Industry News | March 23, 2005

Blimpie To Reposition Itself

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Last fall, Blimpie International Inc., global franchisor of Blimpie® restaurants, announced its intentions to re-invigorate the Blimpie brand. Wasting no time, the vision is becoming reality with the implementation of several initiatives—most notably, a refreshed logo, contemporary restaurant design, and an updated menu featuring hot, new panini-grilled Ciabatta bread sandwiches.

"Blimpie was the first sub sandwich chain in the country, and we have always been an innovator in menu concepts,” says Mark Mears, chief marketing officer of Blimpie International. "Now our brand reflects this forward-thinking positioning, transforming Blimpie from its heritage as a traditional neighborhood sub shop to a more consumer-driven, contemporary deli."

The refreshed Blimpie logo reflects a contemporary design with bright green and yellow—retaining the core equity of the previous version, while removing the red "racetrack." According to Blimpie, the updated logo will be integrated first into advertising and marketing materials, and then gradually throughout the system via packaging, merchandising, uniforms, and signage.

The redesigned restaurant interiors were created in collaboration with Atlanta-based retail design firm Miller Zell, Inc. The upscale décor includes modern, earth-tone paint and tile, wainscoting, pendant lighting, and hardwood laminate flooring. Unique aspects include a "community table" that can seat larger groups and curved architectural elements to simulate the look and feel of the logo throughout the interior. These elements can be seen in the latest Blimpie restaurant opening in a Pineville, Missouri, Wal-Mart.

"The new restaurant design reflects our theme of Real. Fresh. Taste. ™ and complements our branding efforts with the ambiance customers feel the moment they walk in the door," Mears says. "We anticipate the design to evolve, but are featuring many of the key elements in our newest restaurants. Other Blimpie restaurants will be implementing the décor at varying levels this year."

Blimpie’s new Ciabatta bread promotion launches April 1 throughout the country, featuring three Italian-themed sandwiches built on delicious Ciabatta bread and served hot from the Blimpie category-exclusive panini grill. Blimpie is the only quick-service sandwich chain with a panini grill and the company is aggressively developing new panini-grilled sandwich options, although any of its traditional sandwiches can be grilled by request. "In research testing, consumers told us they prefer a panini-grilled sandwich over a toasted sub in terms of both taste and value," says Jennifer Townsend, assistant vice president of menu development for Blimpie International.