After growing to more than 200 stores since opening its first restaurant in an antique store in 1977, Potbelly is incorporating franchising into its expansion plans for the first time. The Chicago-based chain began its franchising program in late 2009, and after contacting more than 6,000 applicants, it recently signed its first two deals. “It was time,” said Mike Walters, franchise zone manager for Potbelly. “We believe in a mixed system and that franchising will only make ...

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