Quiznos on the Hunt for Nearly 1M SF for 600-Store Countrywide Expansion

The quick service sandwich chain is currently mining markets from one end of the country to the other for locations for 600 new corporate-owned restaurants.

May 25, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user jasonlam

Few retailers are planning major store expansions in the midst of the slowly rebounding economy, but Quiznos is an exception. The quick service sandwich chain is currently mining markets from one end of the country to the other for locations for 600 new corporate-owned restaurants. And with an eye on digs ranging in size from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet, the company could end up absorbing as much as 960,000 square feet of retail space across the country.

Sites in all 50 states are on Quiznos’ radar, but the chain does have a few specific requirements. Quiznos is looking for prime real estate in areas with high daytime traffic for its new restaurants. “We are on a strong growth track at Quiznos, and we see the emerging economy as the ideal time to expand brand presence, grow market share and meet the strong customer demand,” Rick Schaden, founder and CEO of Quiznos, noted in a prepared statement. “Quiznos has the solid financial position to realize and accelerate tremendous growth and we are anxious to engage with the best real estate partners as we posture Quiznos for new levels of success.”

Retail real estate has taken a beating during the recession. Industry analysts often point to the discount retail sub-sector–which includes the likes of Walmart, Costco, Dollar Tree and Ross Dress for Less–as the closest thing to an exception. While fast-food chains are often excluded from the discount retailer group, they have been quietly persevering throughout the crisis, too. “As part of the ‘new frugality,’ fast-food and fast casual operators with lower price points have fared better and will be in expansion mode,” real estate services firm Colliers International noted in its recently released 2010 Retail Trends and Opportunities report.

Quiznos is not alone in the pursuit to expand in the retail market. Mexican food chain Chipotle plans to open 130 new restaurants this year, Burger King will have debuted 50 new locations by the end of this September, and Buffalo Wild Wings expects to expand by 15 percent with the opening of 95 locations in 2010.

With a bevy of fast-food chains spreading their wings, so to speak, the dash for retail space will likely help decrease the sector’s vacancy rate. Quiznos may have to vie with its competitor, Subway, for new locations, as the sandwich chain expects to open 130 new stores of approximately 1,200 square feet each in the Boston market alone over the next five years. Quiznos is in a hurry; it plans to open the 600 new stores by the end of 2010. The expansion will create about 7,500 new jobs.