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Food and Beverage 2012-05-28

Leading QSR biz

By Feature Writer
Leading QSR biz

Easy to operate with large presence and a proven and successful model in India, Subway Systems India Pvt. Ltd offers a variety of great tasting nutritious food. In an interview, Manpreet Gulri, Subway Systems India Pvt. Ltd shares brand’s further expansion in India.

Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us on the origin and development of Subway.

Manpreet Gulri (MG):  The Connecticut - headquartered Subway Restaurants is a submarine sandwich shop concept which was started byFred Deluca. The brand’s first restaurant was launched in 1965 in Bridgeport, USA. Further, the first franchised Subway unit opened in 1974 in Wallingford, Connecticut. Today, in their 46th year of operation, Subway restaurants are the world’s largest submarine sandwich chain. Countless awards and accolades have been bestowed upon Fred DeLuca and the Subway chain. The franchise has come a long way from the modest sandwich shop in Bridgeport, CT. At present Subway has a well established international network with 35,769 units in 98 countries across the globe. The quick service restaurant began its operations in India via master franchising in 2001.

NB: Share with us the brand’s presence in India.

MG: The brand has been franchising in India since 2001. Currently, Subway has pan-India presence with its footprints in more than 50 cities through 263 franchisee-run restaurantsSubway has always franchised and we have no company-owned units in the country. Our 50 per cent of the partners are multi unit operators.

NB: What makes your brand promising? Have you customised the concept for Indian market?

MG: Ours is an international brand name with the highest number of outlets in the world. Its franchise opportunity requires relatively a low investment. Further, the Subway model is easy to operate besides we already have large presence and a proven and successful model in India. The brand’s restaurants offer a variety of great tasting, nutritious food choices. The global food brand has customised its menu and Subway restaurants in India serve no beef or pork products and they have an expanded selection of vegetarian choices.

NB:  The company has also targeted locations such as airports in India. How has been the experience there, business wise?

MG: We are currently present at all major airports in India, includingNew Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata. Sales are substantially higher at airport locations as they are concentrated areas for targeting our audiences/customers. As the options are limited, therefore, there are more customers at these locations. Subway store at airports locations is like any other location across the country. As far as franchising terms are concerned, for these locations, we look for a franchisee that already has some experience with Subway System. So we prefer an existing franchisee that has good standing with our brand and operating his existing outlets sufficiently satisfactorily. Also, as the air port locations are very high profile locations, our area develop managers are very careful to sign up the franchisees for these locations. We have been at airports for last seven to eight years now across the country and see tremendous potential in terms of increase in footfall.

NB: What kind of area and investment is required from the franchisee’s end to partner with you?

MG:  An investment of Rs25 to 45 lakh and area ranging from 250 sq. ft (food court) and 600 sq. ft (stand alone) is needed for opening a Subway store.

NB:  Where do you see your brand five years down the line?

MG: We are targeting to have 325 franchisees by December, 2012. Further, we plan to operate 1,000 outlets in India in the next five years. The planned openings will be through franchise route, which will need an investment of over Rs 300 crore. While the investment of Rs 300 crore required for establishing the planned number of stores will be made by franchisees, the company will invest in providing training and technical expertise to its partners. Subway is also aiming to grow its presence aggressively in tier-II and tier-III locations in the country. We anticipate that the planned expansion will generate employment opportunities for another 15,000 people.

NB: Could you share the overseas expansion plans of Subway Systems India Pvt. Ltd?

MG: We are also looking at entering into overseas markets of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka via franchising in the future.

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