Mr. Sub here to stay
When the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) announced on June 9 that Aramark – a corporation that is currently involved with the management of the dining hall – will be taking over the operations at the Terrace food court, they also announced the addition of two new vendors. One of those new vendors was Subway, which was to replace Mr. Sub.
In August, Aramark, instead of implementing Subway, decided to keep the existing submarine operator, Mr. Sub. Spring Rolls Go, an “express” version of the Asian-themed restaurant, will still be launched during O-Week.
“They were okay with going forward with an announcement [to implement Subway]. However, it was still subject at that point to a negotiation process with our current agreement with Mr. Sub,” explained Nick Gibson, president and CEO of WLUSU. Gibson also noted that there were previous contractual obligations with Mr. Sub.
While he wouldn’t go into details of the agreement, Gibson explained that, “There certainly was a thought there was flexibility to move onto a different operator. However, Mr. Sub was very clear from the beginning that they wanted to work with Aramark and make something work instead.”
Many WLU students during the summer were led to believe that they would be welcomed to the school year with the addition of Subway, in which Gibson calls the communication with students “unfortunate”.
“It was unfortunate in the sense that students felt that was for sure was happening and we apologize [to the students] if that was sort of the language around it,” added Gibson.
Even though he was disappointed with the communication, he said the decision is ultimately better for students.
“We wanted to see what best served the students and since [Laurier] already had a Mr. Sub there and with just all the renovations going we figured it would be a better decision to keep Mr. Sub on campus, especially with all the changes that will be going on,” explained Tiffany Wang, associate marketing manager at Aramark.
“It’s just difficult to have all those construction projects going on at the same time,” she added.
Even though Mr. Sub is remaining, it doesn’t mean it’s not receiving a few changes. According to Gibson, Mr. Sub, in order to continue a relationship with Aramark, had to make menu offerings that were more “student friendly”. However, meal changes and new offerings have yet to be determined.
While the operations of the food court have been handed over to Aramark, WLUSU still has some say in the prices of the establishwments in the Terrace as well as making sure that Aramark is providing the best possible service for students.
Aramark has also stated that they will be doing renovations to Mr. Sub by refurbishing the counter to improve line-ups and installing LCD screens instead of still menus.
“Our sales at Mr. Sub have been really, really strong, and they really want to make sure that continues and even improves,” said Gibson.
Both Gibson and Wang have said that previous employees should be returning to work. “I pretty much think all the student managers who were interested in reapplying with Aramark got their position,” said Gibson.
“We’re happy with the process, we were a little frustrated that the communication was not as strong with students as it could of been, it’s a learning opportunity for all of us,” he continued.
“If that’s going to be the only bump in the road, I’m pretty confident we’re going to be in good shape.”