Penn Station Sets its Sights on Expanding in the Richmond, Virginia Market
Penn Station Sets its Sights on Expanding in the Richmond, Virginia Market

The River City and Henrico County are prime locations for the sandwich brand.

Penn Station finished 2018 on a high note and is now setting its sights on expanding within the Richmond, Virginia area.

After successful openings and expansions in North Carolina, Michigan, and Ohio in 2018, the sandwich chain brand is also targeting the River City in 2019. The brand is specifically looking at both the city of Richmond and nearby Henrico County as prime contenders. Both are part of the Greater Richmond Region.

Penn Station already has a presence in the greater Richmond area with three locations in Midlothian, Bon Air and Henrico.   

With a population of almost 1.3 million, the Richmond Metro Statistical Area is an excellent choice for the Penn Station brand. Penn Station Director of Development and Franchising Greg Goddard noted the large student population for one, thanks to major educational hubs such as Virginia Commonwealth University and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

“Richmond and Henrico County are ideal choices for Penn Station locations,” Goddard said. “Both areas have diverse populations who can enjoy what our brand has to offer. We’ve already seen a great response from customers in the area and we’re excited to continue our expansion there.  We’ve been in the market for many years, but the franchisee who originally had rights to develop is nearing retierment.  Based on historical performance in the region, we know the market is ripe for an aggressive operator to complete the development of what has been a very good market for Penn Station.”    

In addition to the Richmond area, Penn Station is targeting the Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, Kansas City, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Raleigh & Charlotte, North Carolina markets in 2019.

The brand finished 2018 on a high note. The brand saw more than a 4.3 percent comparative system-wide sales increase in the fourth quarter of 2018. Penn Station currently has more than 300 open locations.

Penn Station is specifically interested in attracting multi-unit franchisees. Goddard cited the brand’s solid unit-level economics and focus on the top and bottom lines of sales as reasons to join the brand. He also noted that the brand’s food and paper costs are extremely competitive compared to those of industry peers.

“Our business model, coupled with Richmond’s relatively lower cost of living makes the city an excellent target area for our brand,” Goddard said. “Residents enjoy casual, low-cost dining options and our menu and atmosphere provide them with that.”

The ideal franchisee, Goddard said, has restaurant and multi-unit franchise experience. In terms of financing, the prospective candidate should have at least $100,000 in liquid capital and a net worth of at least $200,000.

“We don’t require previous restaurant franchise experience, but prospective franchisees should know that Penn Station is not a passive investment,” Goddard said. “We’re looking for people with business acumen who can keep their operational costs low without sacrificing quality. This person should be able to think like a restaurant owner and be willing to step up to the plate and work hard.”

Those same work ethic and business savvy requirements apply to prospective Richmond-area franchisees.

“The Richmond area enjoys a booming and diverse food scene, and Penn Station wants to continue to be part of that,” Goddard said. “Our existing Richmond-area franchisees have been doing extremely well and we want to expand in the area. We’re in it for the long haul, and we’re looking for franchisees who feel the same way.”

The startup costs for a Penn Station franchise range from $290,984 to $594,478. The franchise fee is $25,000. To learn more about franchising with Penn Station, visit http://www.penn-station.com/franchise/.