In a private party for franchise owners and key employees, Miami Subs chief executive Richard Chwatt announced a partnership with recording artist Pitbull that will see a major rebranding and expansion of the restaurant chain.
The Fort Lauderdale-based company, which formed in the 1980's, hit its stride in the 1990's with pink and blue neon-colored restaurants that featured an eclectic menu of chicken wings, pita sandwiches, burgers, gyros, and subs.
In fact, when Pitbull was just a pup named Armando Christian Perez, he looked forward to a visit to the North Miami Beach location, which he considered a treat. Later in his life, the young musician would hang out at the Miami Subs on Lincoln Road while waiting for his attorney, "writing music, coming up with new ideas, or just messing around with the employees."
Recently the restaurant hit upon rough times, with location counts
shrinking from several hundred around the country (there was a Miami
Subs at the foot of the World Trade Center) to 33 locations, mostly in
Miami-Dade and Broward counties, listed on their website.
announcement celebration, Chwatt showed renderings of an updated Miami
Subs store, which will be integrated with music. Menus will be updated
to include tostones, Cuban sandwiches, and new burger options in addition
to the already familiar wings and subs. Chwatt said the renovations
were already under way at most locations and the company was already
poised for the expansion. "First across Florida ... then across the
country ... then across the world."
Chwatt introduced Pitbull to
the group, admitting that when he first heard about Pitbull he wasn't
fond of the idea, "I lived in a co-op. They didn't allow pit bulls."
thanked the crowd and reiterated that he was here as a partner, not as a
spokesman or a pitch person. "Team Pitbull meets Team Miami Subs."
photo opportunities with a four-tiered cake from Ana Paz stating, "I am no longer an
artist, I'm a business partner. Daleeeeeee!" Short Order was able to pull
Pitbull aside. When we asked if he really was a true partner with Miami
Subs, the entertainer answered in the affirmative, "I'm a majority
equity holder. And I'm also involved in Latin America. We have an
option of first refusal regarding any opportunities in Latin America.
That's our territory. I'm going to be involved with nearly everything.
We're going to have a fusion of food and music. We're going to be
partners on the marketing side. Not pitching. Not marketing. Just
finding ways of telling people that these are two iconic Miami brands
and we're growing together."
When asked if he still ate at Miami
Subs (or, in particular, ever indulged in that bottle of champagne
that's always offered for sale at Miami Subs, the singer told us no, he
never ordered the champagne. "I did the ten wing platter. I did the
gyro. For now, I think we'll do the drive-thru, but just you wait.
You'll catch us in the restaurant."
"I want this partnership to
be motivational and inspirational. As much as you may think it sounds