Brands I Love: Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches

September 17, 2008

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:

Which Which Order Bags

Which Which Order Bags

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.

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Brands I Love: Potbelly Sandwich Works

March 3, 2008

Potbelly logoIf a brand hopes to breakthrough the cluttered marketplace, a sense of authenticity and community needs to be a cornerstone of their brand equity. Consumers want to develop a relationship with a brand and in many cases, they are looking for brands that could become a physical manifestation of a Third Place. The concept of a “Third Place” refers to a place, other than work or home, where a person can go to relax and feel part of the community. I first came across this formal definition while doing a project at P&G’s so-called “Mosh Pit of Creativity”, Clay Street. It was also at Clay Street that I realized Potbelly Sandwich Works is a Third Place for me.

For those of you not familiar with Potbelly, it is Potbelly Storea Chicago tradition and one of my favorite brands in the marketplace (you can guarantee I will be visiting one while I am in Chicago this month). The chain was started in 1971 not as a sandwhich shop, but as an antiques shop in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The owners sold sandwiches on the side to draw in shoppers but quickly realized they were selling more sandwiches than antiques. The chain was purchased in the mid-1990’s by a young entrepreneur intent on turning it into something more and it has received VC funding from Howard Schultz’s Maveron. Read the rest of this entry »