|The Rancher - a new sandwich|
Schlotzsky's to debut new concept in Duluth
Schlotzsky's Deli, the sandwich shop that started as a single restaurant in Austin, Texas in 1971, will debut an edgy new restaurant concept tomorrow in Duluth. "Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery" will offer a number of new offerings not previously found in traditional Schlotzsky's locations.
The approximately 3,500 square foot restaurant, located in Fuqua Development's Sugarloaf Marketplace (corner of Sugarloaf Parkway & Peachtree Industrial Blvd.), will feature not only a drive-thru but also a self-ordering kiosk.
Drive-thru ordering is not completely new to the Schlotzsky's brand, but its use in the new test location will surely be closely monitored by the company. Up to 70% of a fast food restaurant's sales can come from drive-thru ordering with more and more fast casual restaurants like Jason's Deli and Panera Bread discovering the benefits of offering the service.
The restaurant will also offer table service for customers who want to order additional food or beverages once seated. The addition of follow up table service is meant to elevate the service levels. Schlotzsky's executives indicated that this does represent a departure from the restaurant's "fast casual" positioning but is meant to elevate "service touchpoints" in an effort to differentiate the brand from its competitors. Locally, Grub Burger Bar, Fresh To Order and even Chick-fil-A offer some sort of supplementary table service.
An alcohol license is also new for Schlotzsky's and something that will allow the restaurant to offer local beers such as Monday Night Brewing, Jekyll Brewing and assorted "not mass produced" wines.
The restaurant will feature standard classic Schlotzsky's meats like ham and turkey along with new proteins like chorizo, pulled pork and shrimp – available on sandwiches, in tacos, on sliders and on flatbreads called Flats. An open kitchen and bakery will work to showcase the food preparation in an effort to be more transparent to customers.
Among the new menu offerings are the:
Picante PapusaSweet corn cake with slow-roasted pork, mozzarella, salsa verde, jalapeños, pineapple kale coleslaw, queso fresco, cilantro cumin dressing and cilantro.
|The Picante Papusa|
The RancherHickory-smoked brisket and cheddar with roasted red peppers, pickled jalapeño, queso fresco, salsa verde, lettuce and chipotle mayo on jalapeño cheese bun with signature sauce. (at top)
Cinnabon, (which got a facelift of its own last year) is often packaged as a complementary dessert option within Schlotzsky's and will be available within the new Duluth restaurant.
The restaurant's decor will feature "found objects" amidst textured brick and corrugated metal walls. The restaurant will also offer live music at least three nights per week.
Anchored by Sprouts Farmers Market, Sugarloaf Marketplace is also home to a number of eateries including Freddy's, Chipotle, Panda Express & Zoës Kitchen. The new ordering options and menu additions are meant to help Schlotzsky's capture more customers.
Schlotzsky's, which went public in 1995 with over 600 units in operation was purchased in 2006 by Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands, an affiliate of the Atlanta-based private equity firm, Roark Capital Group. At the time of the acquisition, Schlotzsky's was said to have had "about 365 locations."
Although atypical for previous Roark acquisitions, Schlotzky's moved their headquarters from Austin to Atlanta about a year ago. (It's worth noting that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which was founded in New Orleans, is today based in Sandy Springs). FOCUS Brands, which also includes Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe's Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne's and McAlister's Deli is based in Sandy Springs.
In metro Atlanta, Schlotzsky's has opened a couple new locations in the past few years including one in Suwanee that opened in a converted former Mrs. Winners'.
There have also been a number of closures including restaurants previously located on Piedmont Road in Buckhead, Perimeter Village in Dunwoody, LaVista Road in Tucker and most recently on Holcomb Bridge Road in Norcross.
If the new concept proves successful, perhaps the chain will seek to re-enter markets that it previously operated in.
Today, there are "over 350" Schlotzsky's in operation with at least one more "Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery" reportedly planned for the Austin area at The Park at Bee Cave shopping center next year.
The Duluth restaurant is slated to open tomorrow, December 15th at 10AM. To celebrate the opening, the restaurant will award a redemption card good for one free small Original per week for 52 consecutive weeks to the first 100 guests who purchase a six-pack of Cinnabon Classic Rolls ($17.99).
Are you excited for the new brand positioning at Schlotzsky's? What is your favorite sandwich shop in Atlanta? Where would you like to see Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery open next?
Please share your thoughts below.