Owners Alex Olah and Engara Gosselin say they spent much time thinking about opening a healthy eatery on the island, similar in style to the Subway franchise stores in New Zealand. And this year, they decided to do something about it.
Olah manages family business Arorangi Timberland Ltd and Gosselin works as a customer service agent at Air New Zealand. The couple grew up in Rarotonga and studied at University of the South Pacific in Fiji.
“We now have a two-year-old daughter, and another new business that we are excited about,” Gosselin said.
The entrepreneurial pair owns ‘Top Dogz’, a mobile eating station which Olah says it was only ever intended for events, footy games and other occasions.
“After it had been open for some time, we noticed that there was a change in people’s interest in healthy eating and we followed their goals of being healthier, as everyone should.”
Olah said they put a lot of thought into their new venture and now Subs and Treats is a flourishing side business for them.
“We wanted to create a place where people could choose a healthy option and pick their fillings. That is what Subway offers and our concept is much like it. But we are not copying them – we wanted to be original.”
Subway stores use the latest cooking technology and can get their bread rolls and fillings warmed quickly, but matching that speed didn’t prove difficult for Olah and Gosselin.
“Our aim is to get each person’s sub/wrap made within six or seven minutes. At the moment it is roughly 6-10 minutes,” Olah said.
Since the opening, business has been “crazy” and the team at Subs and Treats work hard to be efficient as possible.
Gosselin does all the food prep, cooking and set up early in the morning and has equipped each of the hard-working staff members to do their jobs efficiently.
They prefer to source their food products locally.
“We don’t import anything ourselves. We support Prime Foods as they source a lot of their meat locally. We buy fresh produce from the markets and our bread from our local bakeries.”
The eatery aims to have everything prepared fresh daily, Gosselin said.
“We ensure our menu is as fresh as possible with a wide range of healthy goods.”
However, there is also a range of delicious desserts for those who want a sugary fix.
“We encourage everyone to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle but everyone deserves to have a treat every once and a while.”
Caramel slices, éclairs, cheese cakes and the famous “crazy shakes” are a must-try.
Subs and Treats’ hut is next to the playground - a prime family location, and the business tries to have something to cater for a wide range of tastes.
“We are looking to add to our menu continually and now a lot of our development is due to customer feedback,” Olah said.
“Some people requested lean meats like grilled chicken, turkey and meats with higher protein, and as we look to expand we are thinking of more healthy selections and what better service we can provide.”
Olah and Gosselin also plan to outsource healthy produce that other businesses sell.
“We really want to work with other local businesses to showcase what they offer as well.
“Some food businesses don’t have a retail outlet, and this way they can get more exposure,” Olah added.
The couple will still operate Top Dogz during special events and rugby games, but in the meantime, Subs and Treats is the place to go for a healthy tasting lunch and delicious goodies.
“As a team, it is awesome for us to be able to combine our passions and creativity to make this business successful.
Olah and Gosselin appreciate all the help and assistance they have received from family and friends.
“Their inspiration, contributions, ideas and support have helped us get to where we are today and big thanks to all the officials with getting us through the approval process,” Olah said.
Subs and Treats is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10am-3pm, and Saturdays from 8am to 2pm. You can call them on 50814.