Subway is a well-known brand that has been providing delicious sandwiches to the world since 1965. The company has grown to 44,000+ locations across 100+ countries in the world, and their brand recognition is unmatched. If you're a business-minded person who wishes to own a Subway café, then you're in the right place. With the rise of quick-service restaurants, fast food chains, cafes, and coffee shops, the food industry has been growing at a rapid pace worldwide. According to Statista, the global quick-service restaurant market size is expected to reach USD 690.8 billion by 2025. In 2019, Subway ranked number three among the top quick-service restaurants globally, with a market value of about 15.4 billion US dollars. Currently, Subway has more than 24,000 locations in the USA alone, and the brand continues to grow and expand across the globe. Starting a Subway café franchise can be a lucrative investment if it's done correctly. In this article, we’ll take you through a checklist of the ten crucial steps to launch your Subway café and set it up for success. From conducting market research to training your staff, we’ve got you covered. So, let's dive in!

1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting thorough market research is essential for anyone looking to open a successful Subway cafe business. This step sets the foundation for all other steps and will provide valuable insights into the market, competition, and target audience. Here are the key considerations for conducting market research:

  • Define the target market: Identify the location, demographics, psychographics, and behaviors of potential customers. This information will inform decisions on menu items, marketing strategies, and store design.
  • Analyze competition: Identify key competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, their prices, and their menu offerings. This will help create a unique selling point for the Subway cafe and attract customers who might otherwise go to a competitor.
  • Assess demand: Determine the level of demand for a Subway cafe in a given market. This may involve analyzing population density, income levels, local events, and other factors that may affect foot traffic.
  • Set goals: Determine realistic goals for the business based on market research. This may include projected revenue, customer traffic, and market share.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gain deeper insights into the target audience.
  • Research the local regulations and requirements for starting a business in the desired location.
  • Use available data tools such as Google Analytics, government census data, and industry reports to supplement the research.

By conducting thorough market research, potential Subway cafe owners will be able to make informed decisions throughout the entire process of starting a business.

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2. Develop A Business Plan

Developing a comprehensive business plan is crucial to the success of any business venture. The business plan serves as a roadmap that outlines the goals, strategies, and steps necessary to achieve those goals. Here are some key chapters that should be included in a Subway Cafe business plan:

  • Executive Summary: This section provides an overview of the business, including a mission statement, business description, target market, and financial projections.
  • Market Analysis: This section should identify the Subway Cafe's target market and analyze the competition, as well as outlining the marketing plan and strategies to increase the business's foothold in the market.
  • Products and Services: This section should outline the menu, prices, and variety of products and services that the Subway Cafe will offer.
  • Financial Plan: Develop a thorough financial plan that includes a cash flow forecast, profit and loss statement, and balance sheet projections to identify the amount of capital required to launch the business and keep it running until it becomes profitable.
  • Operations Plan: Outline the location of the Subway Cafe and any necessary licensing or permits. Detail the equipment and technology required to run the business and outline the staffing and employment needs.

Tips & Tricks to Consider in this Chapter:

  • Be as specific as possible in your market analysis and target customer profiles.
  • Be honest and realistic about financial projections. Enlist the help of an accountant or financial advisor if needed.
  • Consider integrating sustainability and environmental responsibility into your business plan to distinguish your Subway Cafe from the competition.

3. Plan Financial Model And Funding

Opening a Subway Cafe Business requires significant planning and investment. Many entrepreneurs start by creating a solid financial model to project revenue and expenses, and then seek funding to get their business off the ground. Here are some key steps to consider when planning your financial model and funding strategy.

  • 1. Determine your startup costs: Before you launch your Subway Cafe Business, you need to know how much money you’ll need to get started. Consider expenses such as rent, inventory, equipment, licenses, permits, legal fees, and marketing.
  • 2. Project your revenue and expenses: Create a detailed financial model to forecast your revenue and expenses. Your model should include projected sales, cost of goods sold, variable and fixed expenses, and profit margins.
  • 3. Decide what funding sources you will pursue: You may need to look beyond your own savings to finance your Subway Cafe Business. Common funding sources include loans, investors, grants, and crowdfunding.
  • 4. Develop a business plan: Your business plan should outline your goals, strategies, and financial projections. This document will be essential when seeking funding.
  • 5. Research potential lenders and investors: Do your homework to find lenders and investors who are a good fit for your Subway Cafe Business. Be prepared to present your business plan and financial model.
  • 6. Consider alternative funding options: Alternative funding options, such as microloans, credit cards, and personal loans, can be a good option for entrepreneurs who need smaller amounts of financing.
  • 7. Be clear about your financial needs: When seeking funding, be clear about how much money you need and what you plan to use it for.
  • 8. Be prepared to negotiate: If you're seeking funding from investors or lenders, be prepared to negotiate favorable terms and understand what you can and cannot compromise on.
  • 9. Consider using business tools: There are a variety of tools and resources available that can help you plan your financial model and track your finances. Consider using accounting software, budgeting templates, and other business tools to stay organized.
  • 10. Maintain good financial records: Keep accurate financial records to stay on top of your Subway Cafe Business's financial performance. This will be crucial when seeking future funding or making financial decisions.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Research and understand the terms and conditions of different funding options before deciding on one.
  • Be prepared to provide detailed financial projections and explain how you will generate revenue and profit.
  • Consider seeking the expertise of a financial advisor or accountant to help you create a solid financial plan.

Starting a Subway Cafe Business requires careful planning and smart financial decisions. By creating a solid financial model and seeking the right funding sources, you can set yourself up for success and ensure your business thrives in the long-term.

4. Implement Operational And Marketing Strategies

Implementing operational and marketing strategies is crucial to the success of any business, including a Subway cafe. Here are some essential strategies to consider:

  • Develop a Business Plan: Start by creating a comprehensive business plan that includes your objectives, financial projections, target market, and marketing plan.
  • Hire the Right Team: It's important to hire staff who are experienced, committed, and passionate about providing excellent customer service.
  • Select a Location: Choose a location for your Subway cafe that is easily accessible and visible to your target market.
  • Establish Standard Operating Procedures: Develop standard operating procedures to ensure that your Subway cafe runs efficiently, and all staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Create a Marketing Plan: Develop a marketing plan that includes social media, traditional advertising, and promotional strategies to increase brand awareness and drive sales.
  • Provide Exceptional Customer Service: Train your staff to provide top-notch customer service to create a positive experience for customers, encouraging them to return and spread the word about your business.
  • Implement Inventory Management Systems: Implement an inventory management system to ensure that you always have the necessary supplies on hand and avoid stockouts.
  • Utilize Technology: Utilize the latest technology to streamline your operations, enable seamless digital payments, and offer special promotions to customers.
  • Monitor Finances: Regularly monitor your financials and adjust your strategies accordingly to ensure that you're operating within your budget and maximizing profits.
  • Measure Success: Track your performance by analyzing sales data, customer feedback, and other key performance indicators to identify areas of improvement and refine your strategies.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Train your staff to up-sell your higher priced items to increase sales revenue.
  • Invest in eco-friendly packaging to appeal to environmentally-conscious customers.
  • Offer loyalty programs and discounts to encourage repeat business.

By implementing these operational and marketing strategies, you can increase your chances of launching a successful Subway cafe business. Remember to stay adaptable and willing to adjust your strategies to meet changing market conditions and customer preferences.

5. Get Necessary Permits And Licenses

Before opening your Subway Cafe business, you need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally. Depending on your location, there may be state and local regulations regarding food service and your specific business structure.

Here is a list of the permits and licenses you may need:

  • Business License: An official document that registers your business and lets you conduct your operations in a legal manner.
  • Food Service Permit: A permit that confirms that your Subway Cafe business is complying with the food safety regulations set by your local health department.
  • Incorporation Documents: A document that legalizes the formation of your business as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): A unique number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that identifies your business for tax purposes.
  • Seller's Permit: A permit that allows your business to sell items and collect sales tax from customers.

It's vital to obtain the necessary permits and licenses before opening your Subway Cafe business to avoid fines, penalties, and even a shutdown. Contact your state and local government offices for all the permits and licenses required for your business.

Tips & Tricks

  • Research all the permits and licenses required for your business before starting the application process.
  • Be prepared to pay the required fees for the permits and licenses.
  • It's recommended to hire an attorney or a business consultant to help you navigate through the legal process and ensure you have all the necessary documentation.

6. Search For Suitable Location

Now that you have your Subway Cafe business plan in place, the next step is to find a suitable location for your cafe. The location of your business will determine its success. You want a location that is easily accessible, visible to your target market, and has ample parking. Here are the steps to follow when searching for a suitable location:

  • Research the area: Look at areas with high foot traffic. You want to be in an area where people are constantly passing by and need a quick bite to eat. Target commercial areas, residential areas, and tourist spots.
  • Consider the competition: Look at the cafes and restaurants in the area. Is there already a Subway or other sandwich shops in the vicinity? How can you differentiate yourself?
  • Check the zoning regulations: Every area has zoning regulations that regulate the type of business that can operate in that area. Before signing a lease, make sure your business type is allowed in that space.
  • Consider the size of the space: Look for a space that will allow you to maximize your seating capacity while still allowing for efficient movement of customers and staff. Consider the size of the kitchen, storage space, and restroom facilities.
  • Check for accessibility: Make sure the location is accessible by all modes of transportation, including cars, public transportation, and foot traffic. Also, check for handicapped accessibility.
  • Consider the lease: Before signing any lease, make sure to read and understand the terms. Consider factors like rent, lease length, and responsibilities for maintenance and repairs.

Tips & Trics:

  • Look for locations that have high visibility, such as on a busy street or corner.
  • Check for nearby anchor stores, like supermarkets or department stores, that will bring in foot traffic.
  • Consider renting a space for a short period before committing to a long-term lease to gauge customer traffic and sales.

Choosing the right location is crucial for any business, but especially for a Subway Cafe. With these steps and tips, you should be able to find a location that will guarantee success for your cafe. Good luck!

7. Design Shop Interior

Designing the interior of your Subway cafe is crucial in creating a welcoming environment and attracting customers. Make sure to consider these key factors:

  • Brand Identity: Your shop’s interior should align with the Subway brand. This means using Subway’s signature green and yellow color scheme, as well as incorporating a fresh, healthy vibe.
  • Layout: Consider the flow of traffic and how customers will move through your shop, as well as how your staff will work efficiently. Make sure to have designated seating areas and restroom facilities.
  • Lighting: The lighting in your shop can make or break the ambiance. Soft lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere, while harsh lighting can be uninviting. Use LED lights for energy efficiency.
  • Furniture: Choose comfortable and durable furniture that fits within your brand aesthetic. Consider investing in outdoor furniture for an extra seating area that can bring in extra revenue during nice weather.
  • Signage: Effective signage can help with direct traffic flow, menu visibility, and promoting specials. Consider installing digital menu boards that can easily be updated.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Use flexible seating arrangements, such as a combination of tables and chairs, booths, and stools, to accommodate groups of different sizes.
  • Designate a “community board” where customers can display flyers and posters for local events or share community information.
  • Invest in eco-friendly initiatives, such as biodegradable packaging, to reflect the health-conscious nature of the Subway brand and appeal to younger demographics.

Designing the interior of your Subway cafe may seem daunting, but with careful consideration and planning, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Remember to stay true to the Subway brand and create a welcoming environment that will keep customers coming back for more.

8. Secure Furniture, Equipment And Supplies

Once you have secured the location, the next step is to make sure that your cafe is equipped with all the necessary furniture, equipment and supplies. This is an important step that must be taken seriously to ensure that your customers have a great experience at your Subway Cafe.

Tips & Trics

  • Do your research and buy good quality furniture and equipment that is built to last.
  • Always have backup equipment on hand in case something breaks down.
  • Keep track of inventory and re-order supplies in a timely manner to avoid running out.

The following are some important items that you will need to acquire:

  • Tables and chairs that are comfortable and match the theme of your Subway Cafe.
  • Refrigerators, freezers, and warming ovens to keep food and drinks fresh and at the right temperature.
  • A coffee machine and other necessary kitchen equipment.
  • Cleaning supplies and equipment for regular cleaning and maintenance of the cafe.
  • Paper goods such as napkins, cups, and utensils.
  • Point of Sale system to process transactions and manage sales.

Once you have acquired all the necessary furniture, equipment, and supplies, the next step is to properly secure them. This includes installing security cameras and alarms to prevent theft and ensuring that the furniture and equipment are properly anchored to the floor or wall to avoid accidents.

When it comes to securing your supplies, it is important to properly store and label them. This will help you keep track of inventory and prevent spoilage. For example, you can use a labeling system to track the expiration dates of your food items and make sure to rotate them accordingly.

In conclusion, securing the furniture, equipment, and supplies of your Subway Cafe is an important step in ensuring the success of your business. By investing the time and effort into properly sourcing, maintaining, and securing your equipment and inventory will pay off in the long run.

9. Advertise And Promote

To make your Subway cafe business a success, you need to create a marketing plan that targets your ideal customers. Advertising and promoting your business is important to attract customers, build a brand, and increase sales. Follow these steps to advertise and promote your Subway cafe business:

  • Create a Website: Build a responsive and user-friendly website to showcase your Subway cafe business’s products, services, and contact information.
  • Social Media Marketing: Connect with your customers through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Share engaging content, updates, and offers to keep them interested and drive traffic to your website.
  • Local Ads: Advertise your Subway cafe business in local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations. Use catchy slogans, images, and promotional offers to attract new customers.
  • Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with influencers in your niche to promote your Subway cafe business. Seek out local food bloggers, food critics, and Yelp reviewers to endorse your brand and generate social media buzz.
  • Email Marketing: Collect email addresses from your customers and use them to send newsletters, promotional offers, and updates. Personalize your emails and craft irresistible subject lines to encourage your customers to open them.
  • Promotional Items: Create branded items to distribute, including pens, keychains, or reusable coffee cups to promote your Subway cafe business. These items can encourage brand loyalty and repeat business.
  • Participate in Local Events: Attend local events, local festivals, and health fairs to promote your Subway cafe business. You can provide free samples, offer discounts or coupons, and engage with potential customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website and content for search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to rank higher in search results. Use relevant keywords in your content, meta tags, and descriptions to attract more traffic.
  • Viral Content: Create videos, images, and content that are shareable and go viral to attract more attention to your Subway cafe business. These types of content can help you build a strong brand and attract more customers.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Focus on Local SEO: Local SEO is critical for your Subway cafe business. Claim your business on Google My Business, use location-based keywords in your content, and optimize your website for mobile users.
  • Create a Referral Program: Encourage your customers to refer their friends and family to your Subway cafe business. Offer them a free coffee or pastry as a reward for their referral.
  • Attend Trade Shows: Attend local and national trade shows to discover the latest trends in the food and beverage industry, meet other Subway cafe business owners, and learn best practices for marketing and promotion.

By following these steps and tips, you can successfully advertise and promote your Subway cafe business, helping you reach your target audience and grow sales.

10. Train Staff

One of the most important aspects of running a successful Subway cafe business is training your staff properly. Your employees are the face of your brand and they will be the ones interacting with your customers on a daily basis. A well-trained staff can make all the difference between a mediocre cafe and a thriving one. Here are the steps you should take to train your staff:

  • Create a training manual: Develop a comprehensive training manual that outlines your cafe’s policies, procedures, and standards. This will ensure that your staff is all on the same page and knows what is expected of them. Make sure to cover topics such as customer service, food preparation, food safety, and cash handling.
  • Provide hands-on training: Don't just rely on your training manual. Provide hands-on training to your staff so they can see exactly how to do things. This will help them learn and retain information better. Make sure to have an experienced trainer to oversee this training process.
  • Have regular training sessions: Training is an ongoing process. Have regular training sessions to keep your staff up-to-date on any changes to policies or procedures, new products, and any other information they need to know. This will help keep them motivated and improve their performance.
  • Encourage feedback: Encourage your staff to provide feedback on the training process and any areas where they think they need more training. This will help you identify areas where you can improve your training program and ensure your staff is confident and competent in their roles.
  • Provide incentives: Recognize and reward your staff for their hard work and achievements. This will motivate them to continue performing at their best and help build a positive work culture.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make your training fun and interactive to help keep your staff engaged.
  • Provide ongoing support to your staff, such as online training materials, to help them continue learning and growing in their roles.
  • Provide opportunities for advancement and growth within your business to help retain valuable employees.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your staff is trained properly and prepared to provide excellent service to your customers. Remember, your staff is your greatest asset, so invest in them and your cafe will thrive.

In conclusion, opening a Subway café franchise is an excellent investment opportunity for anyone interested in the food industry. Ensuring you follow a well-planned checklist can make all the difference in making your café a success. From conducting thorough market research to training your staff, each step is crucial for building a reputable brand and maximizing your profits. Remember that the global quick-service restaurant market size is expected to reach a whopping USD 690.8 billion by 2025, and Subway already holds a market value of about 15.4 billion US dollars. So, if you're ready to start your Subway café journey, be sure to follow these ten critical steps: develop a business plan, plan your financial model and funding strategy, implement effective operational and marketing strategies, get necessary permits and licenses, search for a suitable location, design your shop interior, secure your furniture, equipment, and supplies, advertise and promote your brand, and lastly, train your staff. By following these ten steps closely, you'll be one step closer to opening your Subway café and achieving your entrepreneurial dreams.

Excel financial model

Subway Cafe Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support