Suresh Peddu becomes first to co-brand Robeks and SUBWAY with his store in Manhattan’s trendy Union Square
SUBWAY restaurant franchisee Suresh Peddu, who owns three SUBWAY restaurants in Manhattan, recently became the first franchisee in the United States to co-brand with Robeks. Suresh’s SUBWAY location in Manhattan’s trendy Union Square is a test site for presenting the two national brands side-by-side and essentially in the same space.
It makes sense for Suresh to be be the first out of the gate with a co-branded SUBWAY/Robeks store. He comes from an entrepreneurial background and owned an IT firm in the U.S. and a solar energy business installing panels in India. He’s been a multi-unit SUBWAY owner for over 10 years.
“Robeks gives me one more tool to promote a more nutritious diet for my customers,” Suresh says. “Our menu is filled with delicious choices, including ones that are more nutritious. Robeks is a perfect fit for us. Plus, Robeks products are the best. I’ve been drinking the fresh-squeezed juices on a regular basis. It’s not hard to become passionate about the Robeks menu.”
The SUBWAY restaurant chain and Robeks are in the process of evaluating this promising co-branding opportunity. They are studying fine details such as eating trends, foot traffic and the specifics of ordering. In the meantime, Suresh says the match between the two brands is perfect — “like a hand fitting in a glove.”
How did you first learn about Robeks?
I researched Robeks, and when I found the franchise online I knew it would be an awesome fit with SUBWAY. It’s all about the compatibility of the two brands. Both franchises promote a healthy diet. My location at Union Square is a test site for co-branding Robeks and SUBWAY. I’m very excited about it because there’s is no other franchise currently doing this in the United States. I think it can have some really positive results and provide some findings for other SUBWAY franchisees who might want to co-brand with Robeks.
Co-branding is also helpful from an economic standpoint for me. I’m very keen on doing it in Manhattan because real estate is expensive. With co-branding I don’t have to lease another space. All I have to do is renovate the one I have. It’s a great way to grow without adding expensive real estate costs.
Why do Robeks and SUBWAY make a good co-branding match?
Robeks and SUBWAY are high-quality franchises that stand out because they encourage healthy eating. Before we opened a Robeks smoothie franchise, we’ve been promoting a meal with chips, drink and a cookie at SUBWAY. Now we’re offering another meal with a nutritiously rich, healthy drink from Robeks for $4-$5 more. You can choose to get a delicious and very healthy fresh-squeezed glass of juice. This was the idea of bringing both brands together.
How do health trends affect your business?
The trend toward healthier eating made me consider the co-branding opportunity to begin with. Union Square attracts a very hip customer base, so there’s already a focus on eating healthier among my clientele. We are in the heart of an area where there’s a demand for the product. There are a couple colleges close by. There are a lot of younger kids, enough tourists and a lot of pedestrians in the area. Other trendy retail stores such as Whole Foods are nearby. When customers come in they are often focused on getting a healthier sandwich than you can get from our competitors. We are discovering that many customers love having the choice of a super-healthy smoothie or fresh-squeezed juice.
Were there any hurdles you had to overcome to open your store?
There are challenges with any small business, especially when you are starting out. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to be careful when choosing a franchise partner. You need to know they will be there to support you and back you up. Robeks has been very helpful. We have a great vision for doing something great together.
Since this is the first test site in the nation for a co-branded Robeks and SUBWAY we are learning as we go. We’re learning about issues such as how much food to order or how to share space. For example, we have one big freezer in the store that used to be 100 percent SUBWAY. Now it’s a space for Robeks and SUBWAY.
There are daily issues and some organizational challenges to solve, and we are overcoming them. They don’t seem like big problems because they are a part of us building this greater vision of SUBWAY and Robeks co-branding to offer more to the customer.
What do you like most about owning and operating a Robeks fresh juices and smoothies franchise?
SUBWAY and Robeks are just a great match, much like a hand fitting in a glove. Robeks gives me one more tool to promote a healthy diet. Plus, Robeks products are the best. I’ve been drinking the fresh-squeezed juices on a regular basis. It’s not hard to become passionate about the Robeks menu.
Did someone in corporate suggest that your store would be perfect for co-branding Robeks and SUBWAY?
I was looking at various co-branding opportunities, as were the folks at SUBWAY, who are always looking for ways to make our stores even better. We both discovered a great opportunity in Robeks. From then on, it’s been a meticulous process with initial designs and making menu changes. Since last year I’ve been moving forward to get this done, and we were able to open in early 2015. Both brands have been very supportive and I think our customers are going to love what they find!
The co-branded Robeks and SUBWAY store will hold an all day Grand Opening Celebration on Friday, April 17th.
47 West 14th Street (Between 5th & 6th)
New York, NY