When Jim Harmer first discovered Lennys Grill & Subs, it wasn’t under ordinary circumstances. He stumbled across the restaurant with his wife after leaving a medical check up to see if his brain cancer was still in remission. From the moment he took a bite of one of the brand’s Italian subs, he was hooked. And from that point on, Lennys Grill & Subs became a part of their routine after leaving his doctor’s office.
After a while, the Harmers decided to take their love of the brand to the next level by becoming franchisees and bringing Lennys’ delicious menu to their own community in Bartow, Florida. Now, about one month after officially opening their doors for business, their Lennys Grill & Subs location is thriving.
“The community here has really embraced us. When I talk to customers, I already have people telling me that this is their new favorite place and that they can’t wait to come back to try something different on the menu,” said Harmer. “Everything about Lennys Grill & Subs’ model lends itself to success. From the unbeatable food to its simple business model, opening up my own business for the first time with Lennys has been easier than I initially expected.”
Harmer had never worked in the restaurant industry before becoming a Lennys franchisee. He worked as a deputy sheriff in both the county jail system and on patrol in Lakeland, Florida. But even though taking ownership of a restaurant franchise was new to him, Lennys Grill & Subs made the process seamless.
Beyond its corporate support team that guides new owners through everything from securing real estate to managing the back end of the business, the brand also recently made the transition from Lennys Subs to Lennys Grill & Subs. The new branding more clearly informs guests that Lenny’s has more than cold subs on its menu. A major part of Lennys’ business is its freshly grilled hot sandwiches, including the number one selling world class Philly Cheesesteak.
“There’s no doubt that the Lennys Grill & Subs brand is doing a lot of good for business. Right now, my ratio of hot food orders versus cold is two to one, and our soups and salads make up a very large percentage of our overall daily sales,” Harmer said. “I think the Lennys Grill & Subs name helps make that success possible. It tells customers right off the bat that we’re not your average cold sub sandwich place—we have much more to offer on our menu.”
Heading into the new year, Lennys Grill & Subs expects its new franchisees to experience the same kind of success that the Harmers are currently seeing. The brand plans to bring its business model and menu to new communities in select geographies in the southeast, including Tampa, Louisville and San Antonio. That will ultimately solidify its position as a guest favorite in the booming sandwich industry.
“With the new Lennys Grill & Subs branding, there’s no limit to what we can do in the months and years to come. It has really opened the door for us to experience potentially record breaking growth,” said Bob Ritter, vice president of franchise and market development for Lennys Grill & Subs. “We’re excited to continue expanding our reach and welcome new franchisees like the Harmers into our proven franchise system.”