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How to open a Sandwich Shop in the UK

By Maria Hickey on August 24th, 2022

The sandwich has revolutionised the food industry, and sandwiches have become a daily staple for millions of people. Whether it is a delicious BLT with a frothy coffee on a lunch break, or egg and cress triangles on a buffet spread at a summer wedding, the sandwich is an excellent, flexible, and versatile food choice to base a business on.

If you are planning to launch a sandwich shop business in your local town, there are a few things to get in place to meet the rules and regulations that govern food outlets, plus ensuring you have the right Sandwich Shop Insurance coverage to protect your business.

Here we offer six top tips to help you launch your sandwich shop on the right foot and fulfil your dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Six Tips For Running A Sandwich Shop

You may have plenty of small sandwich shop ideas in your head, but it makes sense to approach your new business in an organised way where every aspect has been considered.

While it could take some time to see any sandwich shop profits, being properly prepared will help the process become more streamlined and efficient, leading to a reliable income stream sooner than you think.

1: Have A Business Plan:

Writing a business plan for your sandwich business helps define your goals, find your niche and weigh up your competition. Every new business needs to write a well-researched business plan to help guide them through the early stages of establishing its company and keeping them focused on its goals.

Doing research about your direct competition can be invaluable. For example, if you discover that you will be launching a new sandwich shop in an already saturated marketplace, you may find it challenging to carve out a slice for yourself.

You will also need to factor in how much it will cost to get your sandwich shop up and running. This includes all the fixtures, fitting and equipment you will need. For example:

  • Cash tills from £100
  • General kitchen utensils £300 or so
  • Glass countertop £1000 – £2300
  • Glassdoor drinks display fridge from £500
  • Integral multi-deck refrigerator display £1600

You will need to work out how much your sandwich products will cost to make and how much you will sell them for. Compare prices among other similar businesses to get an idea of what people are prepared to pay for their sandwiches and use this as a guide when setting your prices.

Once your prices are set, work out how many sandwiches you will need to sell to cover all your costs and make a profit on top.

Writing your sandwich shop business plan can help you to spot gaps in the market where you might carve out a profitable niche. For example, you may discover a hungry crowd of target customers for your sandwiches in an industrial estate or office block just outside town. Selling sandwiches to offices can be very lucrative for creating a sustainable long-term business.

2: Study Your Customers:

Defining your target customers is essential as these will be your business’s bread and butter (excuse the pun). You will need to grow an established base of core customers to keep your business turning over daily.

Customer feedback is an essential tool to help your business grow. Offer plenty of ways for your customers to leave feedback. You can encourage them to write product reviews on your website and create surveys and questionnaires on your social media pages where you can offer a voucher code for a free sandwich or cupcake with their next purchase for their submission.

You can use your customer feedback data to define your most popular menu items, look at your sales to spot your busiest times of day, and what sells well at certain times, such as sweet pastries and bacon rolls first thing in the morning and chicken tikka baguettes at lunch etc.

3: Focus on Your Menu:

Creating an appealing menu that appeals to a wide range of tastes is essential if you want your business to succeed. However, to make you stand out from the crowd and differentiate yourself from your competition, you should have a signature sandwich product that is a speciality offering that no one else is doing.

While creating your menu around popular, tried and tested sandwich shop staples is sensible, you can vary your menu to keep your customers engaged and interested in trying your new products.

For example, offering seasonal variations with a twist can make your sandwich shop more popular than your competition. Think along the lines of turkey and stuffing baguettes with cranberry sauce, a hand-decorated gingerbread Santa, and a drink, as a Christmas meal deal.

4: Protect Your Business with Insurance:

When you open any food manufacturing and retailing business in the UK, you will need to adhere to many health and safety rules and regulations, as well as maintain high hygiene levels to satisfy the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which is the body invested with government responsibility for all food safety standards.

You can source plenty of free advice and information from the FSA to help you start your sandwich shop. They offer tailored information packs to caterers that will help you comply with this sector’s specific laws and requirements. The pack covers all critical areas for serving food, including contamination, cleaning, chilling, cooking, management and keeping a food diary.

You must also register your sandwich shop with the local authorities, and you can – in all probability, you will – face environmental health food hygiene inspections in the future.

Another essential requirement to protect your business is to have the proper insurance for sandwich shops to meet your needs. If you plan to employ staff, you are required by law to have employers’ liability insurance, which will protect your business should a member of staff fall ill or get injured while working for your business.

You should also get public liability insurance because you will welcome customers into your shop. This insurance will cover your legal expenses, and any compensation payouts should a customer make a claim against you for an injury they sustain while on your premises.

Product liability insurance is also a must with a sandwich-shop business. If a customer gets food poisoning after eating your products, they can claim damages, loss of earnings while recovering and more.

5: Consider a franchise:

Suppose you are a budding entrepreneur looking to start a sandwich shop business but think you might struggle with the total costs and responsibility of doing everything yourself. In that case, investing in a franchise may be a good move.

Although the sandwich shop won’t entirely be your own business, a franchise will still allow you much independence and the opportunity to make your dreams come true with much lower start-up costs. Buying a franchise is an excellent way to get your business off the ground where the average start-up costs may be too much for you to afford.

Don’t forget that doing things independently will mean you will be waiting for a very long time without any savings (and maybe carrying a lot of debt) before you establish consistent revenue to cover your costs and break even. A franchise option will see much lower set-up costs and faster returns on your money.

6: Marketing:

Getting the word out there about your new sandwich shop business is much easier today than ever before. You can easily create a fantastic-looking website for your sandwich shop and fill it with delectable shots of your menu item to make your customer’s mouths water.

Setting up social media pages for your sandwich shop is also a great way to showcase your new menu items and promote daily or weekly specials and news about your shop.

Attending local business networking meetings is also a great way to introduce your sandwich shop to local business owners that may welcome regular lunchtime deliveries. If you want to expand into catering for parties and special events, making friends with your local business community is a great way to get booking for business meetings, corporate events and office parties.


If you want to start up your own sandwich shop and you already have your eye on an affordable retail property with plenty of foot traffic for passing trade, you may be on to a winner!

As long as you research to ensure you have plenty of potential customers nearby, create a detailed business plan and dedicate some time to raising awareness of your shop through local marketing and social media, this could be the best decision of your life. Are you starting a new venture? Let us assist you in understanding the essential business insurance requirements for your industry.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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