The world’s largest submarine sandwich chain, Subway officially opened its first store in Sri Lanka yesterday and announced they would provide the opportunity for local entrepreneurs to open outlets under the franchise to rapidly grow its chain of stores throughout the country.
The franchise-owner and the Chairman Subway Development (Private) Limited, Nathan Wills called on interested parties to register themselves with Subway.com.
“Certainly we are looking for local entrepreneurs to develop the brand with us,” Wills said.
Established in 1965 in Milford, Connecticut, Subway has now grown to 42,000 stores, operating through entrepreneurs in 107 countries, and none owned by its co-founders Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck.
Meanwhile Wills said he doesn’t want to open up for entrepreneurs in a rush but said he needs time to taste the local market for at least 12-months to develop the brand in Sri Lanka.
Subway was invited to Sri Lanka by the Australia-based financially diversified holding company Ataraxia Capital Partners (Ataraxia) who made in-roads to Sri Lanka in 2009 and later set up an asset management firm, Arpico Ataraxia Asset Management in 2011, as a joint venture with Richard Pieris & Company PLC.
According to Ataraxia’s Partner/ Head of Investments, Sharad Sri, the selected local entrepreneurs will be sent to India on a two-weeks training program.
Starting 10 years ago, India now has over 450 Subway stores growing at two stores a week.
Explaining the benefits of partnering with Subway, he said, those entrepreneurs would also have easy access to finance, due to Subway’s potential.
“If you go to the bank with Subway behind and say that you have been selected as a Subway franchisee, they (banks) will also know how the system works and it makes easier for you to borrow,” Sri said.
Subway is the world’s leading fast food quick service restaurant operator in the world.
Furthermore, Ataraxia is planning to invest between Rs.100 to Rs.150 million during the next 12-months to expand its network to at least five, Sri said.
Post-war Sri Lanka has been an attractive market place for global high-end fast food restaurants particularly due to its growing middle and uppermiddle income class.
A luxury Italian restaurant chain SOHO is also tipped to open a shop in Colombo next month.
While fast dining is picking up among the growing urban sector, dining in a relaxed environment is also increasingly sought after by the busy city dweller. (DK)
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