Soul Origin and the sandwich market

By Sarah Stowe | 18 Dec 2015 View comments

Soul Origin at Town Hall Station. Image: wordpress.comAre you a sandwich lover? It's hard not to be when there is so much choice in the market right now. Aussies certainly embrace the bread-and-filling option at lunchtime, and what has traditionally been the reserve of the local sandwich bar has become a multi-brand business. The Subway chain has had a lot to do with this development, and for its efforts it has claimed an astonishing 84 percent of the sandwich market.  

So what's happening with other franchises out there, and how are they competing?

Four franchises which trade in the sandwich market have contributed to the debate.

Part one: Soul Origin

What's your core product?  

With every sandwich, wrap, baguette or salad, we really let the ingredients shine through. Fillings wise, we focus on healthy delicious combinations. Some of our more popular fillings include Chicken and Avocado and Chicken Schnitzel. We also serve a Roast Vegetable filling available in a wrap, panini and baguette that is also very popular.

We also pride ourselves on high quality, artisan bread that is used in our baguettes and paninis, sourcing the highest quality suppliers we can find.

How do you differentiate your brand?

Subway's 84 percent market share is testament to the hard work they've put in promoting the brand in above the line media over the past 20 years in Australia. For a young brand like Soul Origin, we are reliant on in-store experiences and word of mouth. We strive to leave a great first impression through world-class customer service and high quality products.

When looking to engage new customers, we aim for innovative activations that grab attention and communicate a very simple message. We had a major outdoor activity in Sydney's Martin Place where we constructed a giant billboard made entirely of fresh healthy fruit and vegetables spelling out our catch line "Eat Fresh-er" and gave away 3,000 salads for lunch. 

How do you work with franchisees to ensure profitability?

Our model relies on four key performance indicators (KPIs) and our franchisees are made aware of the significance of these numbers. Every KPI in every system throughout the world is a function of turnover. Our aim at the inception of a franchise outlet is to maximise turnover.

Once this is achieved, bringing the other KPIs, food costs, and wages in line with the model is significantly easier. The last of the KPIs, which cannot be affected, rent, can be justified by achieving the sales target.

How do you maintain food standards across the network? 

Being a young brand, we know that our reputation in the marketplace hinges on the experience customers have in store. With that in mind, our experienced Soul Managers (area managers) have exceptionally high standards when it comes to the production, display and taste of our products. They work with kitchen staff in store to give them the training they need to ensure all products available in store meet or exceed the high standards we expect.

We also have dedicated communication and training tool called Soul Skool accessible by all Soul Origin staff that provides processes and guidelines for every single item we sell. 

How will you drive business growth?

We will be competitive in the marketing space, relying on new media and innovative formats, such as our giant edible billboard in Martin Place, to cut through the sometimes cluttered QSR competitive landscape resulting in increased brand awareness and increased brand preference. 

How is increased competition changing how you do business?

The rise of new competition in the form of food trucks or independents are great for our industry, it's a testament to the demand for fresh and tasty food at affordable prices. As the competition becomes more and more cluttered, brands such as Soul Origin will reinforce their market-leading standards in regards to shop fit outs, ensuring our customer service is world class and that our processes and products are of the highest quality. Our marketing strategies will need to be world class with greater focus on brand purpose rather than product specific messaging.