Blimpie(R) Brand Repositioning Becomes Reality Creating the Ultimate “Blimpie Experience”

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Company Implements Â?Contemporary DeliÂ? Vision with Updated Image, Modern Restaurant Design and New Panini-Grilled Ciabatta Sandwiches

Last fall, Blimpie International Inc., global franchisor of Blimpie(R) restaurants, announced its intentions to re-invigorate the Blimpie brand. Wasting no time, the vision is becoming reality with the implementation of several initiatives – most notably, a refreshed logo, contemporary restaurant design, and an updated menu featuring hot, new panini-grilled Ciabatta bread sandwiches. These updates reflect the 41-year-old restaurant chain’s position as a pacesetter in the sandwich segment.

“Blimpie was the first sub-sandwich chain in the country and we have always been an innovator in menu concepts – from our category-exclusive panini grill to our fresh-baked artisan breads including the new Ciabatta bread,” explained Mark Mears, chief marketing officer of Blimpie International. “Now our brand reflects this forward-thinking positioning, transforming Blimpie from its heritage as a traditional neighborhood sub shop to a more consumer-driven, contemporary deli.” Added Mears, “It’s not just a sandwich – it’s a Blimpie!”

The refreshed Blimpie logo reflects a more contemporary design with bright green and yellow – retaining the core equity of the previous version, while removing the red “racetrack.” According to Blimpie, the updated logo will be integrated first into advertising and marketing materials, and then gradually throughout the system via packaging, merchandising, uniforms and signage.

The redesigned restaurant interiors were created in collaboration with Atlanta-based retail design firm Miller Zell, Inc. The upscale décor includes modern, earth-tone paint and tile, wainscoting, pendant lighting and hardwood laminate flooring. Some unique aspects include a “community table” to seat larger groups, and curved architectural elements to simulate the look and feel of the logo throughout the interior. Elements can be seen in the latest Blimpie restaurant opening in the Pineville, Mo. Wal-Mart.

“The new restaurant design reflects our theme of Real. Fresh. Taste.(TM) and complements our branding efforts with the ambiance customers feel the moment they walk in the door,” Mears said. “We anticipate the design to evolve, but are featuring many of the key elements in our newest restaurants. Other Blimpie restaurants will be implementing the décor at varying levels this year.”

One pillar of the reinvigorated Blimpie brand is the company’s ability to consistently stay on the cutting-edge of menu innovation. Its new Ciabatta bread promotion launches April 1 throughout the country, featuring three Italian-themed sandwiches built on delicious Ciabatta bread and served hot from the Blimpie category-exclusive panini grill.

Blimpie is the only quick-service sandwich chain with a panini grill and the company is aggressively developing new panini-grilled sandwich options, although any of its traditional sandwiches can be grilled by request. “In research testing, consumers told us they prefer a panini-grilled sandwich over a toasted sub in terms of both taste and value,” stated Jennifer Townsend, assistant vice president of menu development for Blimpie International.

Blimpie continues to offer a unique twist on the classic deli menu, appealing to the variety of palates and nutritional preferences of today’s consumer. In addition to panini-grilled sandwiches, Blimpie restaurants feature Gardenburger(R) vegetarian patties, low-carb bread, fresh-sliced top-quality Dietz & Watson meats in each restaurant, and artisan breads in seven flavors – including cheddar jalapeno, hearty wheat, marble rye and zesty parmesan – baked fresh daily in each restaurant. Additionally, Blimpie uses only trusted, well-known suppliers including Frito-Lay(TM), Pepsi(R), Pillsbury(R), StarKist(R), Tyson(R), House of Raeford(R) and T. Marzetti’s(R).

About Blimpie(R): Headquartered in Atlanta, Blimpie International Inc. is a global franchisor of several branded quick-service concepts including Blimpie(R), the company’s core brand. Blimpie serves fresh, contemporary, deli-style sandwiches, soups and salads with Real. Fresh. Taste.(TM) Founded in 1964, Blimpie has grown to nearly 1,600 franchised restaurants across the U.S. and the company is actively seeking new franchisees for available territories. For more information about Blimpie, visit http://www.blimpie.com.

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Katie Patterson

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