Discover more from Fast Casual Nation
Potbelly Sandwich Shop Plans For Expansion And The Digital Kitchen
The Fast Casual Nation Podcast offers exclusive interviews with experts ranging from top chefs and brand makers to executives and restaurants who work in one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant industry. In this episode, I talk with Bob Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer about Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s plans for expansion and the digital kitchen.
Wright has been President and CEO at Potbelly Corporation since July 2020. He has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and COO of The Wendy’s Company, where he ran operations for over 6,000 company and franchise restaurants located in the U.S. and Canada. He has also worked with other restaurant brands, including Charley’s Philly Steaks, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., and Domino’s Pizza, Inc.
When I ask Wright about getting started in the industry, he says, “I started delivering pizzas for Domino's after my freshman year in college.” He shares that he achieved his dream of becoming a franchisee and fell in love with the service element of the restaurant industry. Wright adds, “I love the idea of making food, serving people. I thought the opportunities in the chain restaurant business were terrific. And, you know, I've been doing it for over 35 years now.”
We talk about adding limited time offers or LTOs to your menu and Wright offers great advice saying that operators should make sure that their core menu is on point with no holes in it and then really think about where to add value with limited time offers.
Potbelly recently upgraded their technology and Wright says about technology, “it's one of the five pillars of our five pillar strategy is to make sure that we are a technology connected brand to our customers, for them and also for our employees. So we've really kind of taken a three pronged approach to technology, starting with refreshing the app and the website. And, you know, frankly, it was more than a refresh.” He adds, “We completely rebuilt the app and the website during the pandemic and rolled that out over a year ago as well. At the same time, we began the process of updating and upgrading our loyalty rewards program. We put a new loyalty rewards engine in place.”
To hear about the third prong that Wright mentioned, called the Potbelly Digital Kitchen and his top three ways to set up your digital game, check out this episode of Fast Casual Nation or tune in on Apple Podcasts.
Fast Casual Nation is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and our deep-dive research, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.