Potbelly Sandwich Works, with 10 stores in the Houston area, is handing out free Zapp's potato chips with the purchase of a sandwich this Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Carl Segal, senior vice president and "Potbelly Food Dude," as he's known at the company, says that while Zapp's chips aren't new to the Houston area, they are new to Potbelly and many of its 215 stores, all located east of the Rockies and concentrated in the Chicago and Washington, D.C. areas.
It's his job to make sure that the menu develops -- and only in a good way. Ask him about Zapp's, and Segal goes rhapsodic.
"We've used regional potato chips. The chips have been a nice add-on, but nothing that says, 'Hey we think this chip is as great as our sandwich.' We really want to upgrade every little thing and make sure we can stand up there and say this product is equal to our sandwich in its wonderful, great tastiness, and we think that Zapp's is that kind of a product, that we can say you know what? We searched it out, and we think this is the best potato chip in the country, and we're proud to serve it alongside our wonderful sandwich."
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Potbelly sandwiches cost $4.50 each for one of the original models. Segal says they have "almost two times the amount of meat on our sandwiches as with our competitors in the same price and size category." He sees his competition as Jason's Deli, Panera Breads, Corner Bakeries and "anyone who's going to take the five or six bucks that you have in your pocket for lunch that day."
Texas holds a special place in Segal's Potbelly heart. Besides the fact that business is good here (with stores in Houston, Dallas, Austin and College Station), he says Texans have changed the Potbelly menu for the whole country.
"We got a lot of requests from our customers in Texas for a bigger sandwich. We just added another sandwich we call The Bigs, and that sandwich is 30 percent larger than our original. We also added a larger fountain soda that people, again from Texas, really requested. We decided to do it company-wide. And that's a 32-ounce soda."
So feel proud, Texas, for once again showing the world that you can be a big pig too. And come get your chips.