Sandwiches are the lunch option that everyone loves, but only when the sandwich is truly outstanding. There are numerous chains and franchises in the market today that all create reasonably good sandwiches, so you need to take it up another notch. If you want to know how to open a sandwich shop, then the first thing you’ll need to do is start thinking of some original recipes. Combine them with some classics, like a turkey club or a Reuben, and get your menu set into place. Once you’ve got an idea of what your menu is going to be, then you’ll be ready for to implement these additional steps so that you can make some money every day.
1. Get your licensing and inspections out of the way.
As a sandwich shop, you’ll need to have a business license, a health inspection certificate, and you may need specific food licenses as well. Some counties may require you to collect sales taxes or restaurant taxes on every purchase. Get all of this out of the way, fill out all the forms that you’ll need, and then make sure that you’ve got insurance in place to protect yourself and your customers against injuries.
2. Make sure you’ve got a good location.
You’ll need to have a good spot for your sandwich shop that sees a lot of foot traffic for prolonged success. A classic experience for this type of business is that customers will travel long distances for a good sandwich, but eventually the novelty wears off and there are only a few core customers that remain – not enough for profitability.
3. Have all the equipment that you’re going to need.
The #1 rule of running a sandwich shop: hot sandwiches don’t come from a microwave. You’ll also need to have food-grade materials to package your sandwiches for customers because many of them will want to eat on the go. You won’t need a lot of space for dining in, but a few tables may also be necessary. Knives, cutting boards, and other equipment will also need to be secured.
4. Secure a food supplier.
If you want to make money with your sandwich shop, then you’re going to need to find a wholesale distributor of the ingredients that you’ll be needing. Purchasing them at retail prices won’t give you a high enough margin to stay in business for long. After securing your supplier, you’ll also need to regularly maintain inventories and know when deliveries were made so that only fresh foods are served in each sandwich that is made.
5. Market your business effectively.
A community can only support a certain number of sandwich shops. If this is your passion and your community is saturated, then look for locations within the region that may be a better spot. Once you get that spot, market your business in a way that is attractive to your targeted customer segments. Target highly successful demographics for your sandwiches, such as college students and business professionals.
6. Work on the business plan.
You’ll need to plot out your goals for at least the next 2 years.. A 5 year business plan will be even better when it comes to charting long-term success. Only 5% of businesses traditionally make it beyond the 5 year mark. Sometimes they fail because of burnout, but often it is because of a lack of planning. Think about how you’ll grow your business, create specific plans that can be put into place, and then stick to your guns. Don’t be afraid to adapt and be flexible, but don’t change just for the sake of change either.
7. You could franchise too.
If you don’t want to venture out with your own brand, then if you have enough capital, a franchising opportunity might be the right option to take. Take a look at the chains that are offering franchises in your area and choose the one that makes the most sense for your overall goals. Although you’ll have to pay royalties on your overall revenues and support regional or national advertising efforts, in return you’ll receive a brand name that has instant recognition.
8. Create consistent products.
As with any food industry opportunity, consistency matters above all. Customers come back because they love the sandwiches that you’re producing. They trust the quality of what you can provide. If that quality is lacking, they won’t leave you a negative review. They’ll just vote with their money and eat elsewhere.
Knowing how to start a sandwich shop can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these steps and by being able to tap into your passions, you will create some amazing sandwiches that your community will want to eat every single day.