What is in this article?:
- Quiznos to offer Toasty Pastas nationwide
- A closer look at the menu move
About half of the chain’s 1,450 domestic locations are offering the pastas this week
Pasta with meatballs and marinara sauce is amonth Quiznos' new line of baked pastas
Quiznos is planning the national rollout next week of a new line of Toasty Pastas that in tests have helped build traffic at dinner and on weekends.
The new menu platform offers franchisees an opportunity to attract a broader audience using ingredients that are already in house, although the pasta itself is a new item, said Susan Lintonsmith, Quiznos chief marketing officer.
About half of the chain’s 1,450 domestic locations are offering the pastas this week as operators throughout the almost all-franchised system train and prepare for the national rollout scheduled for Feb. 24.
Quiznos’ Toasty Pastas platform will initially include six types of baked pastas, all starting at the recommended price of $4.99.
The rollout will be supported by a national print campaign, which will also highlight the return of a lobster-and-seafood protein option — actually lobster mixed with white pollock — which will be available for a limited time on a sub or as a salad. The lobster-seafood has been a popular premium item featured during the Lenten season over the past two years.
The menu moves comes as the Denver-based sandwich chain attempts another restructuring after changing hands in a debt-for-equity swap in 2012 that shifted ownership to New York hedge fund Avenue Capital Group. The 2012 restructuring kept the chain out of bankruptcy court, and the hedge fund cleared about a third of Quiznos’ then $870 million debt load.
After reportedly missing payment on a loan, Quiznos in December confirmed that it had negotiated a forbearance agreement that would give the chain liquidity as it worked with lenders to restructure some or all of its remaining debt.
While Quiznos has been growing aggressively overseas with a goal of reaching 1,000 international locations by 2020, the sandwich chain has shrunk in the U.S., ending 2013 with a domestic store count of 1,450, down from 1,930 at the end of fiscal 2012.
Franchisees have also launched several rounds of lawsuits in recent years, arguing that the business model is broken. A common theme among the lawsuits is the complaint that Quiznos marks up food and supplies that franchisees are contractually obligated to buy from the franchisor’s supply arm.
The company has declined to comment on the litigation, and Lintonsmith said she could not comment on the restructuring efforts, except to say that the company is working with its partners to establish a framework that will position the chain and its franchisees for future success.