The Potbelly Sandwich Shop opened its first shop in 1977 and after 40+ years was facing significant competition for emerging fast-casual restaurant concepts. Potbelly needed to catch up to its competitors to reinvigorate the brand without losing the core of what consumers loved about the iconic sandwich shop brand.
Lextant’s research discovered the key elements making up the Ideal Sandwich Shop Experience for consumers including the overall environment, menu ingredients and option, service delivery, the ordering process and technology, seating, lighting, décor and finishes. Lextant translated these insights to specific design cues and operational choices that would create and deliver this desired experience.
Potbelly’s new design replaces the wooden shelves in front of the oven with glass counters; where customers can still see their sandwiches being made. In traditional Potbelly units, customers place their order, follow along as the food is prepared and then pay at the end. Now, customers place their full order form a revamped menu board presenting all of Potbelly’s offerings on one screen at the front cash register, pay for the order, watch it being made and receive it at the end of the makeline.
The new design also creates a more inviting dine in experience with a dividing wall between those in the ordering line and those in the dining room, and shelving on a back wall provides a designated pickup spot for digital orders.
The prototype design is also reducing operational costs by 25 percent making it easier for franchise owners to recoup their initial investment.