Cousins Subs launches rebranding strategy to promote future growth

Will focus on Chicago market over the next five years

Cousins Subs new design

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:24 pm

Menomonee Falls-based Cousins Submarines Inc. announced a rebranding strategy Monday that includes changing the exterior design and remodeling the interior of every Cousins Subs store.

The announcement comes after several years of economic decline for the fast-casual chain that resulted in the closing of 41 under-performing and non-compliant stores.

Cousins Subs new brand.
Cousins Subs’ new design

Christine Specht, president and chief executive officer of Cousins, said the closures allowed the company to strengthen its economics and create a stronger core of franchisee partners.

From 2011 through the end of 2015, the stores that remained open saw a 16 percent increase in sales, according to the company.

“Cousins has not shied away from taking the necessary steps to get to a position where the brand can implement change and growth,” Specht said in a statement. “We’ve evaluated our strengths and weaknesses and have made adjustments to not only remain relevant in a sea of competition, but to further communicate to guests our vision and values.”

The rebranding will include an updated logo and uniforms for employees. All of the restaurants will be remodeled to unify the new brand. So far, 21 of 104 Cousins restaurants feature the design, including stone walls, wood floors, industrial finishes and the original Cousins Subs logo.

In January, Cousins announced it was partnering with Fort Worth, Texas-based  real estate development firm Buxton to look for growth opportunities across the Midwest.

Over the next 12 months, Cousins plans to open corporate locations in the Chicago area, with opportunities for multi-unit franchisees to join in these areas, according to Cousins.

Over the next five years, Cousins will continue to focus on establishing corporate stores in Midwest markets it has identified through its Buxton analysis, and will also award multi-unit franchise agreements to augment this growth strategy in these select areas, according to a press release.

“I absolutely believe that we have the best sub sandwich in the market and believe that more people need to enjoy what Milwaukeeans have enjoyed for more than 40 years,” Specht said. “It is important for us to get our brand out there and to secure space in new markets to further solidify our spot among serious fast casual concepts.”

Cousins also announced sponsorship deals with UW Athletics, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

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