The fact that these companies are expanding fast is a double-edged sword. On the one hand there are good opportunities to take on multiple franchises and hopefully make a good profit. But on the other it’s a hard market to enter when the public might not be familiar with the product.
This isn’t a risk as such but you should be aware of it before going into the franchise. Not everyone is suited to or wants the challenge of being at the front end of the franchise’s history. In five years, for example, the chains will be much better known and you will face the different task of living up to public expectation of the brand.
That isn’t to say you won’t be living up to the expectations of the franchisor in the meantime. Again checks on the business will be particularly keen in the early stages – you will have to make sure you are ready for close scrutiny.
It might sound rather obvious but the most important part of selling sandwiches is being a salesman. Cheese, tuna, ham and chicken are enduring favourites but if you don’t reinvent them and mix them with more exotic fillings people will get bored.
Attracting people with offers is another way of keeping people interested. Buy a sandwich and a drink and get a free cake or packet of crisps, for example. Or chose themes say for big sporting events or national celebrations. There is no point in making sandwiches that are not selling so give people an extra incentive to chose your store.
With these not being well known franchises – and the moment – you could have a slow start to business. Backing up your shop with an additional service such as outside catering for offices can provide a profitable source of revenue. If office workers who come into the shop like your sandwiches they can pick up a leaflet and recommend your catering in their company.
Things like outside catering may not be currently part of the franchisor’s service. But it wasn’t part of O’Brien’s in the UK until Rob Shields set up a successful operation. The point is rather clichéd but make sure you speak to the franchisor as well as listen. You are there on the ground and making suggestions could help the franchise develop to suit you better.
Subway suggests that all franchisees make some kind of five-year plan, for example to own three stores in the next five years. This is probably something any franchisor will work on you with but have some kind of plan of your own as well to drive you – if you can match it or beat it this will be a natural boost.
Finally carefully research needs of the area you set up the business. Again this may sound obvious but there is no point in remaining open when you aren’t going to get enough customers to make it worthwhile paying the electricity bills.
Your franchisor may have to approve the location but you know your local area best – what are the surrounding business and therefore what kind of footfall you can expect, especially at lunchtime. Only opening when a shopping centre opens to the public, for example, might miss on out on early trade from the workers there.
The point is to be adaptable and responsive to your clientele and location. With all aspects of the business the customer will stick with you so long as you assume he or she is always right.