Warriors’ supporters may be served by a couple of very familiar figures if they pop into the recently-opened Sangers Deli in Infirmary Walk this summer.
Hooker Niall Annett and loosehead prop Ethan Waller are not only team-mates in Warriors’ front-row but they are now also business partners in the thriving new venture under the railway arches.
While Warriors players have a break before pre-season training resumes next month, Annett and Waller will be busy working in Sangers serving up delicious gourmet sandwiches and their own Oddkin blend coffee.
“Niall is from Belfast and there they have a sandwich shop pretty much on every corner. We don’t really have that in England. We both despise meal deals and we wanted to bring something to Worcester that was not there,” Waller said.
“We do all sorts of sandwiches. Our biggest seller is the Steak and Cheese Sanger, which is medium-rare beef, chutney, cheese and garlic aioli.
“The New Deli Sanger is also very popular which is a Madras mayo, cooked chicken breast, some fresh spices and mango all on locally baked bread.
“All our meat is locally produced so it’s as much of a celebration of Worcester and Worcestershire as we can make it.
“Setting up a business it’s not easy. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through, particularly where food hygiene is concerned.
“We were lucky in that our business partner had the arch available from a previous business as a gym so we basically put in a change of use and started cracking on with the work.
“We completely gutted it during one of our weeks off, did as much decorating as we could before we had to call in the big guns for plumbing and electrics.
“Now it’s a fully-functioning sandwich shop and it’s something we are very proud of.
“We have three staff at the moment and we are looking for a couple more part-timers to help spread the load.
“We want to be hands-on owners, we don’t want to be sat in the background. It’s something we are passionate about. We want to make it as homely as possible so when we can, we will be in here to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Waller already has previous experience of the food business having run a mobile pizza business, Slice Slice Baby with his brother Alex, the Northampton Saints prop.
As the recently-elected Chairman of the Rugby Players Association, Waller is aware of the need for players to plan for life after rugby and at Warriors the support of Lynette Cutting, the club’s Education Officer, has been invaluable.
“We are lucky in rugby. It is a full-time job and it is intense while we are there but it does give us some time to work on things outside of rugby,” he said.
“You’d be foolish not to have something in the pipeline because rugby can all end tomorrow. We saw that with Michael Fatialofa, one injury can turn your world upside down.
“I’m not saying that him having a business would have stopped that. But having a business does give you a contingency if something does go wrong and rugby is no longer there.
“Luckily the majority of lads at the club are proactive. Lynette Cutting is brilliant and our new RPA rep Luke Cheyne has also been fantastic.
“We are probably one of the better clubs for that and it has been reflected in the local community and long may that continue.
“Lynette is phenomenal in what she does. It is reflected in all the lads who have businesses, who are in education and who have gained various educational and vocational qualifications such as the financial advisor course which I am also on. She is very adamant that you should have something else and I couldn’t agree with her more.”