US-based fast casual restaurant chain Potbelly has unveiled its new refranchising programme that aims to convert nearly 25% of its corporate locations during the next three years.

As a part of this initiative, the restaurant chain also signed a multi-unit deal for New York City.

The agreement will see the opening of 13 new shops over the next eight years and the refranchising of eight shops.

Potbelly noted that it has already transferred the ownership of the stores to United One Group (UOG).

The team at UOG has more than 75 years of combined experience in developing and operating fast casual concepts, quick service restaurants (QSR) and sandwich-specific brands.

UOG also has hospitality-focused businesses in the Manhattan region.

The restaurant chain is increasing its franchising initiative nationwide and aims to award development agreements to experienced multi-unit operators.

It has also set a 2,000 units target over the next ten years, with at least an 85% franchise system.

Potbelly CEO Bob Wright said: “Our Franchise Growth Acceleration Initiative pairs new shop development with a plan to refranchise an ample amount of corporate shops, creating enormous potential for multi-brand franchisees ready to grow with a distinguished concept like Potbelly.

“Forging partnerships with the right groups is essential to our growth and success. We’re a well-built brand with an experienced corporate team ready to support franchisees and cultivate the brand further together.”

Potbelly’s prioritisation of franchise growth also supports its “Traffic Driven” Profitability Strategic Plan, including Tech Stack rollouts and new menu items.