Top 250 Franchise by Entrepreneur – Rank no. 198 – Blimpie Subs & Salads – US
Products & Services: Submarine sandwiches & salads
Number of Locations: 629
Total Investment: $136.14K – 388.04K
Began Franchising: 1970
About Blimpie Subs & Salads
With the help of two friends and $2,500 in borrowed start-up capital, Anthony Conza opened the first Blimpie Subs & Salads location in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964. From that first store, Blimpie grew into an international chain with restaurants in malls, shopping centers, convenience stores, colleges, sports arenas, hospitals and sports arenas. Each location serves a variety of hot and cold subs, wraps, salads and soups.
Blimpie is now owned by Kahala, franchisor of Cereality, Cold Stone Creamery, Frullati Café & Bakery, Great Steak & Potato, Johnnie’s, Nrgize, Ranch 1, Rollerz, Samurai Sam’s, Surf City Squeeze and TacoTime.
Where Seeking Franchisees: Franchisor is seeking new franchise units worldwide.
Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing
Total Investment: $136,150 – $388,050
Franchise Fee: $18,000
Ongoing Royalty Fee: 6%
Term of Franchise Agreement: 10 years, renewable
Liquid Cash Available: $75,000
35% of all franchisees own more than one unit. Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 10 – 15. Absentee ownership of franchise is allowed. (90% of current franchisees are owner/operators).
How This Franchise Supports Franchisees
Training: Available at headquarters: 1 week. At franchisee’s location: 2 weeks.
Ongoing Support: Newsletter, Meetings, Toll-free phone line, Grand opening, Internet, Security/safety procedures, Field operations/evaluations, Purchasing cooperatives
Marketing Support: Co-op advertising, Ad slicks, Regional advertising,
Franchise Ranking History
Franchise 500®: #198 (2013), #108 (2012), #221 (2011), #438 (2010), #348 (2009),
America’s Top Global: #90 (2012), #173 (2011),
Three teenagers met at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J. Throughout their high school years, they became close friends and began talking about the possibility of starting a business. Like many great entrepreneurs, they had no idea what business to be in, but only knew that they wanted to go into business together.
Armed with a collective business itch, Tony Conza, Peter DeCarlo and Angelo Baldassare started buying women’s hosiery wholesale and selling it to family members and friends. The consummate salesman in the group branched out, selling pots and pans door-to-door. The quiet thinker tried his hand at over-the-counter trading on Wall Street. And the third entrepreneur was successful running church hall dances.
A few years pass and one of the young men asked the others a fateful question; “Hey, have you guys heard about those sandwiches they call submarines?" The next morning, the trio leave their homes in north Jersey and head down the Garden State Parkway to Point Pleasant, a little shop serving long, strangely-shaped sandwiches. It was lunchtime and the place was packed. By the time they got to the fresh meat slicer, they had begun to understand all the fuss. A young man behind the slicer was taking orders, cutting fresh Italian bread down the middle and placing the fresh meats on the bread before sliding the sandwich down to the dressing station. There, another added shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, diced onions, oil, vinegar and spices. The three men stared, mouths watering, waiting to chomp these so-called submarines.
At that moment, the three young men with entrepreneurial dreams realized they were on to something very special.
On the way home, they do what entrepreneurs do; they dream and their words fill the car. They agree that people in north Jersey would love this “salad on a sandwich" concept. With a simple menu, they could open a chain of restaurants.
But amidst their enthusiasm, reality quickly set in. None of the three men had any money. Nor did they know anything about the restaurant business. But, like all strong-willed entrepreneurs, they were not deterred in the pursuit of a dream to go into business together because now they had that elusive big idea.
Eventually, they decided Hoboken was the ideal place to open a store because people there loved trying new things. Another bonus was they all had family in the area to provide support.
They considered applying for a bank loan backed by the Small Business Administration. They considered the gamut of other financing possibilities, including venture-capital firms, high-risk lenders, and family and friends. Back then, there were no credit card companies through which entrepreneurs could finance their startup dreams. In the end, they decided to approach a friend in the garment business, offering him 15 percent of net profits in exchange for a $2,000 investment. He agrees and their dream turned into a reality.
Before opening their first store, the three men revisited the owner of the sub shop in Point Pleasant where they had first tasted those so-called submarines. They promised not to compete with him, but needed his advice, which they gratefully received.
With financing and guidance in hand, all they needed was a name. To help set them apart, they wanted to call their sandwiches something other than subs, submarine,s or hoagies. So they went through a dictionary until they came to the word “blimp" and a picture resembling the generous-size sandwiches they wanted to make. This was the “eureka" moment, and the BLIMPIE sandwich and restaurant chain was born!
On April 4, 1964, the three men opened for business on Washington St. in Hoboken. The consummate salesman worked the slicer. The quiet thinker manned the dressing station. And the third entrepreneur took the cash. By the time the door closed at 9 p.m., $295 had been rung up – with sandwich prices ranging from 35 to 95 cents. Although exhausted, the business partners still had to clean up and get ready for the next day. That’s when the quiet thinker faced the reality of the moment and of his future.
“Investing in a business like BLIMPIE, is not like a mutual fund. It’s more like having a baby. When you invest in a mutual fund, you give your money to some financial outfit, then sit back and hope that it makes money for you. Having a baby of course, is different. Once that baby comes into your life, it never goes away. If you get tired, it doesn’t go away. If you want to take the weekend off, it doesn’t go away. If you want a vacation, it doesn’t go away. However, if you nurture the baby, care for it, and help it grow, one day it will take care of itself – and maybe even take care of you." (Conza, 2000)
*Parts of this company history were paraphrased from Success: It’s A Beautiful Thing, Lessons On Life And Business From The Founder Of BLIMPIE International © 2000 by Tony Conza.
BECOME A BLIMPIE FRANCHISEE ( BEST BUSINESS FRANCHISE )
How Would You Like to Own Your Own Blimpie Sub Sandwich Franchise?
Blimpie is a respected brand among the quick-service restaurant category. Renowned for offering only the highest quality products for more than four decades, people everywhere recognize the quality associated with the Blimpie sub sandwich franchise and are more likely to be repeat customers because of it.
With our sub sandwich franchisees’ in mind, we are constantly moving forward with new ways to grow their restaurant business and increase our products’ reach. From merchandising and décor enhancements, to providing more choices and quality menu items, we are continually looking for ways to meet the ever changing needs of our customers. We have also developed the highly touted Blimpie Catering Program that is perfect for any meeting, party or event enabling our franchisees to increase exposure, reach new customers and develop great relationships within their community.
We are proud of the extensive support we provide our restaurant franchisees. When you open your Blimpie Sub Franchise, you’ll never be alone, because we’ll be with you every step of the way. To help ensure your journey to opening your Blimpie franchise is a smooth one, our dedicated Blimpie team will assist you with important pre-opening steps such as site selection, design and construction, as well as a grand opening plan. Our sub sandwich franchise operations system also aids in your success by allowing you to benefit from our years of experience. We keep the cost of entry and operating costs as low as possible.
Blimpie Subs & Salads official website