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Nathan's To Convert Miami Subs To Co-Branded Concept <b></b>

Westbury, New Jersey-Nathan's Famous is running fullspeed ahead with conversion plans for its stalled Miami Subs Grillchain, which will give the 12-year-old quick-serve concept a newidentity and a strategically branded menu.

Resurfacing as Miami Subs Plus, much of the 145-unit sandwichchain is being modified to showcase signature selections fromco-branding partners Nathan's Famous, Kenny Rogers Roasters andArthur Treacher's Fish & Chips.

About 40 restaurants in the core south Florida market have beenconverted over the past three months to the Miami Subs Plus format,and another 50 are expected to be completed by the end of June,said Wayne Norbitz, president and COO of parent companyNathan's Famous Inc.

Nathan's Famous purchased the Miami Subs and Kenny RogersRoasters chains in 1999. At the time, Miami Subs growth hadfloundered, largely because of management instability, while KennyRogers was undergoing Chapter 11-bankruptcy reorganization. TheMiami Subs acquisition also gave Nathan's the exclusiveco-branding rights to fast-food seafood operator ArthurTreacher's.

The stepped-up conversion of Miami Subs is only one aspect ofthe 85-year-old Nathan's ongoing strategy to expand its brandsthrough multiple channels. The company is pursuing company andfranchised growth here and abroad; co-branding synergies within itsindividual restaurant systems; branded programs in nontraditionalor "captive" venues; and licensing agreements that willposition its signature products in supermarkets and clubstores.

The company has moved forward with the new Miami Subs Plusprototype. The centerpiece of the revamped concept is itsmultibrand menu, which features signature items from all fourconcepts. Selections from the other three brands includeNathan's hot dogs and French fries; Kenny Rogers' grilledchicken sandwiches and chicken platters; and Arthur Treacher'sfillet of fish, shrimp and clams. While a number of earlier MiamiSubs menu items have been removed, the Plus menu features chickenand gyro pita sandwiches; chicken wings; Philly cheesesteak andcold submarine sandwiches.

The new menu, drive-thru and preview boards feature the MiamiSubs Plus logo, while all items are highlighted with individualbrand logos. -Nation's Restaurant News

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