Country's hot Subs
- small budget
- fast food / sandwich shop
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I have often made allusion to the kebab throughout this section devoted to small budgets because it is the perfect model in its category : very little floor space required, low investment, few basic ingredients therefore very little stock, an end-product you can take-away, it’s filling and can be sold at a low price while making a large profit. Absolute perfection.
The kebab market is reaching saturation, but not that of the sandwich or street-food.
I’m going to show you how to set up a business and make a profit from the sandwich Eldorado with minimum investment. When we come up with ideas for the catering business we rarely really invent something new from scratch. What we do is we transpose, we import, we change the presentation or the place we sell it. Take McDonald’s for example; they invented neither the beef burgers nor the bap, neither the fries nor the sandwich. And yet they’ve done pretty well for themselves, haven’t they? What I’m proposing here is to get a type of food onto the high street; a type of food that has been around forever yet it’s not available on our streets. When I go to big agricultural fairs or international trade fairs there is always at least one stand selling delicious hot sandwiches, the smell alone is mouth-watering. The highlight of these sandwich stands is the cooked ham, carved into nice thick slices and heated on a griddle, served in a baguette.
The fried onions are optional but it’s their smell that attracts so many customers. A little mustard is all you need. Some of these stands also propose country-style sausages of an excellent quality, waiting warm on a bed of fried onions along-side the chitterling sausages.
A range of cold sandwiches are also on offer, all made from hearty regional or local produce. It’s crazy, these sandwiches are only available at fairs or shows! But you are going to change that. You are going to get this concept into the street!
A few remarks about the basic ingredients you’ll need: a whole ham cooked on the bone (I mean the real thing, not that square shaped stuff sitting on the electric slicer in your local supermarket) can be found in suppliers at a price that will allow you to sell your sandwich for the same price as a kebab. Restaurant suppliers sell peeled and chopped onions either vacuum-packed or frozen (I wouldn’t dream of making you cry!). Good quality pork sausages aren’t too expensive either. The chitterling sausages are sold at varying prices so you’ll have to test a few and choose the best value for money. Some good quality cold sandwiches will complete your menu. Obviously, a plain ham sandwich (butter the bread) using that excellent cooked ham of yours. An absolute must is a foie-gras sandwich served either plain or with a little onion relish. Make sandwiches using rosette, cured ham, pate, rillettes… but I must emphasize the pork meats (charcuterie) you use must be of excellent quality. The customer is nobody’s fool and most will be happy to pay a little extra for a really good sandwich, after all it(s just a sandwich and won’t cost the earth!
Don’t serve any of the usual boring sandwiches such as chicken salad or tuna salad, this is not what your customers want from you, you’ll only distract attention from your specialities and your turnover will drop.
Provide a small range of desserts unless you can find good quality regional pastries such as cannelés, far Breton, tarte normande…
The beverages you serve will be the same as elsewhere i.e. small bottles of water and cans of soda. You could stock some small screw-topped bottles of wine (like the ones served by airlines) provided you can get them at a decent price.
Now for the location. You’ll need to pick up a pedestrian clientele so look for a busy. Shopping district with lots of offices around, proximity to a station or a university would be good too. Ideally you should aim for the centre of a town of at least 100,000 inhabitants. That said, this concept which requires such low investment would also adapt well to a seasonal demand. I reckon a busy ski-resort would work well and why not a sea-side resort?
You won’t need a large premises. From a real estate point of view, you need a premises the same size as a kebab restaurant with direct access onto a busy street. Check out the regulations concerning smoke extraction.
No need to spend a lot on lay-out and decoration. Try to buy the kitchen material second-hand. Perhaps you could paint your shop front in colors which bring to mind country-fresh food.
I certainly hope a lot of you will be tempted to launch this idea, it’s been ages since I last had decent ham and onion sandwich, I’m already looking forward to tasting yours!