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Potbelly Franchise v. Wayback Burgers: A Side-by-Side Analysis

Thinking about investing in a food service business? There is perhaps no stronger model than fast casual.

Thinking about investing in a food service business? There is perhaps no stronger model than fast casual. It provides the best of all worlds. Fast casual is a hybrid of two concepts that work well to provide high quality food with the convenience of quick service. With fast casual, you’ll find a more upscale and diverse menu selection, and comfortable seating areas with inviting interiors. By design, there is no table service, except in a few variations where a food runner may bring your meal after you place your order at a counter.

This particular food service model actually performed well amid the pandemic shutdowns. Fast casual franchises were able to pivot quickly to providing patrons with safe and distanced food service—including online ordering apps, curbside pick-up, and delivery options.

Which explains why the fast-casual niche is booming. According to data from Allied Market Research, the market for fast-casual fare is expected to hit $209.1 billion by 2027.


The Skinny on Potbelly

If you are an entrepreneur considering investment in a fast casual, like the Potbelly franchise, let’s examine the brand. Serving up toasty sandwiches, soups, salads, fresh-baked cookies, and milkshakes—Potbelly is going through an overhaul after becoming a publicly traded company back in 2013. Their goals are in the numbers. Based on information from QSR magazine, with three new leadership changes, Potbelly has plans to reach 2,000 stores in the U.S. in the next decade and become at least an 85% franchised system.

The sandwich chain entered 2022 with 443 restaurants, and about 90% of those were company-owned. There will be a three-year refranchising transition in which they are focused on attracting prospective franchisees who are prepared to develop multiple units.


Wayback is All About People

In comparison, Wayback Burgers, known for great-tasting, traditional favorites like cooked-to-order hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, fries, and hand-dipped milkshakes, continually refreshes and updates their offerings to provide a great selection of high-quality food.

At Wayback Burgers, people come first. The brand’s mission creates a culture of belonging by uniting people through the love of comfort food. The formula is simple: provide top notch guest service through great tasting food delivered just as the guests like it.

Wayback Burgers led the technology trend with digital apps that offer ordering, delivery and mobile pay options before they became popularized during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes curbside pick-up, order-ahead and delivery.

As one of the world’s fastest growing burger franchise brands, Wayback Burgers owes much of our easy startup and expansion to our smaller restaurant footprints, allowing franchisees to grow their business potential in a shorter amount of time, with both single and multi-unit opportunities available. Our team of experts also helps franchise owners target markets and choose the right locations to ensure success.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Potbelly Franchise Cost Wayback Burgers Franchise Cost
Initial Franchise Fee
Initial Franchise Fee $40,000 $35,000
Initial Investment
Initial Investment $534,950 – $874,000 $500,000 – $600,000
Net Worth Requirement
Net Worth Requirement $500,000 $350,000
Cash Requirement
Cash Requirement $200,000 $200,000
Veteran Incentives
Veteran Incentives $5,000 off franchise fee
Royalty Fee
Royalty Fee 6% 5%
Ad Royalty Fee
Ad Royalty Fee to 4% 2%
Term of Agreement
Term of Agreement 10 years 20 years
Is frachise term renewable?
Is frachise term renewable?

*Data from Entrepreneur


Wayback is Way Better!

When you compare the two fast-casual brands, the Potbelly franchise is more costly. It’s clear that Wayback Burgers is a better financial investment with identical cash requirements to Potbelly’s. Plus, Wayback Burgers provides an incentive for veterans.

But there’s nothing like hearing the benefits of a brand than from the owners. Our franchise testimonials tell the whole story of the advantages of franchising with Wayback Burgers.

We are always looking for entrepreneurs who are motivated and passionate about serving their communities with quality and authenticity. We look for franchisees with leadership experience as well as interest in the day-to-day details of running a business.

If you want to be part of a franchise that puts people first by providing quality food, top notch guest service and great opportunity for you to grow your business, get started by filling out this form and we will contact you shortly.