Cover Story: Sub Mission
Blimpie CEO Jeffrey K. Endervelt faces many challenges since he and partners acquired the 39-year-old chain for $26 million in a go-private transaction in early 2002. These include pressure from competing sub shops, creating awareness without mass media and crafting a brand image on a budget. It’s easy to be leery of Blimpie’s chances of regaining the market share it lost in the late ’90s. Yet Endervelt is creating converts within the franchised system.
By David Farkas
Storyboard: This Land Is Your Land
Nando’s Chickenland is taking an aerial look of North America. The South African chicken chain is surveying the land before hatching plans to become a national chain in the United States. Meantime, the 16-year-old QSR is not waiting for opportunity. This summer, it launched an estimated $4.5 million marketing campaign, including a 30-second TV spot, designed to build brand identity and sell its grilling sauces and marinades in grocery stores.
By Margaret Littman
Restauratour: Light Moves
By day, the Jerry’s Subs and Pizza restaurant in Ashburn, Va., looks like a fast-casual restaurant, albeit a high-style one. But at night a strip of purple neon glows against the stainless steel and smoky mirrors, creating an exciting interior that beckons to outsiders. “It looks like a martini bar,” says Dave Terzian, executive vice president at the Gaithersburg, Md.-based chain. The goal: to create a serious but hip interior that feels exciting and compelling to its main demographic, 18- to 44-year-old males.
By Lisa Bertagnoli
Toque Of The Town: Popular Science
Robert Del Grande is probably the only celebrity chef in America with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He’s also one of the few to be just as comfortable with the precision required shaping recipes for a growing restaurant chain as he was with the free-flowing artistic improvisation that comes with a single-unit venture. Del Grande, who made a name for himself as chef for Houston’s Cafe Annie, talks about the transition to Cafe Express, the chain launched in 1984 with plans to grow to 50 units by year-end 2005.
By Monica Rogers
Technology: Let the Music Play
As music takes a more active role in the branding of restaurants, chains are looking to automated music-delivery systems to make sure that the brand message is delivered consistently and with little or no work on the managers’ part. Hooters, Au Bon Pain and Denny’s share the latest innovations they are using in their restaurants.
By Lisa Bertagnoli