ND’s Subway, once the highest grossing in the US, builds community in LaFun
Andrew Cameron | Monday, November 18, 2019
For the past 17 years, Notre Dame students, faculty and staff in need of a sandwich have had no need to look further than the LaFortune Student Center. Whether for breakfast, lunch or a late-night snack, the LaFortune Subway has distinguished itself as the foremost purveyor of subway sandwiches on campus.
Jennifer Godfrey, Campus Dining assistant director of retail dining, oversees all the restaurants in the Huddle Food Court, including Smashburger, Taco Bell, Starbucks and of course, Subway.
Subway came to LaFortune in 2002 — the first Subway ever opened on a college campus, Godfrey said. She said that Subway was chosen due to its ability to operate franchises in small spaces and to best serve student dining needs.
“We want to make sure that students have access, not only after the dining halls close, but at 1 a.m. or midnight, you know, they might need a late-night pick-me-up if they’re pulling an all-nighter. Subway has fit very well into that,” Godfrey said.
It’s commonly said among students that the Subway in LaFortune is the highest-grossing Subway in the country. This is no longer true, Godfrey said, but it used to be.
“For the first 10 years it was open, I’d say 2002 to about 2012, we were … the highest sales in this area and in the United States,” she said.
While the LaFortune Subway has since lost its status as having the highest sales in the country, it remains “one of the highest in the nation,” Godfrey said. She said this is in part due to government organizations and other colleges opening their own Subway franchises following the LaFortune Subway’s success.
Holly Young, a Campus Dining lead retail associate, has worked for Notre Dame Campus Dining for 25 years. She said she primarily works at Subway, where she makes the bread and cookies every day. Young said she has enjoyed her time at Subway, especially on football game days.
“The funnest time is game days, because the fans are so hype and stuff,” she said. “They come through the line, and they just make your day, because they hype you up and your day goes by faster. That’s just the funnest time to work here.”
Young said that Subway has had many regular customers over the years, including some with unusual tastes.
“We had this guy, he graduated a couple years ago but he would come in and get oven-roasted chicken breast with tuna on it,” she said. “I don’t know if it was like an overseas thing that they did — chicken and tuna — but he would get it every other day if not every day.”
Young has worked at Subway in LaFortune since it first opened in 2002 — longer than any other active employee. She said that at the Subway, as the longest-running chain restaurant at Notre Dame, a tight-knit community has formed among the employees.
“Of course, you have your ups and downs, but for the most part we all get along,” she said, “We have a lot of long-term employees here, so we’re like a family.”