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Subway and (child sex offender) “Jared” with Karl Bryan

by | Karl Bryan

How did Subway grow to 44,000 locations and approx a $7 Billion Dollar market cap?

Yesterday I talked about McDonald’s and their 5  best all-time marketing promotions…. and they ALL had scarcity.

Hope you digest the importance of that and subsequently find an ethical and comfortable way for you to do the same.

Today I want to talk about McDonald’s competition in the franchising space… Subway.

Subway was started on August 28, 1965, with a $1,000 loan from a family friend, Dr. Peter Buck.

No doubt you’ve heard their Golden Child “Jared” is in jail on child sex charges. Holy smokes, what a dirtbag, and did they ever drop the ball on that one. Bottom line – it’s undeniable they did an incredible job of marketing him, his story and the franchise as a whole. 

To the tune of a $7 billion dollar market cap. Makes me hungry for a Turkey Sub with chipotle sauce just thinking about all those subs :o)  

Here are the biggest takeaways and reasons behind their success:

1. Leverage a story.

When Subway learned about Jared and his miraculous weight loss, they had the brains to jump all over it and keep it growing. The token way to do this is to promote “Our subs are low fat and healthy”…. but instead they told the story of a guy that ate exclusively at Subway and become the world’s first “Biggest Loser” (I mean the weight he lost… not the fact he became a psycho child sex offender).

The guy literally became the face of the franchise… the Ronald McDonald of Subway without the red poofy hair and big shoes.

And Subway also pretty much turned themselves into a weight loss company off the back of that story.  Unheard of in the fast-food space.

Lesson: if you have a great story…. tell it, expand upon it… and keep it going!!! (How many times have I told you I built a $5.5 million dollar coaching company that did $400,000 per month in new coaching clients).

2. Great customer relations.

I have a background in franchising and licensing (franchised my own company when I was 33 years old and was the youngest one in the company at the time) and I can tell you first hand those first few licensees/franchisees are critical.  My first ever business coach made over $300,000 coaching in his first 6 months. You can imagine with results like that… it was a “Story” that was easy to leverage (and was leveraged!).

It’s well documented how well Subway treated its early key stakeholders/franchisees. They made a ton of money and were given first right of refusal on local territories so they could continue to grow and expand. If you understand a franchise like Subway you ideally want to own 3 locations minimum and have them within a short drive of one another. That way you can have one group of staff, one lot of inventory, managers can drive to and from as needed and most importantly you can market in a larger area and still get the benefit. If you only own one Subway (fast food restaurant) you better like making subs.

Lesson: When growing your coaching business get tangible and insanely impressive results for a few coaching clients and you can leverage those and the story for many years to come.  Also, ensure you look after the staff and key stakeholders. 

3. In touch with trends.

Subway originally promoted itself as the place for a “quick sandwich.” It morphed into a “Sub-shop” even though they had plenty of “low fat” offerings from the get-go.

The era of “eat fresh” and emphasis on nonfried foods became a trend… and Subway led the charge in a very big way.

Lesson: We encourage and train our business coaches to look to promote growing industries rather than declining ones where so many coaches seem stuck. Anti-aging is an example of an industry that’s on a rapid incline and will continue to be (due to an aging population) for many years to come (an industry I’d encourage you to look at taking a client in).  On the other side, many manufacturers are on the decline from many of the latest advancements like 3D printing (tough to grow a business in a declining space).

4. Transparency.

One of the challenges/fears of eating at a fast food restaurant is the quality of the food. Subway was one of the first restaurants where you watch your food being made in front of you and can see the ingredients. Customers can feel comfortable the food is fresh and it lends itself to countless customizations on the spot.

Lesson: Be open about your coaching clients and help promote their business by linking coaching clients together. All my business coaches get access to one another on my private FB group. What ends up happening is they help one another and its one big happy community/family. 

Frankly, it’ll put pressure on you as a coach to perform at the higher level and end up being great for your business.

5. Alternative locations.

The fact Subway took the “weight loss” “health food” position allowed them to gain entry into places like hospitals.  Other fast-food restaurants have no chance of getting into a hospital.

Lesson: Think outside the box and think in term of value you can provide potential partnerships. Business coaches inside our community can get JV partners of all shapes and sizes to cause they’re able to offer to find any small business owner they work with $100,000 in 45 minutes without spending an extra dollar on marketing or advertising.

OK, so there you have it. I think we’re both done talking about fast-food for this week :o)

I’m taking my wife and kids to Mission Impossible Fallout tonight. I heard it’s amazing. If I learn anything from Ethan Hawk about business… I’ll let you know!

Thank for tuning in,


Karl Bryan gets clients for Business Coaches...period. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Six-Figure Coach Magazine and Chairman of Leader Publishing Worldwide, home of the largest private community of Business Coaches (24 countries and counting) in the world.
His goal is straight forward… to help serious coaches/consultants get more clients.

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