Fast-food restaurant Subway is under new ownership and management, and plans are already in place for more locations across the island.
In fact, the new owner, Trinidad-based brand developer and franchisee David Coelho, who has been a franchisee with Subway in Trinidad for the past two decades and was part of the expansion of the brand in that country to over 40 locations, told Barbados TODAY plans were already in place for two new locations here by the middle of this year, with hopes of building out to at least 12 locations over time.
Ownership of the Subway franchise changed hands around the middle of last year when Coelho and his business partner purchased Alfundi Investment Limited, the company that brought the American fast food restaurant chain to Barbados.
Subway now has three locations – Trident House, The City, Lanterns Mall, Hastings and a Sheraton, Christ Church location that opened about two months ago.
Coelho is keeping the expansion details close to his chest, but hinted at possibly more locations in the capital, as well as in Warrens, St Michael.
“We have a fourth and fifth location that we are committed to, and we hope they get opened by June of this year. So we are actually doing to opposite of shutting it down,” said Coelho.
He said with the opening of the Sheraton branch another 15 people were added to the staff complement.
“We will add about 15 persons per restaurant. So if we open three more restaurants for 2007 we are looking at another 45 people. If eventually we get to 12 to 15 locations, which we think is very feasible, you can ultimately be talking about 200 people plus being employed.
“So I think it will be good for our business, it will be good for the Barbados economy and it will be good for employment and down stream businesses that will benefit from our expansion whether they are service providers, contractors, services like accounting, HR, advertising, you name it,” explained Coelho.
Almost two years ago one of the then principles of Alfundi Investment Federick George told Barbados TODAY the company could no longer sustain the high import duties on processed poultry products and serious consideration was being given to pulling the plug on the operation.
He said at the time the company, which employed 30 people, had been operating at a loss for two years in a row and he was not sure how much longer it could continue to do so.
Coelho told Barbados TODAY the high duties were still a concern. However, he said a number of possible solutions were being examined.
“On the one hand we will continue to lobby Government to see if they will reassess the structure of import duties going forward and make it less [onerous] for us. There are some other initiatives to try to have some local manufacturers in Barbados become approved within the Subway system to manufacture some of the items on island. Again from an economic standpoint that would be good for Barbados and for us,” he said.
“Then beyond that we have to look at an overall pricing strategy that will drive volume and allow us to compensate for the excess cost of doing business, and by increasing the brand’s presence on the island. It is really hard to survive with one or two restaurants. It becomes a lot easier when you have 10, 12 or 15. It will also give us economies of scale with distribution, management and the overall cost of doing business. So that is sort of the plan,” explained Coelho.