Blimpie Calls Review to Reduce Agency Roster

National Consolidation Will Cut Regional Shops From 40 to 18
DALLAS–In a bid to consolidate its agency relationships, Blimpie Subs & Salads Restaurants is holding a national review to reduce the number of regional shops on its roster from 40 to 18.
The total value of the regional accounts is estimated at $8-10 million.
Requests for proposals were due last Wednesday at the client’s Atlanta headquarters.
A final list of shops will be compiled in April, with work beginning in July. The selected agencies primarily will be responsible for local media placement of advertising developed by Blimpie’s national shop, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York.
“Our ultimate goal is to streamline the communication system within the company and . . . ensure effective and consistent messaging all the way down to our audience,” said Courtney Carrasco, Blimpie vice president of marketing and a member of the review steering committee.
Some franchisors are less than enthusiastic about the consolidation. Fred Romley, president of DFW Blimpie in Dallas, said he does not see the logic of the current plan calling for combining his territory with West Texas.
“Obviously they feel there’s an economy of scale to use resources already in place with the national agency,” said Romley. “Whether it will work remains to be seen. I think the Dallas market is different from the Amarillo market or other markets in West Texas. As far as I’m concerned, Dallas is the center of the universe. I don’t care what’s convenient for Blimpie International.”
According to Carrasco, Blimpie’s 2,000 U.S. restaurants are divided into East, Central and West territories. Under the new scheme, each territory will have six agency regions. Each DMA within a region will act independently.
“They’ll be sharing agencies and sharing efficiencies,” said Carrasco. “That’s one of the keys to getting [franchisor] participation.”
Blimpie is the second-largest submarine sandwich chain in the U.S., behind Subway, with 1999 sales of $33.6 million. K