Business Franchise Australia



Subway stories: a global franchise business that makes the cut

Subway® franchisee Damian Culpeper and Subway sandwich artists

After a year of economic uncertainty, many corporate professionals are looking to start their career afresh in 2021, by investing in new opportunities adaptable to rapidly evolving consumer behaviours.

Owning a franchise business has long been a viable alternative to a start-up business, and for investors looking to fool-proof their future, choosing to align with a brand that can hold stronger in fiscal storms than others, is paramount.


Choosing the right path

Subway® Australia and New Zealand Country Director Geoff Cockerill explains that investing in a Food Service Management Company (FSMC) has been a smart decision for many to weather the pandemic as it provides both a career safety net and return on investment.

For Subway® franchisee Damian Culpeper, who chose to expand his investment in the Subway® brand in the past year with two new restaurants, he felt confident that regardless of the broader economic landscape, quick service restaurants would continue to grow.

“When I initially looked into owning a franchise business, I wanted to invest with a proven global system that was trusted by consumers and had a great product – Subway was a no brainer,” Mr Culpeper said.

“Before 2020, the brand was delivering exciting opportunities already with the brand refresh, launch of third-party delivery and the rollout of the Subway app and loyalty programme, which, in the end, was what helped us get through the lockdown periods when other cafes and businesses struggled.”

According to the App Annie’s 2019 State of Mobile Report[i], Australians’ use of food and drink apps was up 300% from 2016-2018, a figure which continued to experience next-level growth during lockdown periods, highlighting the new eager consumer that Country Director Geoff Cockerill says is here to stay.

“Subway has always been about the ultimate guest experience. Since the development of food delivery service apps, the brand has strived to remain at the forefront of answering consumer needs by creating our own with the Subway app that allows our guests the option to order online and skip-the-queue,” he explained.

“This ensures our franchisees can attract new guests and drive conversions by offering a steady stream of products not just in our physical restaurants, but through online user experience.”

With some consumers returning to shopping in-store, Mr Cockerill says the vast majority of consumers still opt for the easiest option, which serves as a solid leveraging platform to roll out new concepts.

“We are just launching new 24-hour pick-up windows in a Brisbane restaurant; a brand-first,” says Mr Cockerill. “Throughout lockdown periods, we saw an increase in late-night and early-morning orders and we knew locals were seeking more convenience.

“This was an opportunity to do something never done before and, following the expected success of the prototype, will allow for the instillation of the window in all of our restaurants across Australia, giving franchisees another boost in revenue and job creation.”


Investing in a partnership

Buying a franchise means entering into a formal agreement with your franchisor, and franchise agreements can dictate how a business is run including restrictions on operations, products sold and the suppliers used.

Damian Culpeper says full trust, transparency and support was what led to his decision to enter into business with Subway®.

“Before investing in a franchise I asked the hard-hitting questions about the brand’s overall commitment to individual support. I wanted to make sure that as a franchisee and shareholder, I was getting value for my money and was able to make the right choices for my own business,” says Culpeper.

“If I could give any advice to those looking to invest in a franchise business in the future, it would be to conduct research first and choose a franchise system that offers the resources needed to launch your business successfully, while providing a safety net for potential obstacles.

“A Subway franchise has been the investment of a lifetime for me, and their processes and professionalism is a testament to the success of the brand and my restaurants,” says Mr Culpeper.

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[i] App Annie. (2019). State of Mobile 2019.