Major sandwich shop and Subway rival makes order-ahead change as CEO says ‘food is ready on time’

A MAJOR sandwich chain claimed it has combined convenience and technology to offer its customers fresher sandwiches.

Potbelly, the fast-casual sandwich chain, unveiled new tech advances for stores that deliver better sandwiches and make employees more efficient.

Potbelly's CEO said the company has managed to deliver fresher sandwiches to guests


Potbelly’s CEO said the company has managed to deliver fresher sandwiches to guestsPhoto credit: Getty

Potbelly CEO Bob Wright said the new technology eliminates redundancies in sandwich making, according to Restaurant Dive.

The brand’s new Digital Kitchen offers more robust software and more accurate financial metrics.

“Last quarter, we generated 38 percent of our revenue through digital channels,” Wright said.

“In the background, we realized that we had some manual processes that were getting in the way of the best customer experience and, frankly, the best employee experience.”

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But now, Wright says, the brand has streamlined all processes into a digital platform that prioritizes sandwiches based on serving temperature.

“Orders placed in advance are held and then delivered to the backline in a timely manner. This allows us to achieve a much higher level of accuracy and deliver food on time,” Wright said.

“The results show that hot foods are hotter because they are prepared when they are needed. The cold dishes are colder. Our employees love this process because it makes running this line much, much easier.”

Wright said plans to introduce further digital enhancements are expected to lead to a number of franchise investments in the business.


To expand the brand’s footprint, Wright said the company plans to convert about a quarter of its stores to a franchise model.

The management realignment would likely result in greater penetration in markets with few Potbelly storefronts.

“Unlike a lot of companies that refranchise to simply move from that direct revenue model to a franchise model, for us it’s a growth catalyst,” Wright said.

“We’ve done the work and know that in a market where we only have four, we should have 20 or more units.”

Wright said the brand is looking for franchisees to take over stores across the U.S. – the brand wants to expand into the Southeast and Midwest.

Wright said the company doesn’t have a preference for franchise owners of big brands or smaller owners with fewer stores.


Wright said Potbelly stores have had difficulty finding the right talent in the kitchen.

However, he expressed optimism about the changing tides in the employment landscape.

“A few years ago we had some of the most difficult staffing conditions I have experienced in my 30-plus years in the industry,” Wight said.

“We enjoy a completely different environment today.”

Wright said the brand now has most of its kitchens fully staffed and is not seeing strong sales growth.

“We are pleased that inflation has returned to normal, both in our food and packaging and in our workforce,” Wright said.

“It’s still higher than it was traditionally before the pandemic, but it’s definitely stabilizing and improving, so it’s going to be a little more predictable for us next year.”

The US Sun reports on further changes to the Potbelly store – find out more about the introduction of the Digital Kitchen here.

Experts also speculated that there could be massive changes at a Potbelly rival.

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Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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