From the pages of Restaurant Franchising
Carving Out Quality Opportunity with Quality Subs

When Lenny’s Sub Shop president, Brent Alvord, meets someone who hasn’t heard of Lenny’s, he describes how Lenny’s differs from the other sub shops: “If you come in and order a turkey sub, we take the turkey breast out of the deli case and slice it in front of you. You get about half a pound of meat and cheese on our regular size subs, with an average price of $6.45. We have a grill in each restaurant. Most of our competitors do not offer hot subs served fresh off the grill, but we grill onions with our steak, which we bring in from Philadelphia, for each Philly cheesesteak sub.” Whether it’s cold subs sliced fresh to order, or hot subs from the grill, Lenny’s offers a fresh experience for all guests.

The company opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1998 and now has 150 restaurants in 18 states and is planning expansion nationwide.

“Lenny’s franchisees have great business experience. We are in sales, and our widget happens to be a sandwich. We look for someone adept at networking and building inroads into the community,” Alvord says.

The average initial investment to open a Lenny’s is $253,750. Once on board, Lenny’s training and support kicks in. The franchisees spend at least five weeks training, including time at the national headquarters in Memphis, as well as time in the kitchen of a Lenny’s restaurant.

The company assists with site selection and uses a third party vendor to oversee management of the construction. “You sign the lease, and we give you the keys about 42 days later,” Alvord says.

After training, a team of corporate personnel comes to help with the grand opening and stays to iron out any kinks several days beyond opening. Lenny’s assigns one marketing consultant and one operations consultant to each franchisee for continued assistance in franchise growth.

“We are innovative. With almost 2,000 people across the system, we are able to leverage all creative intellectual property for the benefit of the brand.” —Brent Alvord, president

Lenny’s in-house POS system with proprietary software provides reports for franchisees to track results. “The system is customized to meet the needs of franchisees,” Alvord says. “Our loyalty program is incorporated into the system, so once a guest registers, they never have to show up with a card to be punched or stamped to receive points for their purchase. They can simply use their phone number to pull up their account and receive credit. Birthday coupons are emailed automatically to loyalty members, so franchisees don’t have to worry about that marketing aspect.

“We are innovative. With almost 2,000 people across the system coming up with new ideas all the time, we are able to leverage all creative intellectual property for the benefit of the brand,” Alvord says.

Lenny’s Sub Shop also helps franchisees by paying for guest satisfaction surveys. “Each survey acts as a score card to communicate how a franchisee’s restaurants are performing,” Alvord says. “With this system in place, we are able to pinpoint where franchisees need assistance and provide extra coaching from our marketing and operations consultants.”

Lenny’s has a consistent Facebook presence with multiple posts daily to keep the brand forward. “We pride ourselves on our relationships with our guests. Facebook allows us to continue our rapport online,” Alvord says.

Lenny’s recently announced a referral incentive program available to all franchisees, loyalty program members, and even Lenny’s Facebook fans. “If anyone sends us a referral and we sign a deal from that referral, we will pay a $10,000 referral fee. You cannot refer yourself, and there are a few other stipulations, but we want to reward our fans,” Alvord says.

“Let’s create a win/win for everyone, which will help us grow. We just need more franchisees to help us share Lenny’s subs with the world.”

For more information about franchising opportunities with Lenny’s, visit