Can you name a town, a shopping mall, a main street in this country where you won't encounter that delicious smell of Subway fresh-baked bread? Subway is everywhere - not just in America - and even with a whopping 8,000 non-traditional units, the expansion of Subway shows no signs of abating.
QSR magazine recently spent time with the man behind the success of Subway, Don Fertman. Their chief development officer joined the franchise in 1981 when it only had 166 units. The incredible growth the franchise has experienced since then is almost impossible to quantify.
There are many interesting tidbits on Fertman's conversation that we feel are worth passing on:
At our annual convention, I ran into one man I sold a franchise to way back in the early ’80s. He purchased his franchise by selling his Corvette. Then he financed the opening of his store on a bunch of credit cards. Now, I wouldn’t recommend his route as a good one in terms of financing, but this was somebody who was determined and believed in the concept. He and his wife now have 18 Subway restaurants and are building two more.
When we saw how well franchising worked, we understood that our business model is predicated on owner-operators. People in the stores with their sleeves rolled up … making sandwiches one at a time, interacting with customers, and building the business in the community. That was our best avenue for growth.
Through the process of having company stores periodically, we’ve seen time and again that those stores never run as well as the franchised stores because the company-owned outlets don’t get the attention and hands-on benefit of an entrepreneur whose livelihood depends on that store.
Long story short - franchising works. It has worked for Subway and will worked for countless more brands in the coming years.