A couple of weekends ago, Cindy and I headed down to Dallas for a little road trip. Just outside of town, we decided to stop for dinner and try something new. Thanks to this little bit of spontaneity, we discovered Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches, my latest entry in “Brands I Love.”
At first glance, Which Wich is similiar to Potbelly Sandwiches, one of the first “Brands I Love” write-ups here on Hard Knox Life. After all, both serve toasted sandwiches and are aimed after the family. And more importantly, both are growing quickly with Which Wich at 55+ stores and Potbelly opening store #200 in June 2008.
But Which Wich? gets distinction as a “Brand I Love” not because of the similarities, but instead because of their differences:
They make ordering your food something you tell others about: When you first walk into a Which Wich, you stand there a little confused. After all, you are staring at a wall of brown paper bags, a menu on the wall and a cup of red magic markers. But that initial confusion is actually what makes the experience so memorable and enjoyable. It is an ordering experience that you want to tell others about because its pretty damn fun. And judging by the excitement of the kids ordering in front of me, it is an experience the entire family will enjoy.
Their brand equity is distinctive and memorable: First off, their name is just something that causes people to smile. Second, the company leverages a Very contemporary look with bold colors and stainless steel throughout the store. Third, they have a great partnership with Aware Records to provide music in-store, instead of just using local radio. These three things combine to create a Brand Equity and Brand Experience that is unique for the category.
They have a menu based on customization and personalization: In this world of Facebook and Nike ID, customization / personalization is the name of the game. Which Wich takes the BK concept of “Have it your way” to extremes. They are able to do this thanks to those magical brown paper bags I mentioned above. Just as important, they menu is extensive, much more than Potbelly. And they frequently build upon this menu with the input of their employees and partners.
Despite my new found love for Which Wich, the company does have some areas where they could improve such as:
A smooth and simple digital presence: Which has a great looking website, but it is filled with too much flash. As a result, the experience is cumbersome and slow loading. It is also frustrating for someone that wants to spread the world about Which Wich since you can’t link directly to their menu or any other parts of the site.
A true respect for the Social Media space: It feels like a marketing consultant came in and told Which Wich about this new thing called “social media” but forgot to tell them what to do with it. They have the obligatory company blog , Twitter account and Facebook profile, but aren’t using any of them in the right way. If you are going to have a presence in Social Media, you need to use it. This is a brand people want to talk about…but they are giving them the tools to do so.
An embrace of music that only goes halfway: Partnering with Aware Records is stellar in concept, but Which Wich isn’t going far enough in execution. Don’t sell a CD released in 2005 for $15 dollars. Let people know the new music they are listening to (online, in-store, on company blog). Embrace digital…maybe a free download for every sandwich. The music retail industry isn’t a good business right now (Starbucks and countless others show us that). But the industry of music discovery is limitless (iTunes, Pandora, Last.FM). Practice a little Blue Ocean Strategy here.
Right now, Which Wich is mainly based in the Dallas area but they have expanded to cities like Nashville. If you have the chance, stop by one and experience for yourself. Believe me, you will love the experience… and the sandwiches are pretty damn good as well!