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DENVER-The locally headquartered toasted sandwich chain Quiznos said on Tuesday it has been assisting franchisees in negotiating “blend-and-extend” deals with their lessors, thereby lowering their single biggest expense in an attempt to help them weather the down economy. A publicly held, 5,000-store national chain, Quiznos corporate says it has established three lease renegotiation teams and that the assistance is being provided at no cost to franchise owners.

Quiznos corporate says it already has renegotiated more than 40 leases thus far, with an average reduction in lease payments of between 15% and 20%. The leases being reworked include leases that are expired as well as those that have high rent given current property values.

One example it provided was Thomas Mihailovich, a franchise owner in Rochester Hills, MI, who was assisted by a third-party team in late February. The result was a 20% reduction in its rent, a savings of $50,000 over the life of the lease, which Mihailovich says helped him save more than $500 a month in rental expenses.

“Even a down economy can be an opportunity and the current market for retail rent is an example of that,” Quiznos founder Rick Schaden, once a franchisee, said in a prepared statement. “Through innovative and strategic techniques, we are working toward mitigating the impact of the economic situation and ensuring our franchise owners’ success. My primary goal as CEO is for franchise owners to say in one year from now they are better off than they are today.”

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