Our mission is to help Subway® franchisees across Asia Pacific be more profitable and competitive – today and in the future.
Based on a successful model in North America, IPC Asia Pacific was established in 1998 by a small number of Subway Business Development Agents and franchisees in Australia and New Zealand who recognised the opportunity to save money and add value to Subway restaurants by consolidating their buying and distribution needs. The business quickly developed to reflect the very specific needs of the markets; environmentally, legally, and culturally and in 2010, the Franchisor asked the company to extend the business into the growing Asia markets.
Supporting Subway franchisees.
Over time, our role, responsibilities, and geographic reach has grown alongside the brand as we respond to franchisee’s needs and develop new and innovative ways to add value to their business. Today we operate on a global, regional, and local level to find the best quality products at the lowest possible prices. We also provide a range of support services, value-add initiatives, and retail technology solutions, expanding in each market as it matures.
In the FY19/20 financial year, IPC Asia Pacific delivered over (AUD) $19 million in savings for franchisees across the Asia Pacific region
We remain as committed to our mission today as we were in 1998 and today, we source and supply over 1,500 food, packaging, décor, equipment, and retail technology items to Subway restaurants across Asia Pacific.
An experienced team supporting Subway franchisees
We are a team of results driven experts who are highly focused on delivering value to franchisees. Focused on offering a range of products and services to drive efficiency, delivery value and provide support. For example, the TechNet team have an in-depth knowledge about Subway technology systems and pride themselves on their ability to deliver first time fixes for franchisees. While FinanceNet supports franchisees with all their financing needs through a deep understanding of the franchise business and empathy for their owners.
Provisioning approved products to Subway standards and specifications
We negotiate and contract with suppliers on behalf of franchisees across the region. With clearly defined roles and responsibilities we source products to the specification set by the Subway brand. When suppliers capable of providing the required products, in the volumes needed and to our pricing targets are found, these are then subject to the approval of the brand. This ‘freedom within a framework’ approach enforces global consistency of quality and production standards. Once approved, we are also responsible for monitoring and reporting on the ongoing quality of these production and quality standards. Subway’s specifications and operational guidelines ensure that franchisees deliver a great guest experience every single time. They encompass a broad range of disciplines from the critical aspects of food science and food safety, through to working with the brand marketing team to source new menu items and to ensure correct stock levels are forecast and supplied.
Roles and responsibilities
IPC Asia Pacific
Subway Brand Team
Purchases to Subway specifications and standards
Sources, negotiates, and manages suppliers and distribution partners
Works with suppliers to maintain standards
Sources products and services to support marketing and restaurant operations
Sets core product specifications and standards (food, décor, technology)
Approves suppliers and distributors
Sets and maintains quality standards
Creates and delivers to marketing plans
Manages restaurant operations
Providing end to end support to franchisees
Through our procurement and supply chain strategies we maximise on scale to provide the best quality products for the price, ensuring continuity of supply through contingent suppliers and an effective supply chain.
Our role also sees us looking at restaurant operations to creatively deploy products, services and solutions that lower costs or drive top-line sales for Subway franchisees.
Effective restaurant operations are vital to the guest experience and our team works with both suppliers and the Subway operations teams in each market to support the delivery of Subway’s guidelines on food storage, shelf life and preparation, hygiene, equipment use and maintenance.
In more recent years, Subway, like many other QSRs has embraced the role of retail technology and the IPC Asia Pacific team has grown to meet this need. As this sector evolves, we continue to source, support and enable operational alignment across a range of digital marketing and operational efficiency solutions that are both guest facing and back of house.
We started our journey into technology through our role in the sourcing and supply of approved POS hardware and card payment terminals. Today, this front-of-house restaurant technology extends into Digital Menu Boards, Subway Radio (in-restaurant music) and IPC Connect (secure back-of-house Wi-Fi).
Operationally, we also provide a range of technology-based services including Subway Surveillance (integrated surveillance systems), My Subway Career (employee hiring portals) and SubVentory (inventory management app).
Other value-added services are put in place to bridge the knowledge gap, such as employee relations advice through StaffNet or through well-crafted service offerings such as energy brokerage through EnergyNet.
Ensuring the products that move through the distribution process remain food safe, high quality and fit for purpose is paramount in our mission. QualityNet is a service provided for franchisees to support them with any food quality and distribution issues. IPC Asia Pacific provide a range of other support services, ‘the nets’ to assist franchisees run their restaurants effectively. These services include support for, equipment servicing, technical assistance, and financing needs. Whilst not currently available in every market, we continue to work on providing more of these services as markets mature.
How we work
Headquartered and incorporated in Sydney, Australia, we have registered offices across the region, with local procurement and supply chain teams in place and working closely with the regions’ Subway offices.
Central services, such as finance, technology and communications are provided to each of the markets from Australia and New Zealand. This approach is highly cost effective and enables many markets to benefit from skills and experience that they would otherwise struggle to afford.
In addition to the economies of scale that this approach provides, our financial model has been designed to ensure that our operating costs are funded out of the negotiated savings that we make in each market, ensuring that there are no direct costs to franchisees. We operate trading accounts for each of our registered offices, and fund the local teams from the volumes for each of the markets – growing our service and support options only as those market volumes grow in order to keep food cost as low as possible.
Where the business case is strong and the outcome has been shown to create efficiencies, add value or even drive top lines sales, our Board of Directors approves additional investments in programs and services. Across the region, these services vary according to the maturity of the market and whether its’ volume can support the cost of the services.
Initiatives created and supported to date include technical support, financial services, employment law and loyalty programs.
Each year we disclose our operating costs in our Annual Report and Accounts, returning excess income back to franchisees in a combination of ways. In Australia and New Zealand this takes the form of a Dividend. In Asia markets, this tends to be through a Distribution credit or refund from exchange rate management.
Independent Purchasing Company (Australasia) Limited is an Australian Public Company, limited by guarantee. Whilst our constitution states that the company is owned by Subway Franchisees in Australia and New Zealand, our purpose and our mission is consistent across all the markets that we serve – to drive franchisee profitability today and for the future.
A global approach
Where it makes good business sense, we operate a centralised approach, with the support of our network of IPC purchasing companies around the world, known as Unaterra. This benefits all parties involved and ensures we’re not bidding against each other for the same items. We use global, regional, and local volumes to drive supply chain strategies that provide high quality, approved products at the best price. We also work with the teams globally to share best practise and create operational efficiencies.