Since the first board meeting of Subway around her parent’s kitchen table, Suzanne Greco has seen her brother’s family-business grow into the world’s largest quick service restaurant. Earlier this year, she was named President of Subway.
At the time of her appointment as President, Subway’s Founder and then CEO Fred DeLuca explained, “Suzanne has accomplished a great deal with Subway and I know there are many more terrific things to come. I have always been impressed with Suzanne’s relentless desire to make continuous improvements to our products and customer experience.”
Suzanne’s first formal position at Subway was as a Sandwich Artist in 1973. Since that time, she has worked her way through the ranks within Subway. For 24 years, she led the research and development team, spearheading many important initiatives designed to continuously improve the menu and customer experience.
In 1996, Suzanne facilitated the creation of the Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) to handle the SUBWAY® brand’s product purchasing. Today there are five IPC co-ops around the world providing the brand’s global supply of food and packaging at quality standards.
The hard work of Suzanne and her team earned industry recognition. This includes the Menu Masters Award for “Best Menu/ Line Extensions” in 2001, “Menu Strategist Award” from Restaurant Business Magazine in 2004, and the Menu Masters Award for “Healthful Innovations” in 2011. She explains that her “primary focus is to make our family business even better by making improvements wherever we can, especially at the story level where the food and in-store experience is critical to keeping our customers happy and coming back.”
Earlier this year, the brand announced that it will remove all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from its sandwiches, salads, soups and cookies in North America by the end of 2017. Not satisfied with just that, the brand recently announced that it is beginning to transition to serving only protein from animals that have never received antibiotics across all of its 27,000 plus U.S. restaurants starting in early 2016. The transition to chicken raised without antibiotics will be completed by the end of 2016, the transition to turkey raised without antibiotics will be completed by 2019. The pork and beef transition will be completed in 2025.
Many of the improvements have been made as a result of an ongoing effort to make the brand’s food even better. Suzanne said this is also an answer to consumers who are more mindful of what they are eating.
“Our commitment to serving our customers the highest quality products has always been the cornerstone of our business and we are always looking for new ways to make our products, our customers’ experiences and our menu even better,” Suzanne said.
Improvements don’t stop with the food, though. As a part of the restaurant chain’s continued commitment to making its restaurants and operations more socially responsible, the Subway brand has made LED lighting standard for all new and remodeled restaurants. This important upgrade will provide energy-efficient lighting that, in 2014 with a small percentage of stores participating, saved 21.9 million kilowatt hours – enough energy to power 1,996 households in a single year.
This news follows a number of recent environmental milestones for the Subway chain, including adding to the brand’s number of “Eco-Restaurant” certified store locations. Additionally, several more Eco-Restaurants are in various stages of development and an increasing number of franchisees are incorporating green elements into their existing stores.
“We know there is much more work to be done, but every step taken in every restaurant is one more step towards our social responsibility and sustainability goals.”
As a part of the restaurant chain’s continued commitment to making its restaurants and operations more socially responsible, the Subway brand has taken significant steps in recent years as part of its environmental commitment, including:
- Standardizing low-flow faucets/taps with increased water pressure in all Subway restaurants; this small change annually saves an estimated 277 million gallons of water
- Using cleaning supplies that are CARB (California Air Resources Board) and Green Seal certified
- Exclusively offering napkins made from 100% recycled fiber, processed chlorine-free, and printed with soy or water-based inks
- Ensuring a majority of the packaging used in North American stores is made with recycled content which can be recycled or composted where facilities exist
- Using salad bowls and lids made from two recycled plastic water or soda bottles (20 ounce), diverting 141 million bottles from landfills last year
- Adding 95% post-consumer recycled material to redesigned catering trays, reducing about 3 million pounds of plastic materials from going directly into the waste stream each year
The Sacred Heart University graduate is optimistic about her new role and the direction she will take the brand. She commented, “With the dedicated and seasoned management team in place, along with our active franchisee and development agent groups, I know we will be able to accomplish a lot together.”