Are you joining the food service industry by starting a sandwich franchise unit? If so, you’ll need to create a business plan. These documents are often long and complicated, and there are several extra factors you should consider if you’re launching a sandwich shop. Here’s our dedicated guide to writing a business plan for a sandwich franchise unit.
Before we get into the business plan tips, let’s pause to take a closer look at the industry as a whole. Brits get through more than 11 billion sandwiches every year - and over 3.5 billion come from shops and cafes.
Individually, we consume around 18,300 sandwiches in our lifetime, at a cost of over £48,300 (Heinz). But when we buy them over the counter, we tend to part with around £2.07, so the industry benefits from £7.8 billion throughout the year. It’s clear Brits love sandwiches, and joining the sector could be a wise move.
How to write a business plan for a sandwich franchise
Here are eight top tips for crafting a sandwich franchise unit business plan:
Whether you choose a franchise with a wide product range or develop a diverse offering in line with your franchisor’s operational model, you must be able to satisfy many consumers. There are several factors to consider here.
Firstly, you may want to sell both hot and cold sandwiches, particularly during the colder months. Secondly, you should aim to cater to common diets and lifestyle choices, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, for example. And unless you’re part of a healthy sandwich franchise, you could try to include indulgent options too.
You could also boost your revenue by making sure there are a few common favourites, such as tuna and sweetcorn or ham and cheese sandwiches. Adding drinks and snacks will also help you increase your income, as many people will grab something to accompany their sandwich on the way to the till.
2. Plan to occupy a high-footfall location
Most sandwich franchises offer convenient food options for people on the go, so it’s no good setting up in an out-of-town location without a regular stream of foot traffic. Consider the factors you need from your location before you start your property hunt.
Often, having other shops or attractions nearby can help increase the number of spontaneous visits to your store and boost your revenue.
3. Find ways to downsize
In your plan, aim to minimise the amount of space you need; the smaller your sandwich shop, the less rent you’ll pay and the easier it’ll be to reach your break-even point. Of course, having a good amount of room for customers to make their orders and sit down is desirable, but you can reduce the total footprint of your store by having a small kitchen.
Luckily, sandwich franchises are perfectly positioned to occupy small properties. Depending on your business model, you may only need one or two staff members and basic equipment, such as a toaster, hob, fridge and freezer.
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4. Research permits and licences
As a food retailer, you’ll probably have to get some specific licences for your business in order to operate lawfully. The ones you need will depend on the location of your site and the type of products and services you provide, so research the regulations in your sector and region.
This step is key; fail to complete it before you open your doors, and you could find yourself in trouble with the law.
5. Adopt a forward-thinking mindset
The food industry is evolving rapidly, and business owners must be able to keep up if they’re to continue providing value to their customers. Although the franchisor will be in control of the wider franchise’s development, franchisees can make small adjustments to reflect consumer demand.
For instance, you could demonstrate your support for Britain’s move towards sustainability by using ethically sourced ingredients or ‘meatless meat’. Alternatively, you might like to get on board with food trends to entice customers.
6. Pick customer-friendly opening hours
Adjusting your opening hours to make sure you’re in business during times of high demand is crucial. Depending on the stipulations in your franchise agreement, you may be able to choose your own working times or pick them from a set schedule.
To work out when demand for your sandwich shop is likely to peak, consider your customer demographic and location. For instance, if there are lots of offices in the nearby area and you sell sandwiches ‘to go’, you should keep your doors open at lunchtime and after 5pm.
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7. Consider providing extra services
The Covid-19 pandemic showed us how important it is to be able to provide collection and delivery services. If your franchisor allows, consider giving customers the chance to order ahead by creating an online portal with the facility to accept payments.
You could safeguard your business even further by choosing to operate a mobile vehicle. Not only will you save on property rental costs, but you’ll also be able to travel to the places consumers gather throughout the day.
8. Plan your social media strategies
These days, social media plays a crucial role for most businesses. By creating your own profiles, you’ll be able to attract, retain and interact with customers - and prove you’re a fun business owner with your finger on the pulse.
If your franchisor gives permission for you to establish a social media presence, try to set up profiles on the main platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You could post high-quality pictures of your sandwiches, promote any offers you’re running or launch competitions for exciting prizes.
Join the food service industry
Franchising can offer a great return on investment - and there’s a huge range of franchises to explore if you want to become your own boss. Take a look at our top sandwich franchises or browse the investment opportunities in the wider food industry to get started.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©