Quiznos announced this week an aggressive move into Mexico for the first time where the sandwich chain plans to take on Subway, which already has a strong presence there.
On Monday, Denver-based Quiznos said it has signed a master franchise agreement with Mexico City-based Quizmex SA DE CV, which plans to open and subfranchise about 150 restaurants over the next 10 years, including five scheduled for Mexico City this year.
Led by Moises Tawil and Mauricio Levy, Quizmex expects that the first unit will open in May in the Avenida Presidente Masaryk, an exclusive shopping district.
The move is part of an ongoing plan by Quiznos to build international development. The chain named Kenneth Cutshaw president of international in September and the company expects to open more than 1,000 international locations in more than 40 countries by 2020.
With about 2,800 Quiznos open worldwide, the chain currently has about 680 international locations in more than 40 countries, including India, Brazil, Korea, the Philippines and Singapore. This year the brand will enter Russia.
In an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, Cutshaw said Mexico is a particularly attractive market in part because other U.S. brands have done well there. “We don’t benchmark our opportunities against the larger sandwich brand,” he said, referring to the 38,000-unit Subway. “The competing sandwich brand has more than 600 stores there but we feel it’s time for a premium brand to move into that market.”
Cutshaw said Quiznos is also looking at China, but an opening there is not likely this year. Domestic growth will also continue, he added.
Last year Quiznos brought in chief executive Stuart Mathis, who has pledged to refocus efforts on franchisee profitability. The former president of The UPS Store chain and a former Domino’s Pizza franchising executive, Mathis was brought in by Quiznos’ new owners, Avenue Capital Group.
Last year, New York-based hedge fund Avenue Capital Group took a majority stake in the company, injecting about $150 million in capital and eliminating about one-third of the company’s debt.