Q&A The Women of Subway: Learning from the experience of women franchise owners from around the world.

Author:Parker, Andrew

Subway Restaurants boasts a substantial number of women- and minority-owned franchise owners whose diversity helped a small sandwich shop in Connecticut grow into a nearly 45,000-unit global powerhouse. As part of our focus on women in the franchise community, Franchising World asked six women who own Subway franchises about the best practices for women franchisees in the food and restaurant industry. Read more responses at franchise. org/franchising-world-articles.

FW: What is your background and why did you decide to become a Subway franchise owner?

Montserrat Odio: As a widow with three small children, I faced uncertainty. This business gave me the opportunity to achieve stability and the satisfaction of honoring the legacy of my late husband, who was one of the founding partners of Subway in the country. Today, approximately 60 percent of Subway employees in Costa Rica are female. Many of them are single and the head of household for their families.

JoAnn Bachewicz: I chose Subway because of the business opportunities. The Subway system is gender-neutral. It gave me the chance to own my own business and gain financial independence. Today, I own 12 restaurants and I'm still a business development agent, overseeing 255 restaurants in northwestern Illinois and Indiana.

Debora Carpenter: I first joined Subway in 1986 as a sandwich artist in Texas. Six months later, I was asked to join the South Central Texas Development Agent Office as a field consultant. I had learned so much in that role that I wanted to venture into the franchise business. My father was retiring, so I suggested he purchase a Subway restaurant, and from there it became a family business and full-time career. Today, my husband and I own 30 Subway restaurants and, as a development agent, I oversee 177 restaurants in Nebraska and South Dakota.

FW: Why do you feel it's important to promote and empower women in franchising, and encourage women to become franchise owners?

Shahida Sadiq: I believe every woman has the power to be anything she wants, whether it's managing a household or a business, which are very similar. All positions require the strength to get up every day and a belief in getting the job done. Women have a strong mindset--they are willing to take risks and tackle challenges. In my restaurant, we have people from all different backgrounds who speak different languages. We encourage our team to celebrate their differences while working together.

Nayanika Barker...

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