Capriotti’s is gearing up for a five-fold incease in locations in the next several years.
The Las Vegas-based company, founded in the mid-70s, in Wilmington’s Little Italy neighborhood, last year received received an investment from a group of individuals with franchise restaurant industry experience.
Coming on board was David Bloom, a veteran of the industry who was named chief development office.
In a phone interview this week, Bloom said Capriotti’s is ready to ramp up its expansion from an operations-based company with strong internal growth to becoming a national brand.
Capriotti’s has reached the 100-location mark with stores in an area extending from Massachusetts to California.
The 100 number is significant because it means store operators have compiled a track record and have overcome challenges of operating in various locales.
“You have seen everything you are going to see,” Bloom said.
Capriotti’s is not having trouble finding potential franchisees as requests pour into the Las Vegas office
However, the company plans to be careful in its growth stategy and in picking the right franchisees.
Bloom told the Las Vegas Review Journal that the company will only add 15 locations this year and double that number in coming years.
According to Bloom, a drawing card for the company is the performance of individual locations that can generate strong revenues out of the gate. The shops are known for their regulars who have their favorite sandwiches.
The company will continue to adhere to the formula of founders Alan and Lois Margolet, who insisted on a high-quality sandwich and in not trying to go toe-to-toe on price with national chains. The approach includes roasting turkeys each night for Capriotti’s Bobbie sub.
The company was sold by Lois Margolet to franchisee Ashley Morris several years ago.
A few tweaks to the formula will come from time to time. A recent limited time promotion that offered gravy on turkey offerings proved to be a hit.
Newer Capriotti’s stores are different than their take-out oriented predecessors in Delaware, with seating for 40 to 60. The company is also experimenting with free-standing locations.
That does not mean the plain jane locations will go away, although some franchisees may opt for more square footage when their current lease expires, Bloom said.
In looking at a national map, Capriotti’s has plenty of room for growth. The largest concentration of stores is in Las Vegas, which has about 30 locations, followed by Delaware and adjacent areas.
The company has seen a few hiccups in its growth path. Prior to Bloom coming on board, the company terminated a franchise agreement for Orange County, CA and Texas.
Bloom said the company plans to return with franchises in those areas, but has no plans for Subway-style expansion.
The emphasis will always be on quality, rather than quantity, Bloom said.
Or as the website puts it: “Extraordinary food for those unwilling to settle.”