The world's largest restaurant chain by outlet numbers, Subway, has announced that it is honouring London businessman Hamed Al-Naqeeb with the President's Award for 2012.
The award was presented to Mr Al-Naqeeb at the Subway 2012 convention in Orlando by the brand's legendary co-founder and president, Fred DeLuca.
Mr Al-Naqeeb's journey to entrepreneurial success via the franchise model has been an interesting one. Born in Kuwait, he came from a family-owned business background, focused on manufacturing. After moving to the UK, he used his entrepreneurial knowledge and experience to become a franchisee for Subway, investing in three London restaurants to start with and later transitioning into a franchise development agent role.
Hamed Al-Naqeeb is now responsible for developing and managing a large geographical franchise territory for the Subway brand, offering his experience and skills to help new franchisees launch and operate successful businesses. His territory has more than 200 stores and stretches across Greater London. Plans within his region include 25 new restaurant openings this year and between 30 and 35 new openings every year thereafter.
As a recipient of the honoured Subway President's Award, Mr Al-Naqeeb has been formally recognised for his abilities in implementing innovative franchise-management programmes throughout the UK which have further developed on the brand's menu offer, customer convenience and service proposition.
Fred DeLuca explained that Hamed was known for being a highly gifted innovator, who had worked closely with the brand HQ to develop a range of concepts to improve profitability across Subway's 37,000 stores. His innovative approach was noted for stemming from a customer-needs perspective, such as highlighting London's growing Muslim population who required specific menus to meet their dietary preferences.
As a result, around 30% of the Subway restaurants in Mr Al-Naqeeb's management territory now offer Halal-approved menus to better serve the needs of this group. He also created the innovative Subway Express Mobile app, which allows customers to place an order via their mobile phones. This app has now been downloaded over 25,000 times.
The creative development didn't stop there, however. The Airline Sub Program was developed in his territory in response from enquiries from a number of airlines and a range of Subway sandwiches are now offered as a package for in-flight meals. The cookie program was also the brainchild of Mr Al-Naqeeb, along with the development of a Subway platter offer, a contemporary new interior decor in his area restaurants and a mobile Subway kiosk.
So how does this year's President's Award winner explain his tremendous success? By loving new things and creative challenges which lead to the team's appetite to improve things and try new methods. By nature an innovator and tremendously hard worker with the appetite to succeed and develop a high-performing team, Hamed Al-Naqeeb really does show what can be achieved by franchisees looking to grow their own businesses and reap the rewards of self-employment in the franchise industry.