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#MyDowntownRochMN featuring Potbelly Sandwich Shop

In Danae Gaio’s #MyDowntownRochMN interview she talked about how she loves going to Potbelly Sandwich Shop for a quick bite to eat with her daughter, Jayme, because of how close it is from her work. I chatted with Kirk, the General Manager of Potbelly Downtown, to find out more about their business.

Samantha: Hi Kirk, can you start off by telling us what your role is with Potbelly?

Kirk: Absolutely! I’m the General Manager of Potbelly and Kim, my wife, helps with all things behind the scenes—running payroll and doing the accounting stuff.

Samantha: I’m sure you’ve both got a lot going on day-to-day, but what does a typical day look like?

Kirk: I normally get into the shop between 3-4am each day to begin prepping for catering and delivery orders. The cookies are freshly baked every morning, so I get that started too! It’s seriously amazing how much work goes into getting the shop ready for business each morning. Because I start so early, I normally work through the lunch rush and then get home around 3pm.

Samantha: Wow, those are some early mornings…I don’t think I could do it. What made you decide to open Potbelly, and specifically, in Downtown?

Kirk: We really enjoy how centrally located it is. The whole reason we opened Potbelly Downtown was to be a part of the community. We enjoy the opportunity to do fundraisers on a regular basis and the community involvement this gives us. We love all the relationships with our regulars!

Samantha: With all your regulars, I’m sure there’s a menu favorite…mind sharing?

Kirk: Definitely, ‘The Wreck’ (Salami, Turkey, Roast Beef and Ham with Swiss Cheese and any topping the customer wants) is the current favorite! The staff is also always trying new combinations of sandwiches; even our kids try making their own! For a while, my son’s favorite sandwich was grilled chicken, marinara, and provolone cheese – a chicken parmesan sandwich.

Samantha: Yum! Do you ever get any weird orders?

Kirk: Yes, one person ordered a chocolate spinach bacon shake. Plus, people also might be surprised to know we have an underground menu! The most popular sandwiches on that are the Buffalo Chicken, Wrecking Ball, Sicilian, and The Clubby.

Samantha: Oooo, valuable info to know! What do you think is something that would surprise most people about your industry?

Kirk: One of the things we had to do prior to owning the franchise was go and work in a shop in Chicago for 6 10-hour days. We did this to learn what a typical schedule is like for the owner/general manager. I don’t think people realize how many hours a day are put into managing a well-run shop. I typically work 60-70 hours a week and Kim spends about 10 hours a week on all of the other stuff – accounting, payroll, follow ups, etc. Also, our décor is very important to us. When we were in the planning process for this shop, Kim was flying through Boston Logan airport and stopped in the Potbelly there. She immediately noticed their wallpaper and let our designer know that she wanted that.

Samantha: The wallpaper is beautiful and makes a great background for photos. Thanks for talking with me  about Potbelly and all you do!

Want more #MyDowntownRochMN stories? Check out the links below. 

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Disclaimer: the views, comments, and opinions located within this blog are those of the community individual, not those of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA).