Martin Watson relies on family ties, loyal staffers to keep business booming at the sandwich shop.
That’s because Watson became a Lenny’s employee in 2007 and worked at the sub shop he now owns. He knows his shop from every angle and now is looking at it from a different position as owner.
“I knew how to be an operator at a high level. As an owner, it’s been different. I’ve looked into business development and how to grow,” he says. “Expansion is definitely a part of the plan. It’s important.”
The former social worker knew Len Moore, who opened the first Lenny’s Sub Shop in 1998 in Tennessee, and his son and appreciated their mission to produce delicious, quality subs.
Watson has done well with the brand and “we’re looking to grow at this point. We’re really confident about where the brand is going.”
Expansion is on the horizon for Watson, but sales figures aren’t the only way he measures success.
“Mostly it’s about the people who work with me,” he says. “I say to my staff, ‘You don’t work for me, I work for you.’ Loyalty is important, and the way we do business is vital. … The success of those around me and how they develop is what’s really important to me.”
The business is “definitely a family affair,” he says. His wife helps out and his sister is the marketing director. “My father also helps out on the periphery.”
Being part of the Lenny’s family for so many years ensures Watson knows the system and appreciates its support base for him and his sub shop. He understands what Lenny’s is and what it can be.
“I’m on a first-name basis with so many people in corporate. They are very responsive and helpful. I understand the culture there, and now I’m on the other side and I have a better understanding of how they do business,” he says. “Their vision for the future, their understanding of where we need to be — I think we are on the precipice of something great.”