Subway's Journey to Becoming a Successful Franchise In India Subway began franchising in 1974 and today it is the world's largest sandwich restaurant chain.

By Punita Sabharwal

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Entrepreneur India

Back in 1965, when the first Subway restaurant came up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, its founders set a goal to add another 32 stores within 10 years. Initially, they were not very keen on franchising but realized that their business expansion plans were not meeting the target and hence they reconsidered. Subway began franchising in 1974 and today it is the world's largest sandwich restaurant chain. All the 44,892 restaurants globally, are independently operated by franchisees.

In India, the first Subway restaurant was set up in 2001 at Saket, New Delhi, by an Indian franchisee and today it has 590-plus franchise operated restaurants across 70 Indian cities. On its part, the company is all ears to inputs, suggestions and feedback from their franchisees incorporating those to improve services and products. Additionally, the brand provides them constant support through training and business mentorship.

Sharing more on its partners, Ranjit Talwar, Country Head, Subway India says, "The easy to follow structures and systems the company has developed over the years have made the brand accessible to entrepreneurial aspirants of varied backgrounds. Although, prior experience in the restaurant segment is not a pre-requisite to becoming a franchisee; attributes like leadership, management and operations experience in general, are preferred."

It's unique systems make it adaptable to markets and locations thus giving franchisees the flexibility to open and operate restaurants in any environment. Over the years, the Indian market has seen a change in both consumer expectations and regulatory requirements. Subway has been able to adapt to these changes rapidly and maintain both organic and samerestaurant sales growth.

When asked what systems and processes, Subway has in place to work with an underperforming location, Talwar says, "The process starts with estimating future performance of each location and tracking progress on a weekly basis. To bring up any location which is underperforming, we work closely with our franchisees in developing business plans and strategies that help scale-up sales and profitability."

Success Story
There are a number of SUBWAY® franchisees in India who began their journey with the brand starting off with a single restaurant and are multi-unit owners today. The brand's first franchisee for instance, continues to be closely associated with it even today.

(This article was first published in the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

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Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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