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After the first location debuts this week, Consumer Capital will open “a couple more” Live Basil units in Denver this year, with another scheduled to open on the West Coast, Schaden said.

“We want to make sure the first 10 on the ground are right,” Schaden said. “This is all about the product and bringing something new to the market. The growth will come as it comes.”

Unlike its competitors, the company has no immediate plans to franchise Live Basil, Schaden said.

Still, “We never say never,” Ryan added.

Roughly half of Smashburger units are franchised, though the company is also opening corporate locations. Quiznos, on the other hand, is mostly franchised and has struggled in recent years. Both before and after the change in ownership, disgruntled Quiznos franchise operators filed multiple lawsuits, including some targeting the Schadens.

If anything, Live Basil might consider a joint-venture partnership, Schaden said.

“We may do a joint venture or something of that nature, but we’re not in need of capital and we’re not in need of operators,” he said. “We really like having the corporate controls. This is a very special pizza, and we want to make sure it stays that way. When you have to keep it within a very narrow set of specs, corporate stores are much better for that.”

Consumer Capital tested another Italian concept called Tossa in Boulder, Colo., which closed in December after about a  year. Schaden described that concept as more like a “miniature Olive Garden,” with fast-casual service at lunch and full service at dinner.

“The food and the acceptance was very good, and the economics were okay, but they weren’t great,” Schaden said. Some recipes from Tossa have passed on to Live Basil, he noted.

This article has been revised to reflect the following update:

 May 20, 2013 This article has been updated with more background information on Quiznos.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout