Potbelly Corporation is rapidly advancing its franchise growth acceleration initiative with two signed agreements that will bring a total of 19 new stores to the Tampa, Florida area and the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur areas of central Illinois.
“Our new Shop Development Area Agreements come at a busy time for us at Potbelly,” said Bob Wright, CEO of Potbelly. “They are consistent with our multi-unit franchise development strategy and in line with what we aim to achieve with our previously announced initiative to accelerate franchise growth. We are very excited to enter into these development deals with such quality franchisees, and we look forward to sharing other deals once they are signed.”
STA Management is the talented owner/operator group powering the 14 Tampa-St. Petersburg in the next five years. The group already has two Potbelly locations in the area – one is on Falkenburg Road and the other in the retail and restaurant hub adjacent to Raymond James Stadium and George Steinbrenner Field. The group is well positioned to serve the restaurants as multi-brand owners and operators of more than 60 restaurant locations.
“Having already two successful Potbelly locations, we knew it was time to sign up for more,” said Ronnie Asmar, franchisee and partner at STA Management. “It’s a great fit for us with the experience we already bring to the restaurant industry. It’s also incredibly rewarding to see how much our customers love the brand. We can’t wait to bring more good vibes and toasted sandwiches to Tampa!”
Rob Wilbern is the entrepreneur bringing five locations to the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area. He runs an accounting firm, a car dealership and several other businesses, and previously developed his own restaurant concept in Springfield. Wilbern’s background equips him well to oversee the business side of his sites along with a strong operator to oversee day to day operations.
“The support of the leadership team led me to Potbelly – I looked at a few different franchise opportunities and did a lot of research. Potbelly stood out from the rest,” says Wilbern. “In addition, the quality of the food and the extensive menu are second to none. With a large student population and an active residential and business community in the area, we’re confident Potbelly’s toasted sandwiches and robust rewards programs will be a hit.”
A popular national staple widely celebrated for its iconic sandwiches and friendly atmosphere, Potbelly thrives in areas like Tampa and Champaign-Springfield-Decatur. The brand is targeting talented owner/operator groups through a strategic franchise initiative targeting attractive markets across the country.
As part of the Franchise Growth Acceleration initiative, Potbelly plans to reach 2,000 units over the next 10 years, at least 85% of which will be franchised stores. The brand also plans to refranchise about 25% of its corporate stores. Earlier this year, Potbelly announced a strategic partnership with REEF, the largest operator of virtual restaurants, logistics and proximity hubs in North America. This partnership along with the two deals announced today put Potbelly on the right track.
Ideal franchise candidates should be able to meet the required financial criteria, have experience in restaurant operations, strong business skills, focused and dedicated problem-solving skills, and enjoy working with others. Operators can take advantage of the Sandwich concept’s flexible store designs, including in-line, endcap, drive-thru and non-traditional locations equipped with technology-enabled enhancements to encourage in-store, take-out and delivery . These factors, along with a diverse menu and multiple revenue streams arising from different parts of the day, make Potbelly an attractive investment in a franchised restaurant.
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