Anthony Deegan-Williams 

Ray Deegan-Williams

Directors of Sublime Stores Ltd

SubLOVE 17 years

How did it all begin?

Anthony: I was working for McDonald’s when I saw an advert for Subway and have never looked back! I began my Subway career a as a store manager and experience I gain over the years became a multi-unit manager, operations manager. Keen to progress the natural next step for me was to become a franchisee. In fact, I purchased the store I was managing at that time, Bold Street in the centre of Liverpool.

How do you work together?

Ray: My Subway journey start when I was just 16, working my way through the ranks. I met Anthony whist working at Subway and when he became a franchisee, we decided to do it as joint venture. Fast forward a few years and now we’re both married and run 16 stores in the Northwest!

What range of formats are in your portfolio?

Anthony: One of the great things about the Subway model is there is an extensive and flexible range of formats to pick from. We have a great mix in our portfolio including including:

What attracted you to the Petrol Forecourt Store (PFS) model?

Ray: The biggest attractions was the Kay Group itself, as they are an experienced PFS operators with over 50 years in the sector. Technically they’re our landlords for the PFS stores, but in reality, we work alongside them as retail partners.

All our stores within the Kay Group estate have 30 seats or more – not a typical petrol station format, which is another reason we were eager to collaborate with them.  Collaborating with partner like Kay Group means we have the opportunity to extend our store count as they open more locations.

How important is team spirit to your success?

Anthony: Having the right team and right location is fundamental to the success of our business. We acquired Accrington earlier this year and it’s just hit record sales; the store’s been operating for 15 years, and we didn’t need to make many changes when we took over. The store had a good team in place, and this was key to hitting record sales.

We had a duty of care to make sure the team felt valued, engaged, and taken on this journey with us. As we have a number of stores in our portfolio this meant they automatically became part of our wider team with additional support and a bit of inter group friendly competition which helped to drive the sales.

What advice would you give to a new Franchisee starting out?

Ray: It is vital to have strong foundations in place before you grow your business. For us this meant we need to have a talented store manager, strong back-office support, we outsourced payroll, book-keeping, and IT. We wanted to ensure that our employees had opportunities to progress within the Subway structure once they have gained the experience, this in turn increases staff retention. I started out as a sandwich artist and now we are proud to have three area managers who also took the same route, it is important to us to have home growth talent within our organisation.

Anthony: Build your network. Connect with other franchisees around you and get to know them.

You may all be individual businesses, but you can still work together – we are all have the same goal! We are in business for ourselves just not by ourselves, being part of a global brand has many benefits.

As business partners, do you have complementary skills?

Ray: Definitely, I am more back of house – the tecchie systems guy, I do the data tracking and figures, you will usually find me behind a computer screen.

Anthony: I look after the operational side our business, so tend to be the hands-on, people-focused one. I spent most of my time in the stores working closely with our teams to ensure we give our guest a great experience and they keep coming back.

What was your remodel experience like and what are your thoughts on Fresh Forward?

Ray: Six stores in our portfolio are the newest Fresh Forward design, some of these came through acquisition, so we have only done one Fresh Forward remodel to date but will be doing the rest in the coming months.

The remodels have been proven to increase sales and improves the ‘curb appeal,’ which has a positive impact on our guests and staff, making them feel invested in, with a nicer work environment. For the process, it helps to have some knowledge and experience in the system before taking it on, but you will have the support of Head Office to guide you.

What are you excited about for your business and the Subway brand?

Anthony: There is a lot to look forward to, we have a new store in the pipeline and more coming with the Kay Group. With the menu changes we are looing forward to bringing new and exciting products and food trends to our customers.

Ray: From the brand’s perspective and being the techie one, I like the plans for more digital ordering in the stores and the launch of Subway Series. We have five stores in a pilot for that, so I am excited to be part of this chapter and influencing the rolls out across the whole county. It is great to see the direction Subway’s moving in and we are both excited to be part of that journey.

Adrian Johnson
Business Development Agent
Sue Pasco
Multi-Unit Owner