The Success of Schlotzsky’s: This brand’s continued evolution spurs growth

Though there are many sandwich concepts out there, Schlotzsky’s is a brand unlike any other. As the only national chain to bake bread fresh-from-scratch every day in every restaurant, this company is already ahead of the pack, but that’s just one reason why customers and franchisees love this 45-year-old brand. 

The company’s constant evolution has kept it unique in a market in which many brands resemble each other. With its latest transformation, Schlotzsky’s has developed a new, expanded menu featuring sandwiches, soups, salads, flatbreads, pizzas, and a new line of mac and cheese entrees, all with exciting twists diners can’t find elsewhere. From the brand’s signature sandwich, The Original, to Brisketeer Mac, and California Chicken and Avocado Artisan Flatbread, the Schlotzsky’s menu serves as a key differentiator from competition.

“Our sandwiches are like no other,” says Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky’s. “We don’t make basic sandwiches like the other guys. Our sandwiches are original, unique, and a combination of special build and bold flavor.”

From its origins in a single sandwich shop in Austin, Texas, to a national chain with more than 370 restaurants serving 37 states, Schlotzsky’s has an eye on growth that offers franchisees exciting opportunities. The most recent evolution transitioned the brand from a beloved deli into a bakery café with expanded menu offerings.

“This is such a competitive business, so if you stay static for even one year, it will take you two years to catch up,” says Corby Cronin, director of franchise sales for Schlotzsky’s. “That’s why we’re constantly evolving.”

Schlotzsky’s is dedicated to continued innovation to stay at the forefront of the fast-casual restaurant market. These changes make good business sense for the brand and for its franchisees, who directly see the benefits through positive sales and volume. 

But the other key to Schlotzsky’s success is dedicated store leadership. Simply having a fantastic menu and updated décor is not enough to keep a brand relevant in today’s market. As a result, the company is always looking for bold leaders who will bring strong experience and dedication to the company.

“When we’re looking for franchisees, we want someone who has passion and who has operated a restaurant business and been successful,” Roddy says. “We need franchisees who understand guest service and how to run clean operations, but most importantly, we are looking for a good partner who wants to improve the brand.”

In return, Schlotzsky’s franchisees receive support from store opening and beyond. New franchisees are brought to Austin, where they are trained in the company store, and in return, trainers travel to new stores to ensure successful openings. Brand leaders help new franchisees with site selection, design, and construction, as well as ongoing operational support to ensure store standards and compliance. These leaders also work with operators to improve sales and profitability and aid with marketing.

The company also provides robust digital marketing and a successful loyalty program. In addition, Schlotzsky’s offers a cobranding opportunity with Cinnabon to attract guests to restaurants.

Franchising opportunities are available throughout the U.S., as well as select markets abroad. With six flexible restaurant designs, restaurants are able to be located in many environments. Minimum size requirements are approximately 1,900 square feet.

With a strong menu, tremendous support, and a focus on the future, Schlotzsky’s is a strong addition to franchisee portfolios.

For more information about franchising opportunities with Schlotzsky’s Deli, visit