Potbelly Corporation, the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, announced that it has finalized a 27-shop agreement in Maryland with the company’s founder Bryant Keil and his son Hampden.
The agreement grants Mr. Keil exclusive territory rights in seven Maryland counties – Washington, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s – to develop 15 new Potbelly shops in the next eight years. Additionally, Potbelly will refranchise 12 existing restaurant locations as part of the transaction.
“The Potbelly brand we know and love was shaped by Bryant’s leadership. He has a keen understanding of the Potbelly vision and deep appreciation for the brand and what sets us apart,” said Bob Wright, President and CEO of Potbelly. “He oversaw years of incredible expansion for our brand, and we look forward to him accelerating our growth momentum in Maryland as we continue to execute our strategic franchise and growth strategy across the U.S. Along with refranchising several of our existing shops, this agreement will extend Potbelly’s presence in central and southern regions of the state over the next decade, giving residents and visitors more access to our delicious food.”
“For nearly three decades, I’ve believed in the strength of the Potbelly brand and the company’s growth potential,” says Mr. Keil. “I’m thrilled for this new partnership and the opportunity to open and operate additional shops on the East Coast. I’m especially excited to partner with my son Hampden to develop the market and our family business. He grew up in Potbelly and has significant restaurant experience. We are both very excited to join the system.”
Mr. Keil first purchased Potbelly in 1996, when it was a single antique shop in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago whose owners served sandwiches to their customers. As CEO, he leaned into the differentiated Potbelly business model – creating shops that serve delicious, craveable food in an environment prioritizing good vibes – and successfully expanded the company to 250 locations by 2008. Today, there are more than 425 Potbelly locations in cities around the U.S.
Potbelly has a long-term goal of reaching 2,000 shops over the next 10 years, with at least 85% of those locations being franchised, as part of the company’s Franchise Growth Acceleration Initiative.