Cousins Subs to rebrand 44-year-old business
Restaurant to get new logo, new decor

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

May 18, 2016

 Cousins Subs announced this week that it will implement a large-scale rebranding initiative.
Submitted photo

MENOMONEE FALLS — After an economic downturn that resulted in Cousins Subs closing 41 of its locations, the chain restaurant announced this week that it will implement a large-scale rebranding initiative.

The look will be more streamlined, and according to the announcement, will be accomplished through a new in-store and exterior design concept, the remodeling of all existing locations and rebranding of key brand attributes.

“Cousins has not shied away from taking the necessary steps to get to a position where the brand can implement change and growth,” said Christine Specht, president and CEO of 44-year-old Cousins Subs, in a statement. “After years of careful planning, we feel that the time is now to embark on the next journey of Cousins Subs. We’ve evaluated our strengths and weaknesses and have made adjustments to not only remain relevant in a sea of competition, but to further communicate to guests our vision and values.”

According to the announcement, from 2008 to 2012, Menomonee Fallsbased Cousins Subs closed 41 units and reinvested in the acquisition of seven locations corporately.

During that period, Cousins evaluated all upcoming franchise agreements and corporate locations, closed underperforming and noncompliant stores, determined what units would be viable sites for the next 10 years and worked with its franchise partners to secure their commitment to reinvest in both the remodel of their locations and other strategic initiatives, according to the announcement.

Cousins also reported that from 2011 through the end of 2015, same store sales for units open during this period are up 16 percent and average check has increased 21 percent. Average Unit Volumes increased by 33 percent from 2011 to 2015 and by end of 2015, AUVs for traditional stores reached $600,000.

Updating logo, packaging, uniforms

As part of its rebranding, Cousins will update its logo, packaging and uniforms to better illustrate what the brand stands for, according to the announcement.

The new logo package consists of a series of marks, which allow more flexibility and feature the return of the brand’s original iconic logo of the two Cousins (Specht and Sheppard). Packaging concepts, which are still in development, will offer a minimalist and crisp design allowing for versatility in logo use and uniforms will take a more casual approach featuring an industrial, old school sub shop look.

“These changes are all part of our larger growth initiative,” said Justin McCoy, vice president of marketing at Cousins Subs, in a statement. “Each detail is a piece of the puzzle that leads to the larger picture of who Cousins Subs is and where we’re heading.”

In addition, all existing restaurants will be remodeled to unify the brand in look and feel. According to the company, Cousins has created a modern, inviting environment that reflects the heritage of the Milwaukee area.

Select Cousins Subs locations will also test the Project Henry make line, which allows customers to interact with staff and customize their subs.

According to the announcement, during the next year, Cousins will look to open corporate locations in the Chicagoland area, with opportunities for multi-unit franchisees to join in these areas.