As part of an aggressive strategy to grow its footprint domestically, Quiznos has partnered with convenience industry companies such as HESS, Mapco and Champlain Farms to roll out Quiznos franchises in locations across the country, with a heavy focus on Texas and New England. Since launching the new platform in the spring of 2010, Quiznos has sold more than 100 new convenience store franchises and is looking to double that amount within the next 12 to 18 months. Currently, Quiznos’ convenience store locations (all franchised) make up less than 10% of the chain’s 4,500 restaurants, but this is expected to reach 15 percent at the current rate of growth.
Quiznos’ convenience store menu is flexible, depending on space and equipment, but subs are still the main attraction because they are “easy to make and are perfect for dashboard dining,” says Shultz Hartgrove, senior vice president of Convenience Store Development for Quiznos, to QSRWeb.com. “Secondly, they leverage all dayparts from breakfast, lunch, dinner and the increasingly important snacking occasion. Sandwiches also don’t require fryers and offer additional sales opportunities with catering and boxed lunch occasions,” Hartgrove adds.
Convenience store franchisees of Quiznos have the option to offer the full menu, like a traditional location, or a limited line, with a smaller selection of top-selling subs, salads, soups and limited-time offers. Some items may be pre-packaged for the customers’ convenience.
The modular platform of Quiznos’ convenience store units makes it easy to modify the design to fit existing facility infrastructures, including staff, which is a major reason why Quiznos began embracing the non-traditional market.
If I were a Quiznos franchisee with a traditional location, this aggressive growth strategy in convenience stores would be a source of frustration, if not outright fear. First of all, opening new units near my territory can potentially dampen sales at my location, depending on how close and how many new stores open. Secondly, I can’t help but worry that the widespread availability of Quiznos in hundreds of convenience stores will diminish the perceived value of the product, particularly in terms of quality.
The last few years have been difficult for Quiznos, so I can’t fault them for trying new things in an effort to improve their situation. This foray into convenience stores will no doubt help the company sell a lot more franchises, and their royalty collections are bound to increase. I just hope this won’t be at the expense of current franchisees.
It’s somewhat reassuring that Quiznos is primarily focusing on just a few regions of the country so that they can assess the overall impact of this new strategy before rolling out in huge numbers nationwide. I do hope they’ll learn from their experience in Texas and New England and come up with a plan that benefits all parties concerned: the company, the convenience stores, the convenience store franchisees, and the franchisees of traditional locations.