers from Pharos Capital Group, LLC.
“Partnering with Axum creates an exciting opportunity for our dedicated franchise partners and loyal team members to reach the next level of success,” said David McDougall, Back Yard’s Chief Executive Officer who joined the 55-unit operator and franchisor about five years ago. “We’re well on our way to becoming the market leader in our category, and we’re thrilled to be working with Axum’s experienced leadership team.”
Back Yard Burgers recently marked a major milestone and celebrated its 30-year anniversary in May 2017. Today there are 32 franchised and 23 company-owned restaurants across 11 states – Tennessee, Alabama,Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Carolina. The company was founded by Lattimore Michael in 1987 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.
Through this new partnership with Axum, Back Yard Burgers’ management under the leadership of McDougall will work closely with Axum to strengthen the company’s competitive position and execute its growth strategy. In addition to bringing additional resources to the company, Axum’s deep industry expertise will enable Back Yard Burgers to achieve its long-term objectives.
“David and his team have made great strides and we are pleased to support their next phase of growth,” said Edna Morris, Axum managing director. “The better burger category remains strong, and Back Yard Burgers is poised for growth.”
“We will continue to maintain our disciplined and comprehensive investment approach and are pleased to add Back Yard Burgers to our portfolio; what I love most about Back Yard Burgers is the food,” said Muhsin Muhammad, Axum managing director. “It has the best-tasting burgers, and we are looking forward to being part of its future success.”
The Gyro Shack Plans New Location
The Hercules of Greek cuisine, The Gyro Shack, announced a new location that will bring its signature gyros to Lakewood. The new restaurant, opening in fall 2017, will expand the brand’s authentic Mediterranean favorites to the coast.
The 1,200 square foot location will feature a drive-up window and a space for indoor seating. Owned and operated by Todd and Kelly Mulvahill, The Gyro Shack in Lakewood is the first of 14 locations the couple will open in the southern suburbs of Seattle. Arriving on the heels of the recently opened Everett location, the Lakewood location is the second of more than 20 locations slated to open in Washington.
“There is nothing like the rush of excitement in Lakewood when there is a new food option in town,” said Todd, co-owner of The Gyro Shack of Lakewood. “We opened our first Papa Murphy’s here 22 years ago and we are thrilled to be striking up the excitement again by bringing the area’s first The Gyro Shack – which we know the community will love.”
The couple currently owns six Papa Murphy’s locations in the region and looks forward to providing their favorite communities with even more delicious restaurant options.
“Once Lakewood tries, our fresh, imaginative menu, we know they’ll be hooked,” said Seth Brink, vice president of operations and development at The Gyro Shack. “We can’t wait to hear Lakewood screaming ‘Opa!’”
The Gyro Shack is seeking qualified applicants in the Pacific Northwest who currently are multiunit franchisees with restaurant experience. The minimum number of franchises sold to an individual group is three.
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar Seeks Team Members
With Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar’s first restaurant in Oklahoma rapidly nearing completion, the popular Denver-based brand is seeking 80-90 candidates for multiple positions – including dishwashers, cooks, hosts, servers and bartenders – at its newest restaurant, which will be located at 2050 24th Ave. NW in Norman.
“We are extremely excited to finally introduce Bad Daddy’s to Oklahoma and we can’t wait to see hungry people in Norman scarfing down our amazing burgers,” said Boyd Hoback, CEO of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. “We work hard and play hard. At the end of the day, it’s about going all out to create an outstanding customer experience while following our number one rule – be yourself and have fun.”
Interviews will be scheduled beginning Monday, July 17, at the hiring center located at 1936 24th Ave. NW in Norman. Interested team member candidates may apply online at www.work4baddaddys.com or stop by the hiring center Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“I joined the Bad Daddy’s team because of the fresh food and awesome atmosphere,” said General Manager Ben Hendon. “Working at Bad Daddy’s has a ton of perks, like the fact that you get to grub on burgers all day! We’re also really flexible with work schedules and you’ll have the opportunity to grow with an up-and-coming brand. Plus you’ll work alongside some really fun people. I can’t wait to assemble a great team here in Norman!”
BurgerFi Opens in Boynton Beach
BurgerFi opened at 1500 Gateway Blvd. inside Renaissance Commons in Boynton Beach.
Franchise owner Phil Scavo is a father of three and an avid entrepreneur in the health, technology and real estate industry. Scavo has been coming down to South Florida for business and family visits for years. He fell in love with the all-natural concept of BurgerFi and decided to move his family down to South Florida to open the newest location.
“We saw the demand for a better burger restaurant in Renaissance Commons and wanted to provide Boynton Beach residents with a place they could enjoy our unrivaled mouth-watering menu offerings in a fun, family dining experience,” said franchisee Scavo. “Boynton Beach residents will no longer have to drive to Delray, Wellington or West Palm Beach to get their BurgerFi fix and we look forward to becoming their go-to destination.”
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant has a seating capacity for approximately 100 patrons inside their dining room and patio seating for 40. The space also features various eco-friendly elements including:
- Picnic and four-top tables made from over 700,000 upcycled milk jugs
- Industrial-style chairs with select red chairs made of 111 upcycled Coca-Cola bottles
- Wood panel walls made from the most renewable timber available —Number 2 southern pine lumber
- A 10-ft fan that consumes 88 percent less energy
- 100 percent recycled paper countertops
- 100 percent energy efficient LED lighting
Burger 21 at Tampa Airport
Ready to take their better burger to new heights, Burger 21®, opened the brand’s first airport location at the Tampa International Airport in Airside A is open and serving guests.
“Burger 21 began in Tampa so we’re very excited to provide a chef-inspired meal option to travelers visiting the airport and give guests a taste of what Tampa has to offer,” said Mark Johnston, president and co-founder of Burger 21®. “This is a great opportunity for us to share our food with guests who haven’t experienced Burger 21 before and we’re happy to offer a unique and high-quality meal to travelers.”
Burger 21® plans to open a second location in Airside C later this year as the brand continues to elevate the better burger experience. The airport locations will feature a limited menu including breakfast items and popular existing menu items that guests currently enjoy at existing locations.
There are now 21 locations open in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia, and approximately 15 in development in 11 states. Since its inception, the company has provided more than $196,670 in contributions as part of its “B Charitable” initiative, in which it donates 10 percent of its restaurants’ sales to local schools and charities on the 21st of each month.
Potbelly to Open in Columbia, Missouri
Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced its first shop in Columbia will be open to the public on Tuesday, July 25. The shop is located in Forum Development Group’s Broadway Bluffs at 2500 Broadway Bluffs Drive on East Broadway, near the intersection with Highway 63. Restaurant and hospitality aficionado Evan Thomas will open this Columbia location, drawing on his understanding of the brand after working for several Potbelly shops in Chicago to build a restaurant that will match Columbia’s unique personality.
“Opening our first location here is definitely a cause for celebration,” Thomas said. “Since I worked at my first Potbelly shop in Chicago, I couldn’t wait to open my own location. Now, I’m ready to bring a great lunch experience and fun neighborhood vibe to families and students throughout Columbia.”
A Columbia native, Thomas brings nearly 20 years of restaurant and customer service experience to his new shop, including working as the general manager at numerous Potbelly corporate locations in Chicago. Thomas plans to give back to the local neighborhood with an oven-warming event on July 24, with proceeds going to the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri.
“With this opening, we’re looking forward to watching Evan make Potbelly the best place for lunch in Columbia,” said Chris Birkinshaw, senior director of domestic franchising for Potbelly Sandwich Shop. “With Evan’s background in the industry and his extensive experience at Potbelly locations in Chicago, he has what it takes to make his location a perfect fit for locals and students looking for their favorite new favorite sandwich shop.”
Potbelly Sandwich Shop first opened in Chicago in 1977, and operates more than 400 shops across the United States. Franchisees operate more than 35 shops in the United States and abroad, and Potbelly plans to continue franchise growth in 2017.
Wingstop Appoints Scott McLeod Senior Vice President of Operations
Wingstop Restaurants Inc. with 1,031 locations worldwide hired restaurant industry veteran Scott McLeod as Senior Vice President of Operations. McLeod will be responsible for overseeing the chain’s domestic corporate and franchise operations as well as training. He will report to Charlie Morrison, Chairman and CEO of Wingstop.
McLeod spent nearly 20 years with Domino’s Pizza and held a number of senior positions in the company. He most recently served as National Director of Operations and Development for a Domino’s United Kingdom franchise, overseeing the country’s more than £1B in annual sales. Under Mr. McLeod’s leadership, Domino’s successfully grew both its total sales and new store development to become the number one pizza chain in total market share in the United Kingdom. Prior to that, Mr. McLeod held senior domestic positions with Domino’s including leading the chain’s South and East area franchise operations. He also served as National Vice President of Development and Operations for Domino’s in Ann Arbor, MI.
“Scott has a proven track record for success with significant breadth and depth of experience that comes from working with one of the most recognized restaurant organizations in the world,” said Morrison. “As we continue to grow our business both here in the U.S. and internationally, Scott will be instrumental in maintaining our unique brand position, and positioning us for greater growth.”
“I am incredibly excited to join the Wingstop family,” said McLeod. “I look forward to collaborating with these talented restaurant industry leaders and to helping Wingstop on its path to becoming a top ten worldwide restaurant brand.”
MOD Piza Appoints Paul Twohig as Chief Operating Officer
MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC appointed Paul Twohig to the new role of Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Twohig, who has served on MOD’s Advisory Board since 2008, brings more than four decades of industry experience having served as President of Dunkin’ Donuts, Senior Vice President at Starbucks and COO and Executive Vice President at Panera Bread. With Twohig’s arrival, Chris Schultz, former Senior Vice President of Operations, will take on the new role of Senior Vice President, International to lead MOD’s development abroad.
Twohig most recently served as President of Dunkin’ Donuts, where he led U.S. and Canadian operations, franchising and store development for more than 8,500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations. During his tenure with Dunkin’, he oversaw the development of over 2,000 new restaurants, launched six new international markets, served as interim President for Europe and Latin America, and was a member of the senior executive team that completed Dunkin’s IPO in 2011.
Prior to Dunkin’, Twohig was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Panera Bread, and spent a total of 14 years at Starbucks in two separate stints. In his role at Panera, Twohig was responsible for company and franchise operations, overseeing an aggressive store and market expansion strategy. With Starbucks, Twohig served as Vice President and General Manager, UK, leading the company’s expansion into the UK, and then as Senior Vice President, Western Operations, where he oversaw retail operations and restaurant development for more than 1,200 stores in the Western US and Canada. Twohig returned to Starbucks in 2005 as Senior Vice President, Eastern Division, leading over 3,000 cafés in 35 states.
“Ally and I first met Paul in 1998 when Starbucks acquired Seattle Coffee Company, the coffee business we built in the UK. He has been a friend and trusted advisor since then, including helping us as we developed the plan to launch MOD in 2008. Not only will Paul bring world-class experience and expertise to the team as we continue our journey of building the leading fast casual pizza brand in the world, but he will also be a fantastic champion for our culture and mission of using the business as a platform to make a positive social impact,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD. “Ally and I could not be happier to welcome Paul onto the MOD team. We are also extremely grateful for the leadership Chris Schultz has provided over the past seven years and are excited about the opportunities he will be pursuing to introduce MOD to markets outside the US.”
Added Twohig, “This is an exciting time to be involved with MOD. I am thrilled to put my energy behind another brand that is not only the leader in its segment, but is wholly committed to building a people-first culture. To be able to work in an industry that I love, and make a positive impact on individual lives and communities is an incredible opportunity for me – and worth delaying retirement for a few more years!”
MOD currently has over 235 locations in 23 states and the UK, with plans for continued rapid growth for the foreseeable future.
Pie Five Grows in Oklahoma
Pie Five Pizza Co. made its Edmond debut at 1380 W. Covell Road. It is the fourth Pie Five in the Oklahoma City area and fifth in Oklahoma.
“The Edmond community has been clamoring for a Pie Five to call its own ever since we opened our first Oklahoma restaurant in Stillwater a few years ago,” said Pie Five Franchisee Billy Bajema. “Pie Five’s clean, comfortable and friendly environment combined with speedy service and quality ingredients is perfect for this area. We love the Edmond community and look forward to getting involved with schools, churches, sports teams and other local organizations in the months and years ahead.”
Bajema, a former NFL and Oklahoma State tight end, has been a Pie Five franchisee for three years. He moved to Edmond with his family after his rookie year with the San Francisco 49ers.
Pie Five raised money during its pre-opening VIP event on July 18 for Boys Ranch Town, a Christian-based residential care organization and Shiloh Camp, an inner city camp with a mission to build confidence, strengthen the mind, spirit and body, and give kids hope for a brighter tomorrow.
With nearly 100 locations nationwide, Pie Five’s fast-casual concept provides guests with a fully customizable experience from start to finish. Dallas-based Pie Five Pizza Co. is a subsidiary of RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. RAVE owns, franchises and supplies more than 300 Pie Five and Pizza Inn restaurants operating domestically and internationally.
Kicking Delivery Up a Notch
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., along with its franchise partners, plans to hire nearly 3,000 new drivers a month through the end of the year.
The intensive hiring effort will bring in approximately 14,000 new drivers across the Pizza Hut system. The new delivery driver hires will include full and part-time positions and are based on the needs of the individual restaurant and market.
In addition to increasing its delivery driver fleet, Pizza Hut has developed a proprietary delivery network algorithm that will significantly change its pizza delivery business. The new delivery network algorithm is a multi-faceted technology system that drastically improves the accuracy and reliability of Pizza Hut deliveries. The system is capable of predicting how long a delivery will take and will account for variable factors such as weather, construction, traffic and other irregularities in the delivery pattern to enable safe, accurate deliveries.
“We have a belief that, ‘No One Out Pizzas the Hut,’ and for us that’s so much more than a tagline. It’s a promise that we are making to our customers,” said Artie Starrs, President, Pizza Hut, U.S. “We have been in the service business for almost 60 years, and our commitment to providing the best, most reliable delivery service and overall experience is as strong now as it ever has been. It has to be, because the customer expects that from us.”
The new delivery driver technology will be available in all 6,300 U.S. Pizza Hut restaurant locations immediately and enhances all parts of the delivery equation at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut has also transformed its online mapping and location services with Google Maps technology to improve Pizza Hut’s ability to accurately locate customers and identify the most convenient restaurant locations for both faster delivery and carry-out options.
“Our drivers are vitally important to our business, and we want to be the employer of choice for anyone looking to drive,” said Starrs. “Our plan is to keep drivers busy, efficient, and on the road in an effort to best serve our customers. We are only scratching the surface in the territory of services and flexibility that we can offer to those looking to drive.”
With more drivers, reliable delivery times and enhanced online mapping through Google, plus the ability to track orders from any mobile device, Pizza Hut is set to meet the needs of today’s connected environment.
“We are serious about this, and this focus and commitment to the best delivery experience will hopefully help some customers re-assess the brand if they haven’t tried us in a while or haven’t had us deliver a pizza before,” said Nicolas Burquier, Chief Operating Officer, Pizza Hut. “This is about accuracy and consistency, giving our customers a trusted experience. We think these technological enhancements further enable our team members to deliver a hot, delicious Pizza Hut pizza when the customer expects it.”
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation® celebrates a philanthropic milestone through an evolving partnership with parent company and largest corporate donor, Firehouse Subs, awarding a record-breaking $2.1 million in life-saving equipment grants this quarter to 133 first responder and public safety organizations across the nation.
Surpassing the previous record of $1.8 million set in third quarter last year, the nonprofit attributes the leap to a growing number of Firehouse Subs restaurants, as well as a new fundraising campaign launched by Firehouse of America (FOA) at the start of 2017. The FOA Campaign ensures a portion of every purchase made at U.S. Firehouse Subs locations supports the Foundation’s life-saving mission. Roughly 11 percent of equipment grants approved this quarter were funded through this initiative.
“The generosity of Firehouse Subs and the restaurant guests is truly humbling,” said Robin Peters, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Executive Director. “We’re very fortunate to have a business partner committed to a culture of philanthropy which impacts every community it serves. Every time we hear a story of how our awarded equipment helped save a life, the importance of our mission becomes a reality.”
Within the public safety sector, there is a constant need for the newest, safest and most technologically advanced tools, as access oftentimes means the difference between life and death. Equipment donated in high demand this quarter includes 118 automated external defibrillators (AEDs), 90 firefighter turnout sets and 21 hydraulic extrication kits. These grants are responsible for a growing number of life-saving stories relayed to the Foundation, including the remarkable story of Officer Schmittou, who on his first day of duty with Northville Township Police Department in Detroit used the department’s recently awarded AED to save a man’s life.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when Firehouse Subs co-founders, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, traveled to Mississippi to provide food to first responders and survivors. Upon their return to Florida, they created the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. Since its inception, the non-profit organization has granted more than $28 million to hometown heroes in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.
Each restaurant recycles leftover, five-gallon buckets, available to guests for a$2 donation to the Foundation. Donation canisters on register counters collect spare change, while the Round Up Program allows guests to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar. Grant allocations are made possible thanks to the overwhelming support of Firehouse Subs restaurants and generous donors.
The Foundation is also the beneficiary of a Charitable Sales Promotion where Firehouse of America (FOA) will donate to the Foundation a sum equivalent to 0.13 percent of all gross sales with a minimum donation of $1,000,000 through December 31.