New Subway Proves Popular on Opening Day

Newest HUB eatery to provide campus with "Late Night" dining options

subway line

Two production lines of “sandwich artists” serve customers during the late-afternoon rush at Subway on January 23. Photo by Ross French

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The newest on-campus dining option at the University of California, Riverside opened quietly on Wednesday, January 23. But by midday, with a line snaking out the door and two production lines running full time, it was clear the word was out: UCR’s long-awaited Subway was open.

Across campus, students could be seen enjoying their sandwiches. Some were so impressed that they took to Twitter to tell the world about the opening.

“The subway at UCR is now open!” posted @dianawendolinne. The UCR American Sign Language Club celebrated by posting links to “Subway-related” words in sign language.


Two sandwich assembly lines were running for most of opening day. Photo by Ross French

According to David Henry, director of residential dining for Dining Services, the store had spent several days doing test runs with various campus groups to allow employees to practice making the custom sandwiches. The first sale was made to student Vania Molina at 7:48 a.m., and by the end of the day the store had sold about 1,000 subs.

“I had good customer service and the sandwich was delicious and tasted fresh,” Molina said. “I think it’s awesome that we have a Subway on campus. I couldn’t wait for it to finally open.”

But even with the huge demand, customers were not subjected to huge waiting times as the Subway is one of the few in the country to feature a double-line configuration, with two sets of “sandwich artists” making the vast variety of subs.

“We built it that way because we knew the store would be very popular,” Henry said. “This way, during peak hours, we can have both lines open and produce twice as many sandwiches. When it isn’t as busy, we can just have one line open.”

Henry said that the store’s prices would compare favorably with other area Subway franchises, despite UCR’s higher overhead costs.

“We did compare prices with the other area Subways and we are right at their price point,” Henry said.

Students will also be happy to know that the Subway will feature the special $5-foot-long sandwiches that the brand is famous for, and that they had a hand in making that happen.

“We originally were not planning on doing ‘$5-foot-longs’ and had contractually opted out of offering them, due to the cost,” Henry said. “But we saw some comments online that students wanted them, which led us to have internal conversations. Eventually we reached out to Cal State Northridge to ask about their experience selling the sandwich and they replied that it had been a very positive and that we should consider it. So we did.”

“We did it because we knew our students would be disappointed if we didn’t,” added Cheryl Garner, executive director of dining, catering and conference services. “We heard them.”


A closeup of a Subway special. Photo by Ross French

Subway will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Saturday.

Henry said that the late evening hours during the week, combined with those at Latitude 55 and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, will give the campus a new set of after-hours dining options that Dining Services is calling “Late Night Eats.”

“During the week, the grill at Latitude 55 will stay open until 8, and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is open until midnight. With Subway open until 10, it will give the campus a diverse set of dining options that students haven’t had before.”

A grand opening event is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5 at 4 p.m. In addition to promoting the availability of “Late Night Eats,” they will be offering a special buy one-get one promotion.

Subway is the third national franchise to open in the Highlander Union Building complex, joining popular eateries Panda Express and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Like many non-traditional Subway stores, such as those found in malls, airports and other universities, the UCR Subway will not accept national Subway coupons.

“It is fairly common for Subways like ours, stores that do not need to build a customer base, to not accept gift cards or coupons,” Garner explained.

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