Last week Subway announced their launch of a new initiative, called Redefining Entrepreneurialism, that seeks to support the growth of franchise owners and calls on the government to put in place measures to protect and support small business owners.
As part of the new initiative, Subway has announced its plans to create an additional 5,000 jobs across Ireland and the UK by 2020. We spoke to Katie Flannery, a Subway franchisee based in Cork and graduate of Food Business in UCC, about her experience with the brand.
FFT.ie: What attracted you to work with Subway?
Katie Flannery: Franchises had always been an interest of mine. After a lot of research into franchises, I felt Subway suited me as a person. I have always been very health conscious and the Subway brand was all about promoting healthy eating and eating fresh.
What are the benefits of opening a franchise?
There are a number of benefits: ongoing support from the head office, brand recognition, a proven business model, training, management and work practices. A franchise offers a structured work environment and they provide the training you need to operate their business model.
What advice would you give someone who was considering opening a franchise?
Do your research and go for it. Subway has been the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my life. I was fresh out of college; I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into but the support you receive is outstanding. I was never alone through the whole process.
People might argue that chains and franchises make it harder for smaller businesses - how do you feel about that?
From our perspective, every franchisee is a small business owner. We independently own each of our stores. In that way, I do understand where they are coming from. For me as a franchisee, my goal is to work to the best of my ability and have a successful store.
How many people do you currently employ and how is it different for them to work for a franchise?
I currently employ eight staff members; it is different for them to work for a franchise because there are a number of global practices they need to follow. Again, working for a franchise offers structure in the workplace. Staff must complete online training from the University of Subway and in-store training before starting. The owners receive monthly evaluations to ensure their store and staff are working to the best of their ability.
The subway franchise offers rally training days, which help motivate the team, as well as a number of incentive schemes. The online University of Subway training is extremely valuable for the staff as it covers a number of aspects of the job, including food safety and customer service.
What skills have you acquired working with Subway?
I have acquired a number of skills working with Subway – communications, customer service, problem solving, working under pressure, teamwork and management skills. Being recently out of college, I had little to no experience with running a business or managing staff, but a franchise offers you the tools to do so. I have matured and grown as a person through this process. Soon I will be four years working as a Subway franchisee, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I can honestly say I love my job.
What do you think of current plans to expand the Subway franchise?
I think it is excellent; it will create a number of opportunities for entrepreneurs and jobs for prospective employees.