In an interaction with Indian Retailer, Manpreet Gulri, Country Head, Subway, shares his expansion plans in India.
How you have designed your online engine and what are the promotional strategies you have kept in place to generate sufficient conversion online?
Globally, SUBWAY restaurants have online platforms to enable remote ordering. However, in India, we are exploring possibilities for the effective implementation of the same.
Give us an overview of your last five year expansion achievement. How many outlets and what are the cities you have expanded lately?
The last five years have seen the Indian economy expand and the world become a smaller place. Household incomes have risen as well as the number of working women, all of which has contributed to the trend of eating out. SUBWAY India’s expansion plan aims at achieving the 600-restaurant milestone by the end of 2015 from the present 472 restaurants across 70 cities. SUBWAY recently celebrated the opening of South India’s 100th restaurant in Mysore, Tamil Nadu. This year, SUBWAY also reached the milestone of opening the 100th restaurant in Delhi NCR. The world’s largest restaurant chain has a business model that is equally suitable for both the metros as well as tier II and tier III cities in India.
What are the new products you have introduced in your portfolio? Who are the target audience for these?
SUBWAY restaurant chain believes in constantly evolving with the changing consumer needs and preferences. A recent survey revealed that India has a large number of vegetarians (one in three Indians is a vegetarian). Based on the fact, the brand introduced four new vegetarian submarine sandwiches (subs) this year – Mexican Bean Patty, Green Pea Patty, Chatpata Chana and Hara Bhara Kebab. Through the new introduction, SUBWAY’s Indian menu now offers a balanced mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian subs to its consumers.
SUBWAY consumers are people who make choices that support an active lifestyle. The brand endeavours to offer its consumers the choices that suit their palate as well as nutritional requirements.
What are the kind of innovation you have introduced in your business strategies and how these have been benefitting you?
SUBWAY restaurant chain has an internally-developed POS software, designed specifically to support the unique requirements of its franchisees and customers. Similarly, SUBWAY distributors use state-of-the-art softwares to manage logistics.
The company also provides online training modules to all levels of employees in the organization. Additionally, there is "The University of Subway" which is an online training platform that is available to all franchisees.
As an industry expert, how do you see the growth of Indian retail and what would be your future prediction for the industry?
Indian retail industry is recognized as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries the world over with several new players looking to enter the market and changing consumer behaviour poised to bring a new revolution in Indian retail. According to a research by India Brand Equity Foundation, food & grocery accounted for nearly 69 per cent of total revenues in the retail sector in 2013.
The future of Indian retail looks promising in the presence of favourable government policies, innovation in technology and a highly-competitive market.
Tell us your biggest learning that has helped you to reshape your retail enterprise?
From our decade long experience of operations in India, we have learned that one has to continually adapt according to the needs and preferences of the market in order to gain a strong foothold. Over the years, SUBWAY India has integrated local taste and flavours in its menu offerings and introduced an entire range of localised products for Indian consumers. Keeping ethnic preferences in mind, the brand has also opened purely vegetarian SUBWAY restaurants in select locations. Space permitting, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian counters are also kept separate.