MILFORD, Conn. (Restaurant News Release) Don Fertman, Chief Development Officer for the SUBWAY® sandwich chain, has played a pivotal role in the growth of the SUBWAY® brand to become the largest quick service restaurant chain in the world.
But recently, while participating in the hit CBS television series Undercover Boss, Don was able to get a glimpse at a part of the business he rarely sees during his daily routine in his office at the SUBWAY® chain’s Milford, CT, world headquarters. Don, a 29 year veteran of the restaurant chain, was baking bread, stocking sandwich ingredients, slicing vegetables, taking inventories and serving customers.
The air date for the episode will be this Sunday, November, 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Don was sent on an undercover assignment by Subway President and Co-Founder Fred DeLuca. Although Fred would have liked to participate, he was thought to be too recognizable for the mission.
“When Fred sent me undercover, I told him I wanted to catch people doing really good things,” Don said. “I was not disappointed. I worked alongside many great store employees and came back with some terrific best practices which we will be sharing within the organization. After working with these folks, I can see why we continually are rated very high by consumers. This was a very valuable experience.”
To pull off his transition from corporate executive Don Fertman to his undercover identity of John Wilson, Don continually tapped into his experience as a performer, which he got from his days as a singer and bass player for a popular Connecticut band before working for SUBWAY®. (In fact, when Don interviewed with Fred for a job almost 30 years ago, he still had orange hair and wore orange platform shoes – both remnants of his rock-and-roll days.)
On his undercover assignment, “John Wilson” worked with: Rev. Duane, the Store Manager at the SUBWAY® restaurant located in the True Bethel Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY; Sherri, Store Manager, who is also known as the “Subway Lady” in her Alabama community; Efrain, a Store Manager in Florida who is also one of the system’s youngest managers; and Jessi, a Sandwich Artist™ in Florida, who has proven to be one of the toughest employees and trainers anyone associated with the brand has ever seen!
“There are a few things I was hoping to see while in the stores,” Don said. “We launched a major breakfast program in 2010 and I wanted to see first-hand how that was working in the restaurants. We also have a lot of stores that run successful catering programs and I wanted to find best practices on that or to see what the specific needs are to make it better in the field.
Overall, Don said the experience was one he would never forget and looked forward to working with the participants in the future.
“We are the number one chain in the world, and we continually look for ways to deliver an exceptional experience to our customers each and every day,” Don said. “Taking advantage of a situation like the one presented on Undercover Boss not only gives us a glimpse of what is happening on the front lines in the stores, but it provides consumers a look at how we operate. We are proud of how our wonderful sandwich artists deliver a terrific product to every customer and the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of our amazing team of franchisees is the foundation of our system. We believe this episode will shine a spotlight on how Subway has grown to be so successful.”
Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, and with regional offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Brisbane, Miami and Singapore, the SUBWAY® chain was co-founded by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965. That partnership, which continues today, marked the beginning of a remarkable journey — one that made it possible for thousands of individuals to build and succeed in their own business.
In the 2010 Zagat Fast Food Survey, the SUBWAY® brand was ranked “number one” by consumers in the “Most Popular,” “Top Service” and “Healthy Options” categories for food brands with 5,000 or more locations.
For more information about the SUBWAY® chain, visit www.subway.com. SUBWAY® is a registered trademark of Franchise World Headquarters LLC.