Subway Jamaica Limited opened a fourth store in Portmore in late December, which franchise operator Donovan Walker says is the start of an expansion programme for the sandwich chain that includes the sale of new franchises.
Subway is looking to add as many as 24 more stores under the recruitment effort that kicks off this year, according to Walker. It would effectively grow the chain sevenfold to 28.
The Portmore store in Sovereign Village, Braeton Parkway, is the first in the Caribbean to replicate the ‘Fresh Forward’ concept that debuted in the United States last year and is now set for global roll-out.
Subway Jamaica’s other three stores all operate in Kingston, but it is planning to spread the chain to other parishes.
“Subway is excited about the future in Jamaica. In 2016, Subway appointed development agents for Jamaica with a mandate to open new Subway stores throughout Jamaica. Portmore is the first stop … ,” said Walker, who is the chairman of Subway Jamaica Limited as well as development agent in Jamaica for the US-based sandwich chain.
He declined to comment on the terms of his arrangement with Subway International as a development agent, saying it was confidential, but noted that he would be responsible both for recruiting operators and selling franchises on behalf of the American chain.
Subway Jamaica is planning to open more sandwich shops of its own, in addition to recruiting new franchisees, but Walker has not disclosed how many more outlets his own company plans to establish, nor their locations.
“The plans are to expand through further investments in stores owned by Subway Jamaica as well as stores to be opened in various locations by franchisees. We hope to give investors the opportunity to open new Subway locations throughout Jamaica in 2018 and beyond,” said Walker.
“We want to identify potential franchisees who have not only the access to capital, but have the right attitude and approach to be part of the Subway team.”
Asked the targeted number of stores, Walker initially said “as many as possible”, depending on the response from potential franchisees, but added that the market could accommodate another 24 shops.
He emphasised that each Subway franchise would be individually owned and operated by the franchisee, “who would make their own investment in the Subway store, in accordance with Subway’s operational guidelines and plans”, and would pay royalty directly to Subway International.
All new stores are expected to replicate the Fresh Forward design, he said, while noting there is no immediate requirement to convert the existing stores.
Walker declined to comment on his own investment in the Portmore operation but said that, in general, the global estimate to open a small Subway store ranges between US$100,000 and US$200,000, and between US$250,000 and US$400,000 for a large shop.