RIVERBANK, Calif. — It's hard to make ends meet as a business due to the coronavirus, but in a small California town, one Subway owner is making his restaurant a little more like to a grocery store.
Subways across multiple states have joined an online program where they'll function more like grocery stores than a traditional Subway restaurant. From pickled jalapenos to the Chipotle Southwest sauce, everything you'd find in a Subway can now be placed in an online grocery cart.
While the bulk of the experiment is in Southern California, a small store in Riverbank is one of only a handful in Northern California participating.
"Sometimes you have to go the little extra mile to do something," said Tanmeet Singh Randhawa, owner of the Riverbank store. "If you just sit back and do nothing, you’re going to get the same results."
Sales have not been ideal at the Riverbank location ever since the coronavirus took its toll on the restaurant industry. Randhawa said they are down about 55% in sales from last year.
Jumping into the program and diversifying is somewhat of a lifeline to him at this point.
"Overall, we're struggling," said Randhawa. "There's not enough people. It's just hard. It's just really hard to make any money at the current time."
Regardless of the profit margin, he says diversifying and offering all his products is letting him earn more money, and whatever cash he earns can help him make ends meet for his family.
However, becoming a hybrid sandwich shop and online grocery store also hits home for him as well. He has a niece with asthma and a sister that just battled cancer — both are holed up at their home and relying on food delivery to get by.
"If I can help someone like that here locally, I think that's a good thing," said Randhawa.
With the Subway Grocery program, he has already had sales for lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh bread. It's a simple enough process where you order online, and Randhawa gives you a contact-free pickup right at your car.
Randhawa says the program could see a roll out to many other Subways, but a Subway spokesperson says, for now, the program has been limited mostly to the Southern California area.
However, new locations are being added daily and in multiple states.
Locations in Elk Grove, Woodland, and Winters have already signed up for the program as well.
For a full list of ingredients and details from the service, and for locations click HERE.
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