Shopping Center Business

MAY 2017

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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RETAIL REVIEW 84 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2017 P otbelly Sandwich Shop is unlike any other sandwich shop on the market. To start, the restaurant did not begin as a restaurant at all. "The owner of the original shop began selling toasted sandwiches at his antiques store," says Chris Birkinshaw, senior director of domestic franchising for Potbelly Sand- wich Shop. "Founded in 1977, the first Potbelly Sandwich Shop was filled with eclectic antiques, local artifacts, and oth- er historic items from the neighborhood. The shop quickly began focusing less on antiques and more on being 'The Best Place for Lunch.'" In keep with its history, each Potbelly location is filled with local artifacts and décor. "It gives the shop a warm, neigh- borhood atmosphere," says Birkinshaw. "That's really what makes Potbelly is that it truly is a neighborhood sandwich shop. For instance, just like with the original shop in Chicago, and all other shops that have followed, new locations have a unique feel that reflect the local neighborhood." The company has grown tremendous- ly, owning and operating more than 400 shops in the United States. Franchisees also operate more than 35 shops domesti- cally, in the Middle East and in the United Kingdom. Sandwiches, soups and salads make up the brunt of the menu. "All Potbelly sand- wiches are made to order with meats and cheeses sliced fresh in store every day, and are served toasty warm, on your choice of regular or multigrain bread," says Birkin- shaw. "One of our most popular sandwich- es is titled 'A Wreck' and includes salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and Swiss cheese. We hand slice our meats in the shop, so the taste is super fresh. Each sandwich is made as you order it, so you can change up the cheese and select your toppings, so it's made just like you want it." The concept fits into a variety of differ- ent formats to suit the local surroundings. "We look at a variety of retail locations in terms of size, type and demographics," says Birkinshaw. "For instance, in subur- ban venues our shops are typically in shop- ping centers and can be 2,400 square feet or more. Some have drive-thrus, which are becoming more prevalent. In urban loca- tions, we are in much smaller footprints, with less seating for a crowd that is typical- ly in a rush and often taking sandwiches to go. We also have a good number of airport locations, where convenience and speed is critical." Potbelly aims to serve the neighbor- hood it is in, targeting a range of ages and types of consumer. "Our typical cus- tomers are the local sports team, the fam- ily from down the street, business folks A Part of the Neighborhood Potbelly Sandwich Shop brings back the neighborhood deli, serving up sandwiches, soups and salads with local flare. Katie Sloan There are currently more than 400 Potbelly Sandwich Shop locations open across the United States. The first Potbelly location was originally an antique store that decided to start serving lunch.

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