When franchise industry veteran David Bloom arrived as chief development officer of Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, he found the most beloved brand many folks had never heard of outside the Las Vegas and Mid-Atlantic markets Capriotti's has historically served.
This loyal following for the fast casual chain's slow-roasted, handcrafted sandwiches was incredible and is set to soar nationwide. Under the direction of Bloom, a brand-building specialist, Capriotti's is gearing up to aggressively expand its national footprint through strategic franchising.
"Having done this a number of times over the years, I usually start with a strategy evaluation process along with the senior management team - what are the strengths, key points of differentiation, and the biggest opportunities for the brand? With Capriotti's, we clearly had a great heritage brand, with an incredibly great reputation and people who literally fall in love with the food," says Bloom, who joined Capriotti's in January. "My charge, my mandate is to continue building on the goal that (owners) Ashley Morris and Jason Smylie set, to build a great national brand, with a superior product, and a great business model for owners and investors, with the best tasting, highest quality food in the industry."
Bloom brings more than 25 years of strategic franchise experience in numerous enterprises to Capriotti's, including 20 years with Quiznos, where he played a significant role in the chain's organizational growth as a multi-unit franchise owner and senior vice president of brand expansion. Throughout his tenure, the company successfully opened more than 5,000 stores in 28 countries. His understanding of the owners' perspective, as a previous large multi-unit franchisee and area developer, also informs and feeds his passion and commitment to building a truly great brand and business.
"David's emphasis on growing brands domestically and internationally in the franchise and restaurant space is why we're so excited to have him on our team," says Ashley Morris, chief executive officer of Capriotti's. "We are on the cusp of going from an operations-focused company with tremendous organic growth to a national sandwich franchise brand that we want to grow to 500 locations."
The addition of a chief development officer to the executive wing follows last year's pivotal brand investment by the blockbuster trio of David Barr, a Yum! Brands Inc. franchisee and Del Frisco's Restaurant Group board member; and JD and Shelly Sun, founders of the home healthcare company BrightStar Care. This infusion of capital, strategic franchise advice, and stature within the franchise industry is helping position Capriotti's for growth.
Internally, Capriotti's has been busy scaling all facets of training, operations, finance, technology, and marketing to support the chain's expanding franchise base. The brand is also in the process of rolling out an updated consultative training and support program that utilizes franchise business coaches to support the developing franchisees in the Capriotti's system.
For Bloom, who began his early career in high school as an apprentice chef with a high-end New York metropolitan area restaurant group, and has worked with numerous national and international brands over the years, the focus is on the food and franchisee success.
"We have a gut-level appreciation for what matters day in and day out for our owners and operators," he says. "They want to be appreciated, respected, and cared about -- and as every entrepreneur knows cash is king when running a business. Building revenue and profitability on a consistent basis, while maintaining their hard earned reputation for great food and service, is what matters to a successful franchisee. They live and work hard every day in their communities to build and improve their business year in and year out; they continually invest their time, energy, and resources in the success of their business and our brand. They are the firm foundation on which Capriotti's is built, and we are constantly investing and working hard alongside them each day toward achieving our goal of building a great national brand!"
With 105 restaurants in 18 states, Capriotti's is expected to have 15 additional restaurants total by year-end and will double that number in 2018. Bloom projects an additional 50-plus restaurants added to the fold in 2019, with an expected portfolio of 500-plus restaurants by 2025--all while remaining true to Capriotti's 40-year tradition of slow-roasting whole, all natural turkeys in-house every day in a welcoming atmosphere.
"Capriotti's has earned the credibility of a national brand through a superior product and an incredibly loyal customer following over the last 40 years. There is also an exceptional business model here, as our franchisees have some of the highest average unit volumes in our category," says Bloom. "All the pieces are in place, as all of the hard work and investment are catapulting Capriotti's toward becoming a household name."
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