Monday, January 7, 2008

Taking the Subway

I just got done eating at a Subway Restaurant. I have liked these places since the first place I ate at in Columbus Ohio. I like the fact that their employees are called "Sandwich Artist." Not a chef, or a prep cook, or bus boy, these Artists use their creative abilities to make and deliver a sandwich.

I spent about 8 years working in various kitchens around the country. I had many titles from dishwasher to chef, but not once did anyone call me an "artist". A chef, is by nature an artist as they create with food. At least in the restaurants I worked in we were able to. I suppose if you work at "Applebees" you don't have much latitude to create as the menu is set, but working in resorts and high end restaurants, we had the need to get rid of yesterday's prime rib that did not sell and had to create something from the left overs, and not only that but be able to sell the creation for as much money as we could make from the prime rib (and often times more.)

So here is a lowly sandwich maker, who gets the title of "artist." If you have ever eaten at at Subway, you will understand why they get their title. No two sandwiches are ever the same. Sometimes you get a lettuce sandwich, sometimes you get 3 jalapenos and other times you get 3 handfuls. So through my years of eating Subway's I have come up with my rating scale of what I consider a "good" sandwich.

First, it has to contain all the ingredients I want. I ask for a "Veggie" sandwich, and say "all the veggies". Now some places think that I need spinach on my sandwich, while some think that its for salads. I prefer the spinach to stay in someone else's salad, but since I ask for everything, its not something I complain about.... just am happy when they leave it off. However if they leave off the onions, or cucumbers, or olives.... that's worth complaining about.

Next, is the gooshy factor. Its basically how much of the sandwich falls out because the bread is too small to hold all the ingredients. I believe that Subway's have way too much bread, so when my sandwich is so loaded that I wish I had a fork to eat it.... that is the sandwich for me. As I eat, stuff falls off and the more that fell off, the less stingy the artist and the more apt I am to return.

Now on the flip side, my daughter and I have come up with the "Scariness factor". This is actually applied to all restaurants, typically fast food. These are places to avoid, usual reasons include:

Lack of customer service. This entails a whole bunch of stuff, but when an employee would prefer to talk to their co-worker instead of you, its a quick trip to the scary zone. Also answering the telephone instead of talking to the 'live' person in front of them, ignoring what someone is saying, and along with that asking you to repeat what you just said 3 times.

Lack of food. Nothing worse then going to a Subway for a turkey sandwich to find out they are out of Turkey.

Wrong order. Wendy's is great for this, order a "double" get a chicken sandwich. Not just special requests, I can overlook them putting onions on a burger that you just asked for without, but when I ask for a burger without onions, I best be getting something made from a cow and not a bird.

So if you ever wonder why there appears to be a Subway on every corner, it is because they are staffed by "Artists". Just as one prefers "Classical" over "Renaissance" , or Monet to Renoir, so do we consumers prefer our sandwich artists.

1 comment:

V4Vagabond said...

Hey there Mississippi Mountainman, I love your comments on sandwich making artists. Maybe they should even be called ar-tiste' with the accent on the second syllable!

What I really like about Subway is their ability to turn a sandwich into a salad when I can't face All That Bread.