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Hispanic Entrepreneur Achieves Dream of Owning a Business, Becomes Successful Subway Franchisee
According to the Latino Chamber of Commerce, Latino-owned companies in the U.S., currently estimated at 4.2 million, contribute more than $668 billion to the economy every year. In fact, the five-year average growth rate in the number of Latino firms has been at double or triple that of the national average for the past 15 years, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI).
In the quick-service restaurant (QSR) business, Hispanic-owned franchises duplicate a family-oriented structure with support and specialized training for success.
Los Angeles, CA native Mark Hernandez is among those successful Hispanic entrepreneurs contributing big to the U.S. economy, achieving his life-long “American Dream” of becoming a business owner as a Subway franchise owner. For Hernandez, working in a restaurant has always been a passion, having grown up working in restaurants his whole life, and then working throughout the Subway system for the last 15 years in roles such as a district manager.
So when he had the chance to participate in a unique Subway program that led him on the path toward becoming a franchisee and marrying his entrepreneurship dream with his restaurant passion, he jumped at it.
Through Subway’s manager development program, Hernandez had the opportunity to “take it to a different level” and buy his own restaurant, Subway Restaurant #4801, and build the business.
“It’s been a dream for me to own my own restaurant,” Hernandez says. “When I was seven years old, my parents owned a little restaurant, and I was brought up helping with it. So this is coming full circle in my life. Working in a restaurant has always been a passion.
“I feel like everything I’ve done in my life so far will help me with this business. I used to coach high school sports, teaching kids how to be successful, and guiding them in the right direction. That’s also what you do in the restaurant: guide people, train employees, help them move in the right direction.”
Mark credits BDA Bob Grewal with helping him get into the program. “I’ve seen the high expectations the Grewals set, and I can bring that to the restaurant, too.”
“It’s clear Mark is excited about this opportunity,” comments Bob Grewal. “You can see the difference he’s already making. We look forward to seeing where Mark will take his restaurant in the future!”
Almost immediately, Mark began making big changes, including organizing, deep cleaning, making repairs and bringing in his own experienced team to give the restaurant a fresh start.
His motto is to stick to the basics. “We make great sandwiches, we make fresh bread. Our products are fresh. Also, keep your restaurant clean - people will see that. And look at your front line - where’s your customer service? Are your guests coming into a welcoming environment? If you do that well, your business will succeed - that’s what Subway is all about,” he says.
He used fliers and coupons to promote the restaurant’s new management. He also built a relationship with the local high school right from the start, which yielded repeat catering business. Hernandez’s hustle resulted in a 3% bump in sales the first two weeks in operation and put the business in the black.
Plus, “I’m also hearing positive things from people who have come in. We’re under new ownership, and we stay positive and excited,” he notes.
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