If you’ve ever flown into an airport in the Midwest or walked around the Chicagoland area, you’ve likely seen Potbelly, a popular sandwich chain with a cult following. Today the outlet announces officially that they’ve signed on an Orange County franchisee that will bring the chain to California.
The formula they use isn’t too different from Quizno’s, with a toasted sandwich model that banks on deli meats and full customization, though the signature “A Wreck” sandwich, which uses turkey, roast beef, ham, and salami with Swiss cheese, is perhaps the most popular pick.
The plan is to open four OC locations in the next three years from franchisee Sameer Bhatia, who also owns a Planet Fitness franchise. Bhatia fell in love with the Potbelly chain when it opened near his office in Manhattan and wanted to bring the cult sandwich shop to California. The plan right now is to open a location in Laguna Beach, Walnut, Lake Forest, Irivine, or Newport Beach within the first year, then expand afterwards. Potbelly was founded in Chicago in 1977 with more than 400 outlets across the U.S.
With entries from Ike’s Place and Earl of Sandwich, plus Jimmy John’s in recent years, the fast casual sandwich market is likely to become more crowded in the Southern California area. Also, more established chains like Subway and Quizno’s have been on the decline for the past few years, making way for these new competitors to enter the market.
How do you feel about Potbelly? Are you a huge fan that’s enjoyed their sandwiches over the years, or is this just a ho-hum expansion to a region that has plenty of great offerings already? Hit the comments with your thoughts.