Committed to Franchising Excellence

By taking on a high profile role in battling childhood obesity, Subway is affirming its commitment to providing a healthier Quick Service Restaurant concept in over 70 markets worldwide, reports Franchise Sales Director Don Fertman

Although the Subway restaurant chain has grown to nearly 22,000 locations in 73 countries, the appeal of the business to new franchisees is the same today as it was 39 years ago when a then 17-year-old Fred Deluca co-founded the first Subway restaurant with family friend Dr. Peter Buck - a simple operation with great flexibility and minimal equipment requirements.

Subway sandwich shops do not have strict size requirements, so they can fit into unusual spaces. Along with traditional locations, Subway restaurants can be found in more than 4,000 non-traditional locations such as food courts, health clubs, hospitals, universities, amusement parks or just about anywhere. In fact, Subway restaurants can even be found in automobile showrooms and laundromats!

The Subway chain, which is determined to be ranked 'number one' in every market it serves, has set a goal of having at least 7,500 restaurants open and operating outside the North American continent by the year 2010, with Australia and Europe targeted as the largest areas for future network growth.

One major appeal to consumers is the fact that all food served at Subway restaurants are individually made to order right in front of each customer, to their exact specifications. Another tremendous appeal is that the Subway chain has a reputation of providing a healthier alternative to traditionally fatty fast foods.

With a menu that features great-tasting, made-to-order sandwiches and salads, many of which have six grams of fat or less, Subway restaurants have become extremely popular with health-conscious consumers around the world.

The "fresher/healthier" message has been reinforced by the chain through advertising featuring Jared Fogle, who lost 245 pounds, and Herman and Sherman Smith, twin brothers who lost 100 pounds each, by including Subway sandwiches in a diet and exercise programme of Fogle's own design.

Now president of the Subway chain, Fred DeLuca often travels the globe to visit Subway locations and was in Washington, D.C. recently to launch the Subway F.R.E.S.H. Steps Childhood Obesity Prevention initiative - a multi-layered national campaign to raise awareness and educate communities on the need to prevent and treat childhood obesity. The Subway F.R.E.S.H. Steps initiative empowers kids and adults to 'Feel Responsible, Energized, Satisfied and Happy' by seeking healthy choices in their menus and in their overall lifestyle.

"Subway cares about kids and their well-being, and we want children to lead long and healthy lives," said Deluca. "As an industry leader, we feel a responsibility to do our part to encourage healthy habits in children involving increased physical activity and nutritious food choices, both essential components in preventing childhood obesity."

The Subway F.R.E.S.H. Steps initiative includes the F.R.E.S.H. Steps Pledge and healthy lifestyle tips, which are available online at www.subway.com. The F.R.E.S.H. Steps Pledge is a tool to help kids and their families to commit to living healthier lives. By signing the F.R.E.S.H. Steps Pledge, kids and adults promise to be more active, eat a variety of good foods and be proactive in creating a healthy lifestyle.

"Kids who make balanced, healthy food choices and are physically active are at lower risk of being overweight and have improved overall health," says Lanette Kovachi, Corporate Dietician for the Subway chain. "The F.R.E.S.H. Steps program will provide the information children and parents need to make healthier choices."

An independent survey commissioned by the Subway restaurant chain probed the perceptions of more than 2,500 children ages five to 12 regarding wellness and healthy behaviours, and underscored the need for an outreach campaign like Subway F.R.E.S.H. Steps. Among the key findings: obesity is something that kids are generally not concerned about; while kids understand the importance of eating healthy, few actually do so; and parents can do a better job as role models for healthy behaviours.

The franchisees, who are the backbone of the Subway organisation and who have supported this effort, are benefiting from the increased public exposure gained through the F.R.E.S.H. Steps initiative.

To help its franchisees, the Subway chain has developed a well-structured franchise programme - one that keeps the investment/start-up costs low and the operation uncomplicated and efficient. Its mission is to provide the tools and knowledge to allow entrepreneurs to successfully compete in the QSR industry worldwide by consistently offering value to consumers by providing great tasting food that is good for them and made the way they like it.

The Subway restaurant chain is constantly looking for dedicated owner/operators who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, are motivated and ambitious and willing to make a long-term commitment to making a business succeed in their community.

Now with four regional offices outside the US, including its newly opened European Headquarters in Amsterdam, the Subway brand is poised for aggressive global expansion.

The Subway chain is proud of the fact that a high percentage of Subway franchisees become multi-unit owners. In fact, more than 70 per cent of new franchises sold are purchased by individuals already in the Subway system, which indicates not only a satisfaction with the franchise system but profitability as well.

Setting its sights at becoming the world's largest restaurant chain, the Subway franchise system is committed to excellence for its customers - in its restaurants, products, franchisees and business relationships.