Potbelly Corporation, the iconic neighborhood sandwich shop, has announced the signing of 192 new development commitments, putting the brand on track for rapid expansion across the U.S.
Since the launch of its Franchise Growth Acceleration Initiative, the brand has signed shop development agreements in regions from coast to coast including New York, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, Washington, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, with experienced operators from well-known restaurant brands such as Burger King, Dunkin’, Wendy’s and Wingstop.
Potbelly founder and former CEO Bryant Keil and his son, Hampden, are among the franchisee partners who signed an agreement with Potbelly in 2023. In July, Potbelly announced it had finalized a 27-shop agreement with Mr. Keil, which included the purchase of 12 existing shops in Maryland and a commitment to build an additional 15 shops in the state.
“Hampden and I are thrilled to continue the Potbelly story in [our home state of] Maryland,” says Mr. Keil, who was CEO of Potbelly from 1996 to 2008. “Ever since I tried my first hot, toasty sandwich, I’ve had incredible passion for this brand and what it could become. We’re thrilled to be part of the Potbelly story again, bringing craveable food and good vibes to more areas of Maryland in the coming years.”
“Our 5-Pillar Strategy, which focuses on traffic-driven profitability and franchise unit growth, has yielded impressive results since putting it in place in late 2020,” says Bob Wright, President and CEO of Potbelly. “We’re pleased with the continued momentum we’ve seen in 2023 in sales and traffic growth, margin expansion and franchise development commitments across the U.S. Looking ahead, Potbelly is prioritizing further expansion with experienced, multi-unit restaurant owner-operator groups, and we’re committed to realizing growth in new and existing markets where we’re confident the brand will continue to thrive. We’re thrilled to bring the unique Potbelly experience to customers in so many new locations across the country.”
As part of Potbelly’s ongoing Franchise Growth Acceleration Initiative, the company has a long-term goal of reaching 2,000 shops, with approximately 85% of those locations being franchised. Qualified franchise candidates can benefit from the sandwich concept’s flexible shop designs – including inline, endcap, drive-thru and non-traditional locations – which are equipped with tech-enabled enhancements to foster in-shop, take-out and delivery dining. These factors, along with a diverse menu and multiple revenue streams driven by various dayparts, all make Potbelly an attractive franchise restaurant investment.