How does a 49-year old sandwich chain appeal to today’s on-the-go diner? Unlike a man of this age, the restaurant can’t go out and buy a Porsche. At Schlotzsky’s, true reinvention is the order of the day.
Schlotzsky’s has been converting its Atlanta stores to Schlotzsky’s Austin Eateries since 2016, and the citywide transformation will be complete by the end of April. Now, Schlotzsky’s is rolling out the rebrand in all restaurants around the nation.
Schlotzsky’s president Kelly Roddy says that Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery is a nod to the company’s Texas roots, but also that the concept was chosen because “what’s cool about Austin matches up to what Millennials are looking for.”
Research performed across the country by the company showed that its aspirational customers, Generations Y and Z, “wanted their food to be more adventurous and bold. They like variety, and healthy options are important to them.”
“Austin is very eclectic,” says Schlotzsky’s executive chef Maira Morales. “I want people to taste how unique it is and how diverse it is by providing many different layers of flavor in one bite.”
The first Schlotzsky’s restaurant opened on in Austin in 1971, serving just one sandwich. Schlotzsky’s has since expanded its menu and added over 370 locations across the U.S.
According to The Austin Chronicle, Schlotzsky’s founders Don and Delores Dissman modeled the $2.95 Original sandwich on the muffulettas they discovered in an Italian grocery store in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The couple introduced their own version of the muffuletta to Austin in 1971, setting up shop in a modest little space at 1301 South Congress. They came up with the name Schlotzsky’s for no other reason than it seemed to fit.
The new Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery serves beer and wine and has a happy hour, with drinks starting at $4 and food starting at $5.
Atlanta-based Focus Brands bought the sandwich chain more than a decade ago and moved the chain’s headquarters to Atlanta last year. Focus Brands operates more than 5,000 eateries. Some of their other F&B brands include Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s, McAlister’s Deli and Seattle’s Best Coffee.