Student Center SUBWAY receives national recognition

Jim Ridolfo helps set up an interview with Ron Leshman in Lexington, Ky., on Monday, October 7, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff

Jim Ridolfo helps set up an interview with Ron Leshman in Lexington, Ky., on Monday, October 7, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff

Claire Johnson

Long lines are characteristic of almost all restaurants in the Student Center.

But a seemingly mile-long line that extends out the door is evident of one restaurant’s particular popularity.

High traffic at the Student Center SUBWAY is one of the reasons why the restaurant was nationally recognized this month.

The restaurant received the Single Unit Owner/Operator Award for the South Mid-Atlantic Region, one of 22 worldwide regions, Student Center Food Court manager Elizabeth Petty said.

This franchise of SUBWAY was recognized as one of their top restaurants out of more than 40,000 located in more than 100 countries worldwide, according to the SUBWAY website.

The customer service, affordable pricing and  overall atmosphere the employees strive to create are all factors that contributed to SUBWAY’s recognition, Petty said.

A SUBWAY student trainer and business marketing junior Dia Smith said working behind the counter is fast-paced and non-stop, and that winning an award makes the employees feel accomplished.

“It definitely makes us feel better, especially since we have to do it all by hand,” Smith said.

Petty said that all the SUBWAYs on campus combined see about 1,000 customers per day Monday through Thursday, and 800 customers combined on Fridays.

At least 70 to 75 percent of those customers come during lunch rush.

Those 1,000 customers are broken down between the Student Center and the SUBWAY Cart in the Engineering Complex, 800 and 200 respectively, Petty said.

She said all the bread is baked daily, around 14,000 pieces.

Employees said the atmosphere in the restaurant is what contributed to its success.

“I think it’s our customer service,” Smith said. “They can sense we’re having a good time.”

Petty said the employees try to make the experience at SUBWAY better for customers.

One way they did this was by keeping the restaurant open at night and accepting meal swipes.

A reason for the constant lines are popular sales like the  $5 Footlongs, which bring even longer lines in September, also known as “Sub-tember,” Petty said.

Senior Lindsey Himes said the line takes a while, but she appreciates that they always get her order right and that more student employees have started working there this year.

“It’s an atmosphere that they should work in,” Himes said. “Student employees can relate better with student customers.”

Petty agreed, noting the importance of customer interaction.

“It’s more than just serving food,” Petty said. “(We have to go) the extra mile to make somebody’s day.”