The sandwiches may be delicious, but the menu Cosi Inc. (COSI) offers at its 136 restaurants is increasingly irrelevant, either for price (the average ticket size is about $8.81), convenience, or both.
The company is about to book its fifth consecutive year of falling revenue. Even worse, Cosi is on the verge of booking its worst annual loss (in percentage terms) since 2004, when it posted a net loss of 16.6%. Last year’s loss is projected to roll in somewhere around 13.2%. Oh, and the company has never turned a full-year profit.
New CEO Stephen Edwards, who took over in June of last year (the fourth CEO since 2011, if that tells you anything) is admittedly a big step in the turnaround effort, though it may be too little, too late. His first priority is to shore up the company’s poor customer service.
But he’ll soon learn that a corporate culture is the most difficult of all things to turn around in the restaurant game … particularly when a certain restaurant has developed a reputation for poor service, as many Cosi stores have.