Exclusive Interview: "I went from a suit and tie corporate life to taking a more hands-on role."


Name: Tarsem (Taz) Sandhu

Location: Northampton

Franchise: The Subway® brand

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

I had been working for 15 years in corporate banking and private equity, with various roles at global banks at family offices, both here in the UK and Asia. I felt ready for a change and for a new challenge and wanted to do something different.

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

Running my own business was an attractive proposition, providing the opportunity to take more control over my own destiny. I had also recently got married and relocated, so it felt like the right time to make the move.

"Franchising is the perfect hybrid between starting a business from scratch and being an employee."

It offers all the benefits of running your own business, but with the added advantage of joining a well-known and trusted brand, with established infrastructure, support and controls.

I was particularly attracted to the food sector as my wife, who hopes to join the business further down the line, is a foodie. It’s also a sector where I believe there is still room for growth and is recession-proof; everyone enjoys eating out.

After extensive research, the Subway® brand emerged as our favourite; it’s a globally recognised brand, with a loyal customer base. The simplicity of operation also appealed to us and we liked that the product is healthier and can be tailored to each customer’s unique tastes. We spoke to a number of multi-unit owners and their feedback convinced us that a Subway® franchise was the right fit for us.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

From the very first meeting, the Subway® brand has been incredibly supportive. We have regular contact with our local Development Team, as well as receiving monthly visits to the store by a Field Consultant, who provides valuable advice. The franchisee community is also a valuable support system, with everyone helping each other out.

As with all new Subway® franchisees, Taz attended a two-week training course at the Subway® brand’s UK headquarters in Cambridge. This provided both classroom-based and in-store, hands-on experience. The Subway® brand provides ongoing support and guidance for franchisees, helping them to maximise the success of their stores.

What challenges have you faced?

Becoming a Subway® franchisee was a massive cultural change for me; I went from a suit and tie corporate life to taking a more hands-on, customer facing role in the stores, getting involved in everything from serving customers and prepping the store for opening, to HR, ordering and local store marketing. But a year on and I absolutely love it.

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

Firstly, and perhaps most important, it’s crucial to make sure franchising is the right fit and that you fully understand the benefits and constraints of a franchise.

"You then need to do you research to find out which franchise is the right one for you; it helps if you are passionate about the sector."

I also recommend talking to as many franchisees as possible to understand their experiences and get honest feedback on the brand. The Subway® franchisees I approached were all extremely receptive and provided valuable advice. If possible, go and work in a store; this provides a really helpful insight. Finally, be realistic about the financial investment and returns.

What are your plans for the future?

Our objective has always been to open multiple stores and become multi-unit franchisees and the Subway® franchise system is the ideal model to enable individuals like us to achieve our goals. Once the first store was established and we had gained some valuable experience, we started to look for a second site. The biggest test that we are ready for a second location was taking myself out of the store and seeing that it still ran like clockwork. The Subway® brand is incredibly supportive of our quest to grow our business.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely, I have no regrets about leaving the corporate world behind.

Learn more about franchise opportunities with Subway® here!

Interested and want to know more about Subway ?

The Subway profile outlines all aspects of their franchise opportunity and allows you to contact them for further information or to ask a question.

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