Schlotzsky's has signed its largest franchise agreement in more than 40 years; the partnership calls for 170 Schlotzsky's locations throughout California, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino counties, according to a company press release.

Each of the new restaurants will feature a new, contemporary design and an upgraded service model in which crew members hand-deliver food to the tables. In addition, as part of a co-branding deal with Cinnabon and Carvel, the locations will include counters offering signature treats from the iconic dessert brands.

"The magnitude of this franchise agreement is a testament to the growing strength of our brand in the marketplace," said Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky's. "Between this agreement in California and multiple others we've signed in the past year alone, the momentum is incredible. On top of the obvious benefits the expansion is having on our brand, it's also creating job growth in communities around the country," noting that the new locations in Southern California will create nearly 7,000 jobs in the next five years.

In this newest deal, Moe Vazin is responsible for opening the 170 locations throughout the market. Prior to joining the Schlotzsky's family, Vazin experienced much success with his extensive management portfolio of supermarkets, manufacturing and distribution in the retail industry.

"Obviously, we look very carefully at brands before making a significant investment like this," Vazin said. "We had many reasons for choosing Schlotzsky's, but the key factors were its high-quality, fresh sandwiches, pizzas, salads and soups, the fact that we can offer Cinnabon and Carvel under the same roof, and an incredible management team that shares our vision of the brand in Southern California."

Roddy added that Vazin perfectly fits the profile for a Schlotzsky's multiunit franchisee.

"He's a top-notch operator, and we're confident he will not only uphold our brand standards and reputation, but knock it out of the park by making us the top fast casual destination in Southern California," he said.

This partnership comes on the heels of Schlotzsky's signing a multiunit franchise agreement in May 2012, with regional developers John Fehmer and Anastasia Rusakov to open 25 new Schlotzsky's locations throughout Orange County, Calif.

Schlotzsky's has more than 350 locations worldwide.

Schlotzsky's unveils New Orleans-inspired sandwiches

New Orleans, known for its jazz music, annual Mardi Gras celebration and creole cuisine, is the inspiration behind Schlotzsky's newest menu addition. From now until June 2, the chain is serving three new signature 'Muffalotza' Sandwiches — Smoked Turkey, Ham and Roast Beef.

"Although Mardi Gras has come and gone, we wanted to give customers a reason to celebrate for a few more months," said Roddy, who will be in New Orleans Oct. 13-15 to speak on the CEO Roundtable at the annual Fast Casual Executive Summit. "Not only can they enjoy our New Orleans-style sandwiches, which offer a variety of bold flavors, including our unique olive tapenade, but one lucky winner will get to visit one of the greatest cities in the country. We're excited about these sandwiches and looking forward to rewarding our guests through our Facebook sweepstakes."

The three new, signature sandwiches include the: Smoked Turkey Muffalotza, Ham Muffalotza and the Roast Beef Muffalotza

Schlotzsky's is using the new menu items to run its first Facebook sweepstakes. On a weekly basis, winners will be awarded Schlotzsky's gift cards. The weekly giveaways are in anticipation of the grand prize giveaway — a trip for two to New Orleans. The contest is accessible through Facebook, QR codes found on in-store promotional materials and

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