Running a sandwich – how to buy and run a sandwich shop

run a sandwich shop

Running a sandwich shop – how to buy and run a sandwich shop

If owning a hotel isn’t for you or if you are selling your hotel, running a sandwich shop is worth a look!

One of my neighbours who has sold his hotel recently decided to branch out into retail catering. He bought an established sandwich shop in a busy shopping /commuting area. Moving from the hotelier lifestyle into retail is a shock to the system although both occupations have one thing in common – a VERY early start to the day.

The previous owner of the sandwich shop almost talked herself out of selling the business when my friend viewed the shop. It seemed that she was absolutely fed up with running a sandwich shop as she repeatedly told him that it was such hard work, customers were awful, so much food wastage, the council were always checking up on her (maybe she was writing a book about ‘How Not To Sell Your Business’). Despite this,  my friend has now owned the sandwich shop for over a year and thoroughly enjoys it. Here’s some helpful hints if you are thinking of running a sandwich shop.

  • Buy an established business – it may seem cost effective to buy/lease an empty shop and convert it to a sandwich shop. But equipping a catering business from scratch is an expensive project. In addition, you will need planning permission from the council for change of use of the premises. A currently trading business has equipment, licences, permissions already in place as well as an existing customer base.
  • Consider the location – if you are on a busy high street, your operating hours will be different than if your shop is in a business or industrial park
  • A typical day for the owner of a sandwich shop commences with a very early start. If you want to attract customers who are on their way to work you need to be open and ready to serve by 8am.

My friend runs his shop with his partner. They open five days a week, Monday to Friday. Saturdays are not viable as the majority of their customers are passing commuters and workers from a nearby large office. Although the shop isn’t open, his working week starts on Sunday afternoon with a visit to the wholesalers to top up on essential such as mayonnaise, tinned food, bacon, sausages, cooking oil, serviettes etc as well as sundry stock i.e confectionery, crisps, cold drinks.

Each day,  he is at the shop by 6am – here’s the morning job list;

  • Wipe down all surfaces – the shop is thoroughly cleaned after close of business on the last day of the week but a quick run over with anti bac spray is necessary.
  • New stock is booked in/ recorded in line with compulsory record keeping.
  • Fridge temperatures checked
  • Switch everything on – bain marie, grills, hotplates etc, coffee machine, water heater
  • Prep sandwich fillers and extras – Tuna mayo, egg mayo, grated cheese, cooked meats, salad.
  • Top up condiments – he uses sauce bottles as sachets are an expensive ‘freebie’ handout.
  • Top up cold drinks, crisps, confectionary
  • Prepare till float

As you can see, there is quite a lot of work prior to opening at 8am – these jobs usually take two people approximately two hours.

His shop is open until 2pm. There’s at least an hour of cleaning following closing. Then there is cashing up and banking. Twice a week he visits Asda to buy bread,  salad and milk. If it is reduced in price, he bulk buys loaves of bread and  stores it in the freezer.

Despite the long hours, a sandwich shop can be a profitable and enjoyable venture.  You can view sandwich shops for sale in Blackpool at and