Bigger in Texas: Lone Star Operator Continues to Add Brands

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Eric Werner seems to believe the legend as he continues building his empire in the Lone Star State.

We last visited with Werner in 2008 when he had just signed a deal with the up-and-coming LA Sunset Tan franchise. He had just become one of the brand's first franchisees and an area developer for the Dallas area. He's quite familiar with the Texas market because he's been operating dozens of Subways there for almost 20 years. When we checked back with him recently to see how things were going, his vivacious response was, "Of course everything is going very well!"

He currently operates 56 Subways, with plans to open three more this year. Sales, he says, have been up dramatically the past 3 years thanks to the 'Any $5 Footlong' promo and solid operations.

"I may have owned a few more Subways when you did the last profile, but I had some great offers to buy some of my stores so I sold them," he says. "However, my long-term goal is to own 70 high-volume Subway stores with strong operations and high profitability."

He's also happy with his LA Sunset Tan salon, which he said took some time to reach a revenue goal he was satisfied with. "This last year was an incredible record-breaking year, so now I plan on opening at least one LA Sunset Tan every year in the DFW area for the next 20 years. Within the next 10 years I should have 15 salons open in the DFW area."

He says LA Sunset Tan has in some ways turned out to be his most satisfying endeavor because it's "a fun business that's so easy to operate," he says. "It's totally different in that you have to build your membership up just like a gym, but by the time we entered our third year we were extremely profitable," he says. "I truly can't wait to see what happens in 2012! It's one of the best kept secrets out there in franchising."

As if all of this was not enough, he recently opened a Mooyah Burger & Fries in his home base of Killeen, Texas. "I like the concept and the food is way better than 5 Guys Burgers and Fries and Smashburger." He's taking a wait-and-see approach to additional Mooyah locations. He wants to see how his Killeen location--home to the Army's Fort Hood--does after all the military return from deployment.

And that's just the business side of Werner. On the personal side, his wife is pregnant... again. It's their ninth.

Name: Eric Werner
Title: CEO
Company: Texas Subs (Subway); DFW Tanning (LA Sunset Tan); Benchmark Burgers (Mooyah Burgers & Fries)
No. of units: 56 Subways, 1 LA Sunset Tan with a second scheduled to open in 2012, 1 Mooyah Burger

Published: July 25th, 2012

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