By Stan Stewart.
Subway Whitianga Est 2006
Owned since Oct 2017
Yvonne & Paul Simpson
After six years, Yvonne and Paul Simpson are moving on – moving out of their business more like it as Whitianga may still be their home. From managing the Five Star ‘Sovereign Pier on the Waterways’ six years ago they purchased the Whitianga SUBWAY franchise.
SUBWAY is the only food franchise in Whitianga and Yvonne and Paul are putting it on the market. During the last six years they have not only survived but thrived – and that includes three horrendous years.
The last three years have been tough for anyone trading on the Coromandel. For two years the town was shut down by COVID restrictions. And then this last summer because of the dreadful weather and cyclones etc there was no summer. The campers, the batch owners, the tourists stayed away, and the town was empty. However, throughout this summer of storms it could have been worse. Despite the fact the town lost roads, the power supply was hardly affected. Paul says his restaurant only lost power for ten minutes throughout the whole tumultuous summer.
How did Yvonne and Paul’s business survive? The government ‘COVID Support Payment’ was an enormous help. “It kept us afloat. It was key to our survival” says Paul. “It allowed us to keep all our staff employed and paid”.
Here is an interesting note on the changing lifestyles of kiwis. During the COVID years the ‘take away’ side of the business was the only way they could trade. Orders were placed electronically and contactless personal pick-ups were ready in ten minutes. Now restrictions are gone the ‘take out’ side of their business continues to grow. A facilitator of this trend is the Subway ‘Click & Collect” app which is a favourite with the younger age groups. This taking away a meal from a restaurant or food outlet is an ‘up-up and away’ trend in New Zealand. The government predicts this ‘take away’ side of all restaurant sales will increase by a further 5% this year.
We (Pauline and I) used to cater for children’s camps and holiday activities. It was dead easy. Spaghetti and meatballs tonight – sausages and mince tomorrow. “Don’t complain cos that is all you will get”! That’s the dark ages in the world of catering. Catering for any age group in today’s environment is vastly different.
The number of special dietary requirements increase every year. Anyone in the food business knows this is no joke – muck it up and someone could be in hospital, or you could be in court – or both, how do you keep up? Where do you go for help in this fast-changing scene. Yvonne and Paul say the answer is simple. “The Subway Support team”. I viewed some of the Subway support information supplied to their outlets. It covers all Subway ingredients, and it is exhaustive. “This is just an example of the detailed support that Subway gives to their outlets. And if you still have questions their ‘Help Line’ is always available”, said Paul.
Year on year the business is growing. Yvonne and Paul think it is because of the economy. Yvonne observes, “People are hard pressed financially and they are looking for cheaper meals. Restaurant meals are now beyond the reach of many people. With some imagination a Subway roll can become the central ingredient in a low-cost meal for a family.”
The success of the Whitianga franchise has much to do with the franchise holders, Yvonne and Paul. As well as making delicious rolls, which both of them do they have brought particular skills to the business. Yvonne has an understanding of accountancy and consequently handles all the accounts, payrolls, taxes etc. Paul was formerly an engineer – actually still is. With an engineer’s knowledge and a tradesman’s skill he can fix anything.
This is an enormous help in the running of the business. Using his ability and knowledge he completely re-fitted the premises. Subway head office did the design. Paul made it happen.
We wish Paul and Yvonne every success with their present and future ventures.
Caption: Paul and Yvonne Simpson, ready to do their shift at Subway, Whitianga.