PotBelly Sandwiches about to tighten the belt

The Potbelly Sandwich Shop might be looking to sell the franchise after second-quarter earnings show sales have been stagnant.

Potbelly in Clayton

In the company’s corporate report from the second fiscal quarter, it lists same-store sales at the company-operated outlets fell 4.9 percent.

Mike Coyne, chief financial officer of Potbelly, said changes to the company’s business strategy were on the horizon.

“We are testing a number of targeted initiatives to further building our brand and improve our traffic trends,” Coyne said in a written statement. “In addition, to build a stronger Potbelly for the long-term, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our business strategy.”

That news might come as a disappointment to regular customers such as Edward Worman, who we spoke to at the Downtown Clayton location.

“I come here about once a month,” Worman said, “and I work across the street, so it’s super close.”

If the store were to close, he wouldn’t be happy about it, but he “wouldn’t be crushed either.”

Worman said if Potbelly’s was removed from the area, there are some other sandwich local shops that he might patronize, but they don’t offer the same value as PotBelly’s.

“Pickleman’s is over here but I like Potbelly’s better because the sandwiches are bigger here,” he said. “More bang for your buck.”

Even with the decline in sales, Potbelly still plans on opening 45 to 50 new stores this year, including 30 to 35 company-operated stores.

The Chicago-based restaurant has four locations in the St. Louis area: Clayton, St. Charles, O’Fallon, and Creve Coeur.

Additionally, PotBelly owns and operates more than 400 stores throughout the United States and franchise locations in Canada, Britain and the Middle East.

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