CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Quiznos, the nation's second-largest sandwich chain, has appointed founder Rick Schaden to once again serve as its CEO. He succeeds Yum Brands veteran Dave Deno, who has stepped down for "personal reasons" after about five months.
"Rick's amazing entrepreneurial skills were perfect for building Quiznos from the ground up and are ideal to grow the company in this tough economic environment," Greg Brenneman, Quiznos' executive chairman, said in a statement. Mr. Brenneman had served as CEO until August. "Rick was a franchise owner before buying and growing Quiznos. He has a detailed understanding of the brand."
Mr. Schaden is credited with building the brand, since 1991, from 18 franchises to about 5,000 today.
Quiznos is owned by controlled by investment firms CCMP Capital Advisors, Cervantes Capital and Turnworks. Mr. Schaden heads Cervantes, while Turnworks is Mr. Brenneman's firm.
"It is important that the investors directly spend their time and efforts with the company during these challenging economic times," Mr. Schaden said. "Moving forward, our strategy will be exactly as it is today. Our primary focus will be on increasing restaurant profitability for our franchise owners by bringing value and convenience to consumers so that they frequent Quiznos more often."
Quiznos, which enjoyed rapid growth earlier in the decade, appears to have lost steam in recent years. The chain is battling franchisee lawsuits, as well as No. 1 sandwich shop Subway's explosive growth, both at home and abroad. The chain acknowledged last fall that its much-larger competitor's $5-foot-long promotion had eaten into its sales. Quiznos has answered with a $5 promotion of its own. The chain also recently fired its advertising agency and has yet to name a replacement.