Boomers and ‘Blondie’ Pave Way for Business Success for New Franchise – Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes

Baby boomers’ growing appetite for more healthful, tasty sandwiches, the involvement of an iconic comic strip and its creator, an easy-to-run business design and a network of Market Partners – these four factors are jumpstarting the new Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes company to make it one of the country’s fastest-growing restaurant franchises.

Clearwater, FL, May 11, 2006 --( Already, business investors – called Market Partners – have reserved franchise territories in Florida and Louisiana, and the company has selected international venues. The Market Partnerships officially become available in May. Store openings are scheduled for August.

This new franchise is the brainchild of Dean Young, creator of the “Blondie” comic strip, which is syndicated by King Features, reaches 2,300 newspapers and 280 million readers every day, and Lamar Berry, a 30-year marketing executive in the restaurant and franchising industry. Over 75 years, Blondie’s husband – Dagwood Bumstead – has become known as the world’s greatest sandwich builder. In fact, “the Dagwood sandwich” is defined as a multilayered sandwich in Webster’s New World Dictionary.

“Dagwood and a sandwich shop is a perfect fit,” said Berry, the CEO of Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes, LLC. “We are building on the consumer awareness and loyalty associated with the strip’s daily media presence and 75-year history.”

And, for those who never understood how Dagwood got his mouth around those super-sized sandwiches, there will be shorter varieties and a full array of soups and salads.

The keys to success will be high-quality food, the desire of the boomer generation for better tasting, more healthful foods, the simplicity of the franchise operation, and a very reasonable cost of entry, Berry said. In addition, there is a perfect demographic overlap between today’s heavy sandwich consumer and the Blondie reader – boomers all.

“We have hired the finest chefs who, with Dean Young’s vision and creativity, are giving us the greatest recipes ever for sandwiches. Baby boomers made highfat, high-salt fast food prolific in the 1970s and 1980s when they were 18 to 35 years old, but now they are older, have more sophisticated palates and are gravitating back to healthy, flavorful foods,” Berry said. “That is why the sandwich category is so popular today,” he continued. “We think that this business category can more than double its present size as the number of baby boomers continues to grow and age.”

Sandwiches: Fastest Growing Restaurant Category

According to Technomics Inc., a market research firm specializing in the restaurant industry, sandwiches accounted for two-thirds of the growth among limited-service restaurants from 2000 to 2003. From 2003 through 2005, the sandwich segment climbed 17% – adding nearly $1.9 billion in annual sales. Technomics reports that the sandwich category has become the fastest-growing segment of the restaurant industry.

Berry said Dagwood’s is an attractive business opportunity for a territory Franchisee because its facility operations will remain simple, avoiding elaborate menu options and complicated expensive equipment such as hot grills and deep fat fryers. “Any motivated person can run a sandwich operation because the business model is so simple,” Berry said. “Our model assures a great-tasting product that can be replicated easily and consistently.”

Dagwood’s is creating almost a turnkey business for Franchisees, that includes identification of locations, financial and insurance services, real estate support, fully integrated training and support systems, and a restaurant layout and design package that “drops” into a 1,200- to 1,500-square-foot space in 60 to 90 days.

Market Partners: Jumpstarting Growth

As a restaurant franchise company, Dagwood’s is designating between more than 100 market territories across the United States that are being offered for sale to Market Partners for between $200,000 and $300,000. The Market Partners will then sell Dagwood’s franchises to individuals who will own and operate the sandwich shops. Market Partners also will provide extensive ongoing operational and marketing support to the Franchisees. They will share liberally in all contract fees and royalty streams.

“Inside each market territory is a sizeable opportunity to sell between 50 and 75 franchises and to grow an extremely lucrative long-term business. This arrangement requires experienced business persons,” he continued. Basically, they will be in the business of selling and supporting franchises.”

The ideal Market Partner, he said, is “a person who has already been successful in business, perhaps with a multi-unit operation, and is now looking to broaden his or her holdings. It could be a person who has taken a lucrative early retirement package and is looking for a second career shot. Or it could be a successful family that has a particular member looking to start a business.”

Dagwood’s builds upon the Quiznos and Subway business models and takes them to the next level. A franchise company, Quiznos – which grew 41% in number of units in 2004 according to “Nation’s Restaurant News” – relies upon area developers to secure and develop franchises. Subway, ranked the 12th fastest-growing franchise in 2004, uses a similar concept and added 14% more units that year. Neither concept has area development territories available any longer.

“A well-designed, territory-representative franchise company can open more than 1,000 stores a year if the store-operating model is simple enough,” Berry said. “Quiznos and Subway do it now.”

In Dagwood’s model, Market Partners will build and operate only one store, which will be used for training new Franchisees. Their contracts will include a required development schedule and strict performance standards to ensure consistent, high-quality support for Franchisees. Dagwood’s will provide incentives for excellence to uphold high performance standards. The corporate team provides operations and marketing, training and support systems. Its one company-owned store, which opens in July, will be used for Market Partner training and product testing.

“As a restaurant franchise company, everything we do is focused on bringing value-added systems and guidance to the Market Partner and unit-level Franchisee, rather than being preoccupied with running our own company shops,” Berry said.

An individual Franchisee will be able to purchase a Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppe for $20,000 and get into business for slightly more than $200,000 including build out. “We will welcome Franchisees who want to grow their own small chain of three to four Dagwood’s stores,” Berry said.

The shops are designed to fit in sites such as strip malls, office buildings, food courts or locations such as hospitals, airports or bus and railway stations. The décor draws liberally from the “Blondie” comic strips that have been entertaining millions of readers for 75 years.

“I see the ideal unit-operator franchise candidates as people who are aspiring to the American dream, who want to be their own bosses and work hard but also want the comfort and security of knowing they are part of an operation that provides an expansive, solid foundation under them,” Berry said. “They may be New Americans or veterans. Many folks have access to a couple hundred thousand dollars, whether through a group of family members or business loans.” And, Dagwood’s intends to provide financing and leasing support through third-party resources.

Dean Young, whose father, Chic Young, created the strip, has been Dagwood’s alter ego since his father’s death in 1973. He has been the creative force behind the shop design and menu, working with Executive Chef Geoffrey Rhode, whose skills have been honed working with such renowned chefs as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Warren LeRuth and his brother,
George Rhode.

“Our menu of sandwiches, soups and salads will be made with the most impressive, high-taste-profile quality meats that practically melt in your mouth, condiments and secret sauces that excite and tantalize your taste buds and unique, fresh baked breads that are crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside,” Young said. “Every ingredient in our recipes has been scrutinized up and down, and competitively tasted against any similar products we could find.”

Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes, LLC will have its administrative headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., near Young’s home and studio and its international headquarters, research and development function and primary test kitchen in New Orleans.


Blondie © 2006 King Features Syndicate, Inc. ™
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©2006 Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes, LLC
Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes
Kara Hamilton
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