Quizno's fills niche between fast, fine dining

Thursday, September 12, 2002

By Kevin Jenkins

Special to Business Today

POPLAR BLUFF -- Quizno's Subs, located at the corner of Selma and Pine streets, has seen a steady increase in customers since its grand opening in March.

John and Mary Sue Beis of Poplar Bluff are the franchise owners of this popular international chain of restaurants. The general manager is Paul Poston.

Quizno's (pronounced "quiz-knows") serves signature oven-baked "classic subs," which are distinctive among other "commodity subs" on the market because, according to Poston, they are made from high quality meats, cheeses and other ingredients.

"Sandwiches are warmed through a conveyor toaster oven that brings out the flavor in the meats, melts in the cheeses and toasts our proprietary recipe soft baguette bread," said Poston.

He added that proprietary dressings, including red wine vinaigrette, add to the unique flavor of the Quizno's product. In addition to a wide variety of subs, the menu also includes salads, soups, specially baked cookies, other desserts and soft drinks.

Poston said, "The Quizno's upscale concept fits in a niche in the restaurant industry between fast food and fine dining, offering our customers the best benefits of both. We provide the convenience of fast food, but offer a fresher and tastier alternative to typical fried fast food products such as hamburgers.

"With our warm Italian-style decor, our comfortable dining area is more inviting than most fast-food restaurants. We also offer carry-out service," said Poston.

The Quizno's concept was born in the kitchen of a popular Denver, Colo., Italian sit-down restaurant called Footer's, located in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood in the early 1980s. It was there that recipes for Quizno's special baguette-style bread, special dressings and unique recipes were created.

"Quizno's Subs were different than other similar sandwiches because they were baked to toast the bread and melt the cheese -- warmed to bring out the full flavor of the Italian meats like Genoa salami and capicola," said Poston.

In 1981, the first Quizno's Subs restaurant was opened in the same Denver neighborhood as Footer's, with a menu of sub sandwiches prepared with generous portions of high quality meats and cheeses. The subs quickly became popular with the lunchtime crowd from the nearby state and city office buildings.

Soon after, Quizno's America Inc., the forerunner of The Quizno's Corp., began franchising the restaurants, primarily in the Denver metropolitan area. In 1987, a father-son team, Dick and Rick Schaden, opened their first Quizno's franchise in a Boulder, Colo., shopping center. Over the next four years, they bought an existing Quizno's franchise in Glaendale, Colo., and opened a third franchise in the Denver Tech Center.

In January 1991, the Schadens bought the chain of 18 restaurants from its founders and renamed the company The Quizno's Franchise Corp. For the first time in the chain's history, Rick Schaden began building a professional infrastructure to support franchise owners that included volume purchasing, standardized training and operations procedures, as well as marketing support.

From its Denver base, Quizno's has launched an aggressive national growth agenda, and has expanded internationally as well as nationally.

The company has restaurants in 40 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia and Central America.

Kevin Jenkins is business editor of the Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff.

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