|Founded||St. Clair Shores, Michigan (1968)|
|Headquarters||Clinton Township, Michigan, United States|
|Michigan (primarily metropolitan Detroit)|
Number of employees
Tubby's is an American restaurant chain and franchise based in Clinton Township, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Founded in 1968 in nearby St. Clair Shores, the chain operates more than 70 stores throughout Michigan, primarily in the Detroit metropolitan area. The chain primarily serves submarine sandwiches and salads, along with soft drinks, french fries and soup, and is known for its grilled subs.
Tubby's was founded in 1968 in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Founder Richard Paganes, who was 21 at the time, had previously worked at another local sub shop called Super Sub Shop, and decided to open his own sub shop. The site of the first Tubby's was chosen after Paganes found himself stopped with a flat tire in front of a building that was for rent. By early 1968, the first Tubby's was opened. It sold twenty-five different varieties of sandwich, most grilled. He soon opened three more locations nearby, and eventually enlisted the help of his brother Robert. By 1977, the chain had grown to ten locations, and was incorporated as Tubby's Sub Shops, Inc. The first franchised location opened in Madison Heights, and several other locations began offering dine-in as well as carry-out; the Westland location was the first to feature a drive-thru window.
By 1986, with fifty locations at the time, the company had gone public. Shortly afterward, the chain acquired a local restaurant called Ricky's Dairy Bar and Luxury Grill. This concept was franchised as well. Tubby's merged with New Jersey-based Stuff Yer Face, Inc., and was renamed as Tubby's, Inc. Paganes then became chairman and CEO of Tubby's, Inc., although he was replaced one year later by Alexander Bardy as CEO.
1990s and 2000s
In 1994, Tubby's also started a concept called Tubby's Café Express, which operated inside five local Sears department stores, including the ones at Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn and Oakland Mall in Troy. They also proposed another prototype, drive-thru-only location, and opened locations on the campuses of Wayne State University in Detroit and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, as well as one located inside a Detroit hospital.
Later in 1994, however, Bardy was ousted and replaced with Paganes as CEO, and the Café Express concept was abandoned. Locations were also opened in Florida and Ohio, and the chain began opening locations inside gas stations as well. Their first location outside the United States opened in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1997, followed by outlets in Indiana and Missouri a year later.
After a failed merger with Florida-based Interfoods of America, Tubby's returned to private ownership in 1999. That same year, the chain expanded into Arizona as well. All of the locations outside Michigan were eventually shuttered, however, as the chain chose to focus more on the Detroit area, to compete with national chains such as Quiznos and Subway. A prototype store, the 100th in the chain, opened in Macomb Township in 2001. This was also the first location in the chain to serve pizza.
- Boyer, Ann Scholl (2000-12-23). "Fill 'er up at Tubby's". Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "For dessert, Tubby's buys Just Baked cupcakes". Crain's Detroit Business. July 31, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- "Tubby's, Inc". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- Walkup, Carolyn (1994-04-11). "Tubby's targets nontraditional sites". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "Tubby's, Inc. Chooses Phoenix Market as First Expansion West of the Mississippi - 25 Stores Planned Over the Next Five Years". PR Newswire. 1997-06-20. Retrieved 2008-08-22.