Penn Station East Coast Subs, the fast-casual restaurant known for its legendary Philadelphia Cheesesteak Sub Sandwich, served hot and made-to-order on freshly baked French bread, opened 21 restaurants in 2012, with plans to open 40 more next year.

Penn Station entered several new markets this year, including Chattanooga, Tennessee; Columbia, Missouri; Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan.

"We have made each restaurant's success our main priority, which is why we are able to offer such an outstanding return on investment to our franchisees and why we boast a 99.9 percent success rate," says Craig Dunaway, president of Penn Station. "We will continue to look for qualified multiunit franchisees who have restaurant managment experience. Our growth strategy has been focused on growing concentrically from our home base in Cincinnati, and based on the success of 2012, we will continue that method next year."

Building on the success of its multiunit franchisees, Penn Station is seeking entrepreneurs with prior restaurant experience, as well as small, active investment groups to open at least five restaurants.

Penn Station will continue to focus on smart growth in targeted markets with the franchisees that are the right fit for the company. Key growth markets for 2013 include Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Detroit; Nashville, Tennesee; Richmond, Virginia; and North and South Carolina.

Penn Station serves a variety of hot and cold subs, as well as fresh, hand-cut french fries, hand-squeezed lemonade, and chocolate chunk cookies baked fresh in the restaurant.

Penn Station has more than 250 restaurants in 13 states, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. All but two locations are franchised.

Projections call for the opening of 40 restaurants in 2013 and 45 in 2014.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Sandwiches, Penn Station East Coast Subs