Then: According to our January 1999 "Buzz" column, brothers Jay and Shep Wainright had one hot food concept in their hands. With the upscaling of consumer taste buds, the brothers' Cosi Sandwich Bars were ringing up sales of $13 million with their high-quality gourmet sandwiches complemented by olive oil-basted, freshly baked flat-breads. With 12 Manhattan locations and one in Boston, Cosi was turning all food lovers on to the concept of the posh sandwich.
Now: In September, Cosi Sandwich Bar agreed to merge with Xando Inc., parent company of Xando Coffee and Bar, an upbeat coffeehouse and full liquor bar. Now titled Xando Cosi Inc., this New York City-based conglomerate projects sales of more than $50 million for 2000. The merger of the two concepts creates a casual sandwich/coffee bar by day that morphs into an energetic restaurant/social hub by night. The 22 Xandos and 18 Cosis will undergo the transformation, while Chicago is targeted for their next expansion location.