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Thu 7th May 2015 - Potbelly plans ten London sites after summer debut
Potbelly plans ten London sites after summer debut: Chicago-based company Potbelly Sandwich Shop, a leading fast-casual brand in the US with nearly 400 sites, will debut in the UK at “The Street” in Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre this summer. Potbelly Franchising has signed a master franchise agreement with Buraq Retail (Potbelly) Ltd, a company backed by Sheikh Holdings, to open a 1,870 square foot, 90-cover site in Westfield Stratford City. The fast-casual brand, which is known for its freshly prepared hot, toasted sandwiches, made-to-order salads and daily baked cookies, is entering a period of rapid international expansion led by Aylwin Lewis, former chief executive of Sears Holdings and previously President of Yum! Brands. Potbelly and Buraq Retail plan to open ten London stores in the next five years, within high footfall locations across high streets, shopping centres and transport hubs. Chief executive Aylwin Lewis said: “Potbelly is continuing our international growth alongside our consistent US expansion of between 48 and 55 new units per year. We’re hugely excited to be bringing our legendary sandwiches to the UK for the first time. It’s a market we’ve been watching closely and Sheikh Holdings are the perfect partners to represent the brand going forward in the UK.” Sheikh Holdings Director Akbar Sheikh said: “We are honoured to bring the Potbelly brand to London. Potbelly is a well-loved and hugely successful restaurant chain in the US that been going for almost 40 years. The concept has a buzzing atmosphere and a diverse offering that will have strong appeal to the discerning London customer. We are very pleased to be opening the flagship store with Westfield which represents the first Potbelly in Europe.” Buraq retail executive Gibran Khan added: “The time is right to inject some excitement into London’s competitive but stagnant sandwich market, and in our opinion there is no better brand than Potbelly to fill this gap.” Potbelly will sell hot, toasted sandwiches with classic American combinations, authentic soups and bespoke salads, with all ingredients sourced locally. Potbelly will introduce some new sandwiches for the British market, as well as their famous cookies and hand-dipped milkshakes. Potbelly will open from breakfast till evening and will have local musicians performing live during the day, which has been a defining part of the Potbelly experience since it first opened in 1977.

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