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Potbelly Sandwich Shop

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Potbelly Corporation
Company typePublic
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryFast casual
FoundedJanuary 14, 1977; 47 years ago (1977-01-14)
FounderBryant Keil
HeadquartersThe Gogo Building, 111 N. Canal Street,
Number of locations
427 (as of March 28, 2024)[1]
Area served
United States
Key people
Robert Wright (president & CEO)
Bryant Keil (founding chairman)
ProductsSandwiches, salads, soups, ice cream
RevenueIncrease US$485.1 million (FY Ended 9/24/2023)[2]
Increase -US$22.49 million (FY Ended 12/26/2021)[1]
Increase -US$23.78 million (FY Ended 12/26/2021)[1]
Total assetsDecrease US$253.24 million (FY Ended 12/26/2021)[1]
Total equityDecrease -US$2.42 million (FY Ended 12/26/2021)[1]
Number of employees
5,500 (As of December 26, 2021)[1]

Potbelly Corporation, more commonly known as Potbelly Sandwich Shop or Potbelly Sandwich Works, is a publicly traded American fast-casual restaurant chain that focuses on submarine sandwiches and milkshakes. Potbelly was founded in 1977 in Chicago,[3] and its name refers to the potbelly stove. Potbelly's menu features a variety of sandwiches that are all served hot, and the menu includes soup, shakes, smoothies, potato chips and cookies. Some locations formerly presented live music from local musicians during the lunch hours.[4][5]


The first Potbelly restaurant, in Lincoln Park, Chicago

In 1971, Peter Hastings started an antique store, Hindsight, at 2264 North Lincoln Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The store had an old potbelly stove, which Hastings began using to make toasted sandwiches to serve to shoppers. In 1977, the Hindsight store was retooled into a restaurant, Potbelly Sandwich Works.[6][7] Since 1977, Potbelly has partnered with Turano in Chicago for their bread products.[8]

In 1996, Bryant Keil purchased the original store and expanded the company, The second store was opened in 1997, and he expanded Potbelly to over 300 stores in several states and the District of Columbia.[9][10] Investors include Maveron (Founded by Starbucks Founder, Howard Schultz) and American Securities.[11] As of August 2019, approximately 10% of the chain's 450+ locations were franchisees.[12]

In August 2013, Potbelly filed an initial public offering with US regulators to raise up to $75 million.[13] Shares in the company began trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market on October 4, 2013. The market cap shortly after the IPO was approximately $650,000,000.[14]

A view inside the first Potbelly Restaurant seating area

On November 5, 2007, a new Potbelly store in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, became the first to feature a drive-through. A second drive-through store was added shortly thereafter in Waukegan, Illinois.[15]

In 2011, Potbelly opened two franchise stores in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; these are the first international Potbelly locations.[16]

Potbelly opened its first European store at Westfield Stratford City, London, in July 2015[17] and its first Canadian store in Toronto in October 2016.[18] By August 2017, 60% of Potbelly's business came from lunch. It had 424 owned stores and 54 franchised stores.[19] Early that month, Potbelly announced it was considering putting itself for sale.[19]

In December 2017, Potbelly opened its first franchise in India with a new location in Cyber City, Gurgaon. The company signed a multi-franchise agreement with India's Kwals Group, with plans to open five franchises in the country by the end of 2018 and 20 locations over the next five years.[20]

Potbelly carries Zapp's potato chips and previously had an exclusive Zapp's brand of dill pickle chips that had the flavor of a Potbelly pickle.[21]

In July 2020, Potbelly named Robert Wright, a former executive of Wendy's, its new President and CEO.[22]

In April 2022, Potbelly entered its first delivery-based franchise partnership with REEF, the largest operator of virtual restaurants, logistics and proximity hubs in North America.[23]

Decreased sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in nearly 30% loss in annual revenue and 28 store closures.[24] In 2022, the chain announced 19 new locations were opening which increased to 40 in October 2023. [25]

IN 2023, Potbelly announced a 22-shop agreement in the Seattle-Tacoma region.[26]

In January 2024, Potbellys unveiled redesigned Potbelly Perks loyalty program with new benefits.


During the COVID-19 crisis, Potbelly Sandwich Shop applied for and accepted $10 million under the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) which the United States government created for small businesses to maintain workers through the COVID-19 crisis.[27] Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced on April 25, 2020, that they would return the $10 million loan.[28]

Potbelly Sandwich Shop in downtown Portland paid almost $100,000 to fight unions.[29]

A location in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Number of Potbelly Sandwich Shop locations in the USA in 2024". March 28, 204. Retrieved June 16, 2024.
  2. ^ "Potbelly Revenue 2010-2023 - Stock Analysis". February 29, 2024. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions Archived 2010-03-08 at the Wayback Machine." Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Retrieved on February 24, 2010.
  4. ^ "A Lively Lunch | Plymouth". Community Life Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  5. ^ "6 Things You Didn't Know About Potbelly Sandwich Works". The Daily Meal. September 5, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  6. ^ "Potbelly", Red Lion Data.
  7. ^ "The Untold Truth of Potbelly", Mashed.
  8. ^ "Potbelly sandwich chain builds upon its bread | Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery". www.snackandbakery.com. Retrieved 2024-07-01.
  9. ^ Blessing, Anna H. (September 13, 2004). "Bob Schwartz: Potbelly's district manager is on the fast track, works with 'the people' to employ corporate standards". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Timeline". Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  11. ^ "ZEPHYR – Bureau van Dijk". zephyr2.bvdep.com. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Entrepreneur". entrepreneur.com. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  13. ^ Avik Das (29 August 2013). "Sandwich maker Potbelly files for IPO of up to $75 million". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Potbelly Corporation Announces Pricing of Its Initial Public Offering". Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Economic Files of Potbelly" (PDF). Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Potbelly (US) Opens in Dubai – 07 Mar 2011". www.worldfranchiseassociates.com. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  17. ^ Murphy-Bates, Sebastian (2015-05-23). "Stratford to welcome first Potbelly in Europe". Newham Recorder. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  18. ^ "Toronto Restaurant Openings: Harry's, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Montaditos, Matcha Tea Dessert". Blogto.com. 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  19. ^ a b Jargon, Julie; Hufford, Austen (August 4, 2017). "Sandwich Maker Potbelly Hangs 'For Sale' Sign". The Wall Street Journal. New York City, New York, United States. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  20. ^ "First Potbelly Sandwich Shop Opens in India". Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Potbelly Sandwich Shop Introduces New Cuban Sandwich For A Limited Time". Restaurant News. May 9, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2022. Exclusive to Potbelly, Zapp's Dill Pickle Chips combine classic crunchy chips with the flavor of a Potbelly pickle.
  22. ^ Lalley, Heather (July 20, 2020). "Potbelly names former Wendy's exec Robert Wright as president and CEO". Restaurant Business. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  23. ^ "Potbelly initiates virtual restaurant partnership with Reef". Nation's Restaurant News. 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  24. ^ "Inside Potbelly's Comeback, from Potential to Powerhouse". QSR. 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  25. ^ "Potbelly Sandwich Shop Is Opening a Whopping 40 New Restaurants". Eat This, Not That!. 2024-04-27. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  26. ^ "Potbelly announces 22-shop agreement in Seattle-Tacoma region". Nation's Restaurant News. 2023-11-15. Retrieved 2024-07-01.
  27. ^ "OREGONLIVE – Associated Press". oregonlive.com. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  28. ^ Miller, Hannah. "Potbelly says it will return $10 million small business loan, following others after outrage". CNBC. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  29. ^ Gruben, Mallory (2024-04-03). "Potbelly Sandwich spent $100k to fight union". NW Labor Press. Retrieved 2024-07-01.

External links[edit]