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Exclusive Interview with Subway Franchisee Dan Jensen

An Australian Franchisee Case Study


Name: Dan Jensen
Location: QLD/NT
Franchise: Subway
Date joining the franchise: October 2004

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?

I’ve been a Franchisee for 13 years now and I feel incredibly privileged to love what I do. Prior to doing this I was working part-time at Subway as a Sandwich Artist for 18 months, while I also did some landscaping on the side.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose your franchise?

Working as a Sandwich Artist for Subway was a great introduction to the company – I really enjoyed the strong company culture, and realised it presented fantastic opportunities for career growth, thanks to training opportunities and support from both the local and national Subway team. Although I explored other franchises to ensure due diligence, nothing measured up to Subway in my eyes.

How did you raise the finance?

Along with savings from my part-time role at Subway and landscaping, my family provided support so I could purchase my first store on the Southside of Brisbane.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

There’s a lot to be said for working at your chosen franchise before you become the Franchisee. I learnt the basic skills and day-to-day operations in my part-time role – it was a fantastic insight in to how the business worked. So when I made the leap to Franchisee, I already felt I knew the business, and of course Subway was extremely supportive and equipped me with the additional skills I needed to run the business.

Subway runs a Franchisee mentor program and have dedicated business consultants that visit the store regularly that provide guidance on local store marketing initiatives, compliance, food safety and community engagement opportunities. While it was a steep learning curve, Subway was with me every step of the way.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?

There is no typical day as a Franchisee and there’s always room to grow as a business owner which is why I enjoy my work so much.

I am always doing something new and exciting, whether it’s engaging with our guests and my team, liaising with suppliers, or promoting new flavour combinations. I started out with a team of eight staff when I bought my first Subway franchise in 2002 and now 15 years later, I have 240 employees I manage across my 16 stores.

In my role as a Development Agent I now work closely with fellow Franchisees to grow each of their local businesses and develop opportunities for the Subway brand.

Some highlights along the way include being awarded Subway Australian Franchisee of the year in 2012, and building my first drive-thru store at Brisbane South Side in 2015 – a first for the Subway business here in Australia. I’ve always had an appetite for improving my stores, and this drive has seen me become a Development Agent and a very successful Franchisee.

What challenges have you faced?

It’s been a challenge getting to know and having to juggle all the different facets of business. I started as a part-time Sandwich Artist which was mainly guest facing, while as a Franchisee I was coordinating local store marketing, ensuring we adhered to strict regulations and managing profit margins and cash flow. As my portfolio of stores grew I took on more responsibilities, finally becoming a Development Agent that oversees 331 stores across Queensland and The Northern Territory.

When I was getting started as a Franchisee it was very helpful to have a dedicated mentor to assist me develop as a small business owner. I’m still learning new skills every day in my current role as a Development Agent.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?

Becoming a Franchisee not only allowed me to challenge myself and learn so much about being a small business owner, grow my team and provide them with fantastic career opportunities, but also provide for my family. My whole family is involved in the business so we have plenty of quality time together even though we work hard!

Working with Subway has also afforded me to travel all over the world, including destinations such as Dubai, New York and California. Recently I’ve been fortunate to work with fellow Franchisees from all over the world, and the global HQ team in Milford, Connecticut to develop and help implement the new Subway brand identity here in Australia.

This includes transforming 1400 stores across Australia and New Zealand to our new look in 2018. The brand transformation won’t be limited to store fit out either, but will include a range of new menu items to cater for different tastes and guest wants. It’s such an exciting time to be a part of Subway.

The transformation has already started – my team already have new snazzy uniforms, we have eliminated plastic bags and replaced them with more environmentally friendly paper packaging with new branding, and we are seeing new menu items that are not only delicious but feature locally sourced produce.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?

Do your homework and look to work with a company that has stood the test of time. This will mean they have in place proven systems and have a strong sustainable plan for the future.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?

The key ingredients for becoming a successful Franchisee is passion, determination, and desire. You really must believe in the company you’re buying into and have the determination to stick with your business and team through the ups and downs.

What are your plans for the future?

My goal is to continue to run successful Subway stores and lead and inspire the Managers and Sandwich Artists that I am lucky enough to call my team.

Would you do it again?

I have no regrets choosing to become a Franchisee with Subway. If I had a 100 lifetimes, I’d choose Subway and my role as a Franchisee every time.

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