In Focus
FRANCHISING | Kevin Santos, Australia
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Jon Smith Subs is confident they will become a household name

Learn how the U.S.-based brand will set itself apart in Australia’s fast casual dining arena.

The Australian fast casual industry is bracing itself for the arrival of Jon Smith Subs, who recently announced its intentions of entering the market last month.

Known for their sirloin steak and chicken breast subs, the fast casual brand has proven to be successful in the United States with its franchise model seeing growth across locations in South and Central Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Nevada, Texas, and California.

The brand was clear about their plan to target more international locations. Aside from expanding to Australia, Jon Smith Subs also placed Master License Partner agreements in place for United Kingdom, Portugal, South Africa, and Colombia.

QSR Media spoke to Jon Smith Subs’ Director for Emerging Brands Michael Cooke, who explained why now is the right time to set up shop in Australia, their take on getting franchisees, and their outlook in the next three years.

QSR Media: What are the things you’ve seen in the Australian market that prompted Jon Smith Subs to conduct the expansion?

Jon Smith Subs was established in 1988. We feel right now is the right time, we are extremely excited the opportunity to expand into Australia, our ongoing research has told us there is an appetite for our product, consumers are looking for fresh and flavoursome alternatives and that is exactly what Jon Smith Subs delivers.

QSR Media: How does Jon Smith Subs plan to differentiate itself from the Australian sandwich market and the fast casual industry as a whole?

There are many key factors that set Jon Smith Subs apart. At the forefront is the customer experience that will be provided. Uncommon in the fast-casual dining arena is table service, but at Jon Smith Subs restaurants, food is brought right to the table. Ingredients are fresh, never frozen, and grilled to order.

QSR Media: What are some of the challenges you see in the industry?

Finding suitable locations with competitive rent is always going to be challenging.

Jon Smith Subs’ Director for Emerging Brands Michael Cooke (Photo: Supplied)

QSR Media: Any particular goals that the brand has in mind already? (i.e. target number of sites, amount of franchisees)

Like many of our other brands, Jon Smith Subs will be expanding into most of Australia’s major markets including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin, among others.

We will initially build slow to ensure that we get it right and replicate our very successful US operations, we know that to build a successful franchise business is not an easy task, what we have learnt from years of operating other successful franchise businesses is that we always need to ensure our franchisees are the right fit for us and we are a right fit for them.

QSR Media: What will your brand look for in a franchisee?

Food experience would be a plus but not essential as we provide world class training and ongoing support.


Jon Smith Subs' signature Steak Bomb, which contains grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes & provolone. (Photo: Supplied)

QSR Media: Aside from your menu offerings and franchising acumen, what else would JSS leverage to make its presence felt in the country?

Jon Smith Subs will leverage our learnings from our very successful U.S. locations and replicate this in the Australian market. We will be actively marketing our product through free samples and a grand opening day sale, which will include an opening special to entice guests to our restaurants.

QSR Media: Where will the first Australian flagship site be?

The location of our “flagship location” is still in the process of being determined, what I can say is that we have a number of offers of intent with Landlords around the country, these locations are in high density areas with high foot traffic in major tourist areas in the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

QSR Media: Overall, where you see the brand in the next 3 years?

The brand will continue to grow and evolve in the Australian market and around the world and will become a household name in the future. 

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