Q up for franchising

first_imgThe made-to-order sandwich category has been in long-term decline, but that trend was bucked with the advent of Subway.As noted in British Baker, 9 March, pg 4, the 2007 Key Note Bread and Bakery report says high street bakers increasingly view sandwich chains and cafés as the main competition, ahead of in-store bakeries and plant bread, and many are following suit with made-to order sandwich offerings.”The concept is successful because there’s an argument to say made-to-order sandwiches are superior to, or fresher than, pre-packed,” says Quiznos UK’s head of franchise development Phil Craston. “Made-to-order is a trend that’s here to stay and successes elsewhere in the market have created a business opportunity for us.”With Subway on track for 2,010 outlets by 2010 in the UK, does Quiznos hope to compete on this scale of growth? “Certainly Subway are ahead of us,” says Craston, “but success is not just achieved through numbers and that is not a figure we’re looking to achieve. If a franchise business is all about volume, you can miss some of the finer points of managing the brand and maintaining the brand integrity.following a successful lead”Subway had a head start because they were the first into the market. When a company has explosive expansion it does create an environment and diversity follows. It’s only natural that companies will follow in the wake of another successful company.”With 25 UK outlets now in place, Quiznos has some way to go to match its massive success in the US, where the multi-billion dollar franchise recently appointed former Burger King CEO Greg Brenneman to run the business. There, the chain is adding around 1,000 stores a year, with a total of some 5,000 outlets today.Originally, Quiznos was a chain of pizza restaurants in and around Denver. It switched to making toasted subs after it ran out of pizza bases one day and resorted to serving toppings on baguette bread instead. These quickly proved more popular than the pizzas and, from 18 restaurants in 1991, the firm built up a 1,000-store empire by 2000.outlet plansIn 2001, Kazem Najafi, previously a Burger King franchisee in the south of England, brought the Quiznos franchise to the UK. Looking ahead to the next five years, there are tentative plans to hit 200 outlets right across the UK. This year, Quiznos will build its first stores in Scotland, where Craston sees “a tremendous demand and business opportunity”.One key difference from Subway’s approach is that Quiznos is seeking out higher rental pitches with larger sales areas, rather than clusters of small stores. The hope is to “carefully saturate the market,” says Craston. “You certainly don’t want to annoy your franchisees by opening too many stores that restrict their business or their sales area.”Another difference is that Quiznos is not yet entertaining the prospect of splitting up its business into area directorships; instead it is looking to retain centralised control. “By managing everything centrally, we can ensure consistency. People need to have the same experience in every store they go to.”The consultancy PSS sources ingredients, from cakes to cookies to breads and Craston says a premium is paid for quality ingredients, including up to £11/kg for meat used in sandwiches. Sourcing suppliers has not been a problem, he adds. “Suppliers need to have faith in a business’ future. All of our suppliers have a very good long-term view of where Quiznos is going. The successes in America have meant doors have opened relatively easily for us and we’re taken seriously.”The light and airy baguette bread, made-to-order by Kent-based Speciality Breads to the US specification, is “the special ingredient” in the sandwich, he says. “If we put a traditional baguette-style bread through our toasters, people wouldn’t eat eight-inch sandwiches, because baguette-style bread is quite heavy,” he explains. “Our recipe is designed to be toasted – it’s light and airy and crisps up nicely.”The 22-inch baguettes are delivered frozen into stores. “There is the perception that if you freeze bread, it loses its consistency, but the consistency is always perfect and it creates the right balance with the meat and vegetables.”It takes one minute and 45 seconds to make a sandwich and 120 sandwiches can be made per hour; Quiznos sells equal amounts of the four- and eight-inch subs and relatively few extra large 12-inch options. All ingredients are sliced, ready to meet the crucial lunchtime trade. “People will not join a long queue,” he says. “The subs need to be made quickly. It’s not something people can do from the word go, but it’s important to get right or you risk losing revenue.” Training courses are provided for franchisees to get up to speed in running their business.While Quiznos offers a pricier product – a Subway regular sandwich sells for between £1.99 and £2.99 while Quiznos is £2.49 to £3.49 – Craston believes it offers value for money. “It’s a product that people are more likely to purchase out of choice rather than as a budget decision. In areas where there is a higher-than-average income, we would expect more people to make their eating decisions based on desire. That’s why we don’t want to compromise on the quality.”With competition on the high street fierce for food retailers – not least from Subway – how does Quiznos hope to mark itself out from the crowd? “It’s about identity,” answers Craston. “We like to make a distinction between ourselves and ’fast food’. Quiznos has modelled itself on the delicatessen. There are a lot of brands that come and go very quickly but quality will always find a market.” nlast_img read more

Big berries

first_imgWhen it comes to choosing fruit, most people reach for the biggest piece. Titan™, a new blueberry variety bred by a University of Georgia scientist, makes that an easy task. It produces berries two to four times the size of average blueberries.“People like big strawberries and big blackberries. Now they can get big blueberries,” said Scott NeSmith, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researcher who bred the new variety. The UGA Research Foundation has applied for a plant patent for Titan™.For commercial and homeowner useTitan™ was designed for both commercial and homeowner use. NeSmith says backyard growers will like the berry size and so will visitors at pick-your-own farms. “Common sense tells you that picking blueberries by hand takes a long time. Not with Titan™,” he said.Average blueberries are usually a little smaller than a dime. NeSmith has seen Titan™ berries grow as large as a quarter. A rabbiteye blueberry, Titan™ is well suited for growing in Georgia and produces well in USDA hardiness zones 6a through 9a. Released in 2012, Titan™ hasn’t been added to Georgia blueberry farmers’ fields yet, but it is available in limited supplies for homeowners.“Right now, most nurseries have waiting lists for Titan™ plants. That’s how popular it is,” Nesmith said. “They have more orders than they do plants.”Ask stores to stock TitanHe encourages homeowners to contact their local garden center and request the variety. “If enough people ask for it, hopefully the big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot will start carrying it,” NeSmith said.Titan™ is officially available through the following licensed nurseries: Ken James Greenhouses (www.jamesgreenhouses.com); Cornelius Farms (corneliusfarms.com/nurserydivision.html); andOregon Blueberry (www.oreblueberry.com).No matter which blueberry variety you add to your home landscape, Nesmith says to set aside the first year as a growing year for the plant. “You may see a small amount of fruit the second year, but the third year will bring a good blueberry crop,” he said.While some varieties are self-fruiting, NeSmith advises planting two or more varieties to insure good pollination and fruit set. Two additional homeowner varieties that have been recently released are Summer Sunset™ and Blue Suede®.Award-winning blueberry breederBased on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga., NeSmith has been researching blueberries in Georgia since 1990. He was recently awarded the UGA Inventor’s Award for his research efforts that include the release of 10 new patented commercial blueberry varieties and two patented ornamental blueberry varieties. The award is presented each year by the UGA Researrch Foundation to recognize an inventor for a unique and innovative discovery that has impacted the community, state and/or world. UGA-developed blueberries are grown around the world on all continents except Antarctica. Blueberry production has surpassed peaches as the No. 1 fruit crop in Georgia. “Nationally, we may be close to number one in acres now, and we are second or third in production,” NeSmith said. Georgia farmers use about 21,749 acres for blueberry production, and the farm gate value was more than $254 million in 2011, according to the Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.For more information on how to add blueberry plants to home landscapes, visit the UGA CAES publication website at caes.uga.edu/publications.last_img read more

Harberts leads USC’s Pac-12 honorees

first_imgSenior forward Cassie Harberts was named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the second consecutive year on Tuesday, leading four other Women of Troy to receive All-Conference honors ahead of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday.Best of the best · Senior forward Cassie Harberts was named to the All-Pac-12 team yesterday for the second straight season. Harberts averaged 16.2 points per game this season after posting an 18.0 average in 2012-2013. – Ricardo Galvez | Daily TrojanJunior guard Ariya Crook earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, junior forward Alexyz Vaioletama and sophomore guard Brianna Barrett made the conference’s All-Defensive Team Honorable Mention and guard Courtney Jaco landed All-Freshman Team Honorable Mention.In head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke’s first season at the helm, Harberts was the standout star for the Women of Troy en route to their 18-12 (11-7) record and fifth-place finish in the Pac-12. The four-year starter led the team in points per game (16.2), rebounds per game (7.5), minutes per game (32.9) and blocks (25). She asserted herself as the fulcrum of USC’s offense down low in the post, constantly drawing double-teams and fouls, as she led the team in free throw attempts (214) while converting 57 percent of her tries from the line. Harberts was one of 15 players and seven returnees to be named to the squad.Harberts tied three others for USC’s program-record 128 appearances in the Women of Troy’s final regular season game, and is poised to claim the record for herself in the team’s Pac-12 Tournament opener against Arizona on Thursday.If Harberts was the steady star for USC that teams knew they had to stop, Crook was the breakout performer who frequently showed offensive explosiveness to catch opposing defenses off-guard. The Torrance, Calif. native averaged 15.8 points and 2.3 assists per game, often utilizing her quickness to drive to the basket for easy lay-ups. In USC’s biggest win of the season, a 77-70 road upset over then-No. 19 Cal, Crook poured in 34 points, the most scored by a Woman of Troy since 2002.Both Vaioletama, the only USC player to start all 30 games besides Harberts, and Barrett molded reputations as defensive stoppers this season. Vaioletama led the team in steals (1.9) and defensive rebounds (4.8) per game, while also doubling her offensive output from last season in becoming USC’s third-leading scorer (8.5 ppg).Barrett, who received All-Defensive Team Honorable Mention for the second straight year, led the team in assists per game (2.8), was second in steals per game (1.4) and fourth in points (6.8 per game).Jaco established herself as a solid contributer off the bench, averaging 3.8 points per game and nailing 36.1 percent of her three-point attempts while averaging 14.1 minutes.The selections were culled from a vote of the league’s 12 women’s basketball head coaches.Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike won her second straight Pac-12 Player of the Year award, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer was honored with her fourth straight Coach of the Year award and Washington guard Kelsey Plum was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.last_img read more