Fleet of subs sailing here from Denver

Quizno's to open 75 area sandwich shops

Fast food

March 04, 2000|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

A fast-growing chain of Italian-style sub shops is expanding into Maryland, with the first of about 75 planned Quizno's Subs expected to open in the summer in the Baltimore area.

Denver-based Quizno's Corp. franchises and operates more than 700 restaurants in 37 states and internationally. It plans to develop about 45 stores in the Baltimore metropolitan area and 30 in central Pennsylvania, Glenn Gustafsson, Quizno's Baltimore area director, said yesterday. The expansion is expected to occur over about seven years, he said.

More of the quick-service restaurants -- possibly as many as 75 -- are planned for Carroll and Washington counties and the Eastern Shore, with the first of those to open in Hagerstown by the end of the year.

Quizno's, which targets lunchtime office crowds and sells its signature slow, oven-baked baguette sandwiches as well as soups and salads, is aggressively expanding, planning to double its restaurants this year.

It has awarded Gustafsson the Baltimore territory, which allows him to sell franchises in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Harford counties and in central Pennsylvania. Gustafsson has bought the first area franchise and hopes to open a Quizno's flagship shop by July. He is scouting locations in the city and in Baltimore County.

The Bel Air resident, a former insurance company regional vice president, said he believes that the sub chain can compete here against the likes of Subway and Blimpie.

"Quizno's is a hot new concept that's moving east," he said. "When you look at what folks are demanding these days, they're demanding fast food that tastes better." The first restaurants will open in areas with dense office and retail populations of at least 10,000 daytime workers. Likely spots include the city's downtown, Canton and Federal Hill neighborhoods; Towson, Hunt Valley and Owings Mills in Baltimore County; and Bel Air in Harford County, said Keith Barnett, a retail associate with KLNB Inc., the Towson-based real estate brokerage firm seeking sites for Gustafsson. The chain, which typically takes existing street-front or strip center retail space of between 1,200 and 1,800 square feet, should thrive in such markets based on the performance of existing stores, Barnett said. "There's really nothing like it in this market," he said.

Quizno's, which posted a net income applicable to common shareholders of $385,434, or 11 cents per diluted share, in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, has sprouted from a regional Denver chain. It began expanding nationally in 1991, when it had 18 restaurants.

Now, more than 700 locations -- most franchised -- cover much of the United States and parts of Japan, Canada, Australia and Costa Rica.

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