The new store design also contemplates future drive-thru locations, a channel that has grown significantly throughout the pandemic. In fact, drive-thru went from increased orders by 4 percent in January 2020 to 22 percent in December, and ended the year with a 44 percent share of off-premises orders, according to the NPD Group. Lohmann says Quiznos identified drive-thrus as a necessity prior to the pandemic, and that COVID placed the channel higher on the priority list.
The brand, which currently operates a handful of drive-thrus, will place the amenity in select cities based on trade markets and consumer demand.
“I don't think we can sit here and say that every future Quiznos is going to have a drive-thru, but again, it's going to be a high priority for us—just given what we learned during COVID, but also what we learned in the insights process before COVID, like the speed and convenience,” Lohmann says.
The prototype will be the standard for all new builds. As for existing stores, Quiznos is giving franchisees flexibility on the timing and scale of the rebrand rollout. There will be a variety of remodel offerings, including opportunities for operators to participate without investing in extensive additional equipment. Lohmann notes that Quiznos is going to position the prototype in ways that suit franchisees’ “individual needs specific to their trade area and also specific to their existing consumers and guests today.”
“We see this rebrand as an opportunity for them to drive best-in-class results, and that's what we've communicated to them,” Lohmann says. “And they've taken note. So everything we've heard so far, they've been very pleased with the rebrand strategy, and the majority of whom we've spoken are excited for what the future holds.”
The aggressive move comes seven years after the chain emerged from bankruptcy. At the time, leaders of the brand agreed to a restructuring deal that reduced debt by more than $400 million. The plan involved three of the top figures in the company forming an agreement to trade $445 million in debt for $200 million in new debt plus 70 percent of shares.
During its years of retraction, the company was in heavy litigation with franchisees over purchasing policies and high food costs. In 2016, then CEO Susan Lintonsmith initiated a “New Deal” program to shrink royalties and payments toward the marketing fund. The move reportedly saved franchisees about $12,000 per year, but the footprint continued to shrink.
But 2021 is the dawn of a new era for Quiznos. Lohmann says the refreshed brand and remodel will excite operators and meet the evolving needs of consumers.
“It will increase our already high brand awareness and, we believe, will bring industry leading returns to our franchisees,” Lohmann says. “But most importantly, this is going to allow us to continue to deliver high quality, fresh, and bold flavors in a variety of innovative ways. I don't think that guests will be able to get a better product anywhere else, and with the new brand elements, they're going to be doing so at some of the best designed restaurants in the industry. I can't wait for that first location to open.”