This Recently Struggling Sandwich Chain Just Reached Record Revenue
Neighborhood sandwich chain Potbelly has been fighting to return to relevance since the pandemic hit it hard in 2020. From the verge of near bankruptcy to restructuring and slowly clawing back to popularity, the chain saw record revenue in the last quarter, according to QSR Magazine. It appears its multifaceted approach to returning to profitability is working, as it had one of its best quarters ever.
These record numbers are the result of multiple changes finally coming together. In efforts to right the ship, Potbelly had previously invested in upgrading its app, website, online ordering system, and loyalty program. And all of those things helped the chain stay afloat.
Now, the chain is also seeing a resurgence in foot traffic associated with workers returning to offices and airports, reports QSR. Plus its catering side is seeing new interest from said offices. "We've seen great success with that," CEO Bob Wright said. "The customer feedback is coming back. And that's what's breeding more of the repeat business from those catering orders."
Potbelly is actually benefitting from higher prices at the grocery store and it is seeing people coming to its restaurant instead of other popular chains. CFO Steve Cirulis believes it's because customers get more value for their money at Potbelly than at the grocery store or through other chains. "We're pleased to see that they're choosing us at a rate that's increasingly more so than our fast-casual competitors," he said. However, some diners have complained about noticing smaller sandwiches even though the chain had pledged to not raise prices.
From the downward spiral of closing 28 locations in early 2021, Potbelly is still shooting for an earlier defined target of 2,000 total locations over the next 10 years. The chain has about 430 locations, so it has a long way to go, but it is currently planning 24 new units combined across Florida and Illinois.