Before becoming a franchisee with Penn Station East Coast Subs, Bernie Marconi was no stranger to the restaurant industry. He spent 27 years working for KFC and Yum! Brands, including a role as a director of operations where he oversaw about 100 stores on the franchise side of the business. After nearly three decades with Yum! Brands, Marconi decided that he wanted to be a franchisee himself. When it came to finding the business ownership opportunity that was right for him, there was one brand that stood out: Penn Station East Coast Subs.
“There were a few things that inspired the change from Yum! Brands to Penn Station East Coast Subs,” Marconi said. “One was that I was very impressed with the quality of the food. The other major factor that helped me make the decision to become a franchisee was the brand’s financial performance. After doing a bit of research and looking at the financials behind the business model, I was impressed with the operating income returns and the financial strength of the P&L statement.”
With over 315 units running across 15 states, Marconi is far from the only franchisee who decided that Penn Station East Coast Subs provides its local owners with a strong investment opportunity. It’s not just the business side of the concept that draws franchisees in – what separates Penn Station East Coast Subs from other sandwich concepts is its commitment to top-tier food and ingredients.
“Again, it’s the quality of our food. We have 14 different sandwiches, fresh cut fries and fresh squeezed lemonade – these are signature products that no one else has in the industry,” Marconi said.
Penn Station East Coast Subs also affords its franchisees a low overhead and streamlined operations in order to simplify and encourage multi-unit ownership. Currently, Marconi operates two Penn Station East Coast Subs restaurants in Michigan – one in Rochester and one in Clinton Charter Township. And he says that since becoming a Penn Station East Coast Subs franchisee in 2002 and launching his two restaurants, the brand’s corporate team has been supportive every step of the way. He’s also evaluating sites for a possible third location.
Marconi said, “The support from Penn Station East Coast Subs’ corporate team has been fabulous. Over the past 16 years, there have been a few times when we’ve really needed their support, and everyone – including the President of the company, Craig Dunaway – was right there for us. I really believe that he walks in the shoes of the franchisees so that he can lend a tremendous level of support to help local owners make a strong income as they build out their stores.”
What allows franchisees to realize their full potential and see a positive return on their investment is Penn Station East Coast Subs’ strong recruiting process. According to Marconi, the brand builds its strength by exclusively bringing on local owners or investment teams that have a level of experience in the restaurant industry.
“One of the biggest things that I love about Penn Station East Coast Subs in addition to the quality of the food is the fact that you have to be an operator. The brand doesn't recruit anybody into the system, they must have restaurant experience, and I think this alone is a big reason Penn Station is successful,” said Marconi. “That thorough franchisee selection process is what makes this brand consistent across the board. When you walk into any Penn Station East Coast Subs restaurant, you can be sure that the franchise system’s high standards are going to be upheld because of the caliber of franchisees running each location.”
Going forward, Marconi plans to continue working alongside other members of the Penn Station East Coast Subs team to continue building on his location’s momentum and experience even more success. That’s another reason why Marconi loves being a part of the brand’s franchise system – being a part of an experienced team and proven business model creates a strong competitive advantage.
“Every member of the Penn Station East Coast Subs system works well together as a team. From corporate support to franchisees helping one another, we work together in the system to create a business model that’s beneficial for the people operating each restaurant,” Marconi said. “For me, that builds success for the brand.”