DEERFIELD, IL, Feb 09, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --Cosi, Inc. (NASDAQ: COSI), the fast casual restaurant company, and Brad Blum, owner of BLUM Growth Fund, today entered into an agreement for Blum to provide consulting services related to branding, product development, merchandising and marketing in a collaborative effort to maximize long-term shareholder value. This comes on the heels of Carin Stutz's appointment as the new President and CEO of Cosi, and is part of her aggressive plan to drive sales and profitability.
"We are pleased to have Brad join us as we accelerate our work already underway to build momentum and turn this strong brand into a profitable business," said Carin Stutz. "His broad knowledge and extensive experience in the restaurant industry, combined with his turnaround expertise and strong results in developing distinctive brands, will be invaluable as we execute our strategy to make Cosi a leading national fast casual brand."
In addition to founding BLUM Growth Fund and having consulted for other major restaurant companies, Mr. Blum previously served as chief executive of Olive Garden for eight years until 2003, and more recently served as chief executive officer at both Burger King and Romano's Macaroni Grill.
"I am pleased to partner with Carin and her team as she builds a culture to move this great concept forward," said Mr. Blum. As an investor, I recognized the unrealized potential of the Cosi brand and I believe there are positive steps being taken to reinvigorate the Cosi brand. Carin's leadership approach is impressive as is her identification of the key issues in the restaurants that she believes need to be addressed. Her progressive ideas, including having me lend support to the company, are much appreciated."
Mr. Blum has also announced a change in his Cosi shareholder status from activist shareholder to passive shareholder. BLUM Growth Fund holds 3.5 million shares of Cosi stock, currently representing a 6.8 percent ownership in the company.
"Carin is moving quickly to utilize every resource available to the company to quickly turn Cosi into a profitable business," said Stephen Edwards, Cosi's Executive Chairman. "I welcome the involvement of Mr. Blum as part of Carin's strategy."
Cosi(R) (http://www.getCosi.com) is a national fast casual restaurant chain that has developed featured foods built around a secret, generations-old recipe for crackly-crust flatbread. This artisan flatbread is freshly baked in front of customers throughout the day in open-flame stone-hearth ovens prominently located in each of the restaurants. Cosi's warm and urbane atmosphere is geared towards its sophisticated, upscale, urban and suburban guests. There are currently 80 Company-owned and 56 franchise restaurants operating in seventeen states, the District of Columbia and the United Arab Emirates. The Cosi(R) vision is to become America's favorite fast casual restaurant by providing customers authentic, innovative, savory food while remaining an affordable luxury.
The Cosi(R) menu features flatbread sandwiches, freshly-tossed salads, breakfast wraps, melts, soups, Cosi(R) Squagels(R), flatbread pizzas, S'mores, snacks and other desserts, and a wide range of coffee and coffee-based drinks and other specialty beverages. Cosi(R) restaurants are designed to be welcoming and comfortable with an eclectic environment. Cosi's sights, sounds, and spaces create a tasteful, relaxed ambience that provides a fresh and new dining experience.
"Cosi," "(Sun & Moon Design)" and related marks are registered trademarks of Cosi, Inc. in the U.S.A. and certain other countries. Copyright Copyright 2012 Cosi, Inc. All rights reserved.
"SAFE HARBOR" STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995. This press release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements under the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements about future events and expectations and not statements of historical fact. The words "believe," "may," "will," "should," "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "objective," "seek," "plan," "strive," or similar words, or negatives of these words, identify forward-looking statements. We qualify any forward-looking statements entirely by these cautionary factors. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future economic performance, taking into account the information currently available to management. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or financial condition to differ materially from the expectations of future results, performance or financial condition we express or imply in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to: the cost of our principal food products and supply and delivery shortages and interruptions; labor shortages or increased labor costs; changes in demographic trends and consumer tastes and preferences, including changes resulting from concerns over nutritional or safety aspects of beef, poultry, produce, or other foods or the effects of food-borne illnesses, such as E. coli, "mad cow disease" and avian influenza or "bird flu"; competition in our markets, both in our business and in locating suitable restaurant sites; our operation and execution in new and existing markets; expansion into new markets including foreign markets; our ability to attract and retain qualified franchisees and our franchisees' ability to open restaurants on a timely basis; our ability to locate suitable restaurant sites in new and existing markets and negotiate acceptable lease terms; the rate of our internal growth and our ability to generate increased revenue from our existing restaurants; our ability to generate positive cash flow from existing and new restaurants; fluctuations in our quarterly results due to seasonality; increased government regulation and our ability to secure required government approvals and permits; our ability to create customer awareness of our restaurants in new markets; the reliability of our customer and market studies; cost effective and timely planning, design and build out of restaurants; our ability to recruit, train and retain qualified corporate and restaurant personnel and management; market saturation due to new restaurant openings; inadequate protection of our intellectual property; our ability to obtain additional capital and financing; adverse weather conditions which impact customer traffic at our restaurants; and adverse economic conditions. Further information regarding factors that could affect our results and the statements made herein are included in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Additional information is available on Cosi's website at
http://www.getCosi.com in the investor relations section.
William E. Koziel
BLUM Growth Fund
Jennifer WebbColtrin & Associates
SOURCE: Cosi, Inc.