EXCLUSIVE: Subway’s dishwasher roll-out programme picks up pace

Subway has struck a three-year agreement with Hobart that will see the latest warewashing equipment made available to its franchisees across the UK and Europe.

The warewashers will be a mandatory fixture in new and remodelled Subway stores as part of a move expected to save operators time, improve efficiency and drive profitability.

Roll-out is now firmly underway across the UK and the continent in what is one of the most comprehensive warewashing equipment initiatives the quick service restaurant sector has ever seen.

Subway research found that staff spend a disproportionate amount of their cleaning time — up to 30% in some cases — washing the daily items they use to prepare food by hand.

By bringing more automation to the process, Subway hopes to free up workers from what was a time-consuming and laborious activity, allowing them to spend more time front-of-store serving customers.

It will also provide a number of additional and equally important advantages, not least in terms of hygiene compliance and food safety due to the consistency of wash that a commercial dishwasher offers.

The specification, testing and roll-out of the Hobart dishwashers follows an extensive two-year programme overseen by the European Independent Purchasing Company (IPC Europe), the non-profit-making organisation that is collectively owned by Subway franchisees in Europe.

It manages more than £1.5 billion worth of contracts on behalf of the Subway European estate, overseeing the purchasing and supply of Subway specified and approved food, packaging, equipment and business solutions.

IPC Europe was given the task of sourcing a commercial dishwasher supplier that could meet all the company’s operational and service requirements and be fully integrated into the existing Subway supply chain, comprising more than 5,400 stores across Europe in total.

Hobart will now serve as the sole approved dishwasher supplier for Subway in the UK and Europe, with the QSR brand working with its consolidation partners, Duke Manufacturing and H&K International, to ensure availability.

“The deal that we have put in place means franchisees can either access it via the consolidation network or direct in local market,” explains Laura Bird, equipment and decor purchasing manager at IPC Europe. “We have negotiated a three-year warranty as standard, with one PPM visit to include consumables parts change over.”

The Hobart dishwasher that Subway franchisees will use is the FX-15A, which is part of Hobart’s Profi range of undercounter machines. It has been tailored specifically to Subway requirements at the manufacturer’s main factory in Offenburg, Germany.

The dishwasher will predominantly be used in Subway stores to clean the tools and utensils used to prepare its menu. This includes the majority of items used for the salad section, tongs, servers, containers, cookie trays and the breadforms, which are used to hold dough. Even tomato slicers can go through the machine.

Mrs Bird accepts there will be an element of “needing to change hearts and minds” as franchisees have been accustomed to a different operating process up to now.

“It is certainly one of the biggest challenges, but the franchisees who have converted to dishwashers are seeing the benefits and we are receiving very positive testimonials. They are saying it’s as if they have an extra pair of hands in the store.”

Read the latest issue of FEJ, available here as a digital edition, for more details on the roll-out.

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