Michael Ford is currently the Vice President, Operations of Country Style and MR.SUB, a division of the MTY Group. Prior to accepting the position with MTY in 2011, Michael was employed with Mr. Submarine Limited as part of the Senior Management team, working alongside the original founders of MR.SUB. Michael holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business and is a Certified Management Accountant.
BeTheBoss: What is the MR.SUB franchise opportunity all about?
Michael Ford: The MR.SUB franchise opportunity is about being part of a truly Canadian success story. The first MR.SUB restaurant opened in 1968 in Yorkville Avenue in Toronto a bustling street crowded with boutiques, coffee houses and hungry teenagers. Over 45 years later, more than 300 restaurants span Canada. All MR.SUB restaurants are built on the original concept to sell quality food, make it fresh, serve it fast in a clean, friendly environment and ultimately build brand loyalty by giving people real value for their money.
Franchises like MR.SUB are particularly valuable because they are built on time-tested procedures and formulas which help take the guesswork out of starting a business in a field which you may have little experience.
BTB: Who is your ideal candidate for a MR.SUB franchise?
MF: A franchise business is a shared commitment. Franchisees need to make sure they are making the right investment and we also need to be certain that members of our team are the right ones as well….We owe it to ourselves, franchisees and customers.
The ideal candidate is someone who first and foremost has a hard work ethic, a desire and ability to learn and a demonstrated commitment to customer service in previous roles. The technical side of making our sandwiches can be developed with practice and training but customer friendliness and work ethic are difficult to teach. Additionally, strong communication, leadership skills, a desire to own their own business and the necessary capital to invest are important attributes for incoming franchisees.
BTB: What type of training and support do you offer at MR.SUB?
MF: MR.SUB has a comprehensive training program for our franchisees. We understand that many franchisees are new to the idea of owning their own business. We work with our new franchisees to help them develop the skills needed for all aspects of business life ranging from making subs to controlling finances. Ultimately we help provide the guidelines to help you run your business. In addition to the 3 weeks of initial training, each franchisee will benefit from the expertise of a Business Development Manager to ensure the process of opening and managing the restaurant is as smooth as possible.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a MR.SUB franchisee?
MF: Franchisees are able to leverage our expertise, wealth of resources, associate with an iconic Canadian brand and access our centralized purchasing of high quality products.
BTB: Is MR.SUB a member of any associations?
MF: MR.SUB has been a member of the Canadian Franchise Association for over 35 years.
BTB: Tell us a little about the Quick Service Restaurant industry.
MF: The quick service restaurant market itself continues to be the largest generator of traffic in the commercial food service industry in Canada representing 64.6% of all meals and snacks sold in industry generating $21.9 billion in sales in 2012. (Source: NPD Group Canada). Chain brands dominate the quick service restaurant market in Canada accounting for over 90% of all traffic. (Source: NPD Group Canada) Total quick service restaurant sales are forecasted to increase by 4.2% in 2013. (Source: CRFA's Foodservice Forecast)
BTB: How successful is MR.SUB today and what are your future growth plans?
MF: MR.SUB has a long standing track record of success in the quick service industry which remains to present day. However, the growth potential for MR.SUB is enormous. Our current plans include pursuing targeted international development, co-branding opportunities with other successful brands, and most importantly increasing our footprint across Canada, particularly in under-developed markets outside of Ontario.
BTB: What are your franchisees saying about the business?
MF: Our franchisees provide a tremendous amount of insight and feedback on the business environment and evolving consumer preferences. As an example, a number of franchisees have taken note of our increased field presence and more contact with our regional managers as well franchisees have benefitted from our expanded marketing efforts including our National TV campaigns and Point-of-Sale materials. In particular, MR.SUB’s national Sub of the Day program, has helped provide franchisees with a platform to help build customer loyalty and enhanced consistency in our value offering.
BTB: What advice do you have someone looking to acquire a franchise?
MF: Do your homework, ask lots of questions and ensure you know what role you will be taking on in the business. In my experience, franchisees that are most successful are passionate and have adopted a hands-on-approach to learning by doing, asked questions and have demonstrated a commitment to understand all facets of the business to ensure a high level of operations.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that MR.SUB would be a great opportunity for someone?
MF: MR.SUB is a great opportunity for someone looking to become a franchisee in the Quick Service Restaurant industry. MR.SUB is a respected brand name and leader in the industry. As part of the MR.SUB family, our franchisees receive the benefit of a national marketing program, our strong buying power, and initial and on-going training and field assistance to help them run their businesses and ultimately enhance their earning potential. With a reasonable investment, franchisees are able to pursue their dreams of running their own business and increase the likelihood for successful outcomes by purchasing a proven concept and strong brand, that customers greatly appreciate and respect.