With over 400 locations across 28 states, McAlister’s Deli has established a strong foothold in a diverse range of markets. Now the fast-casual brand seeks to further its presence in Wisconsin by opening restaurants in the states north-eastern markets, including Green Bay, Appleton, and Oshkosh.
Paul Macaluso, president of McAlister’s Deli, said that north-east Wisconsin is a region where the franchise is particularly primed for success.
“McAlister’s has a diverse, unique menu, but when it comes down to it, our sandwiches are a huge draw. We’ve got really amazing meat and cheese sandwiches, and these are meat and cheese cities,” said Macaluso. “As long as we continue to provide amazing sandwiches, we’re going to see a lot of business there.”
New Wisconsin stores will also benefit from increased brand awareness as the franchise continues to open stores in nearby Midwestern cities.
“We’ve already seen just how well our concept resonates with customers throughout the Midwest. And because of the similar demographics found throughout the region, this is a natural next step for the brand,” Macaluso said. “Historically, we’ve also seen that McAlister’s does best when we expand around the edges of where we’re already strong. So as we grow our footprint in states like Illinois and Michigan, we’re finding that brand awareness expands outward, as does demand for our product.”
Demographically, Wisconsin is in some ways a microcosm of the country at large, with median household and per-capita incomes nearly identical to the national medians, suggesting that McAlister’s rising popularity in other markets throughout the U.S. will be reflected in Wisconsin.
As McAlister’s prepares to continue expanding in Wisconsin and throughout the country, the corporate team is focused on making sure all of the brand’s new restaurants are well positioned for success.
“On the corporate level, everything that we do is designed to set our franchisees up for success,” said Macaluso. “Between guiding them through the grand opening process and making ourselves accessible to lend a helping hand whenever needed, our top priority is ensuring that the McAlister’s model is working in every market it calls home. By helping our franchisees reach their full potential, whether they’re single or multi-unit operators, we’re helping position the McAlister’s brand for continued growth in the long run.”
Because an unsuccessful restaurant could damage the entire brand’s image, Macaluso sees franchisee support as an essential element of McAlister’s Deli’s growth strategy.
“Our franchisees are ultimately the driving force behind our successful expansion initiatives,” said Macaluso. “That’s why our strong support system is such an integral part of our franchise system—we want our local owners to receive the best possible advantages in today’s ever-evolving restaurant industry.”
Macaluso is optimistic that McAlister’s will find capable and qualified owners for the brand’s Wisconsin restaurants.
“Ultimately we’re just looking for smart, ambitious people who have a passion for the brand,” said Macaluso. “It’s not like you need a special degree. Our processes have been fine-tuned and are easily applied. I know we’re going to find a lot of great new owners in Wisconsin, and I’m excited to work with them.”