The Subway on Dillard Street is one of four in Central Florida to feature a new design and also boasts a drive-thru.
WINTER GARDEN What used to be a drive-thru credit union on Dillard Street is now one of the first drive-thru Subway locations in Central Florida.
For the last nine months, Jean Legere and his family — all local Subway franchisees — have gone through the process of renovating the credit union to house their new location. Previously, the restaurant was located just across the same shopping center, Tri-City Plaza.
Now, Legere said, it is the fourth location in Central Florida to debut Subway’s new Fresh Forward design. The new design, he said, is part of a brand effort to reinvent and revitalize.
“Subway has been around for 50-plus years, and in order for the brand to survive as a whole, we have to think forward to the next 50,” he said. “Part of that is the revitalization of the brand itself in terms of décor, training of sandwich artists, finding different ways to engage our guests and really looking forward on what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Legere and his family opened their first Subway location in 1988 in Ocoee. The Winter Garden restaurant was their second and opened in 1992. Legere remembers making his first sandwich at just 9 years old.
“My grandfather was cutting hair for Subway’s co-founder in Connecticut,” he said. “Peter Buck asked my grandfather if he wanted to open some restaurants in Orlando or San Diego. We were one of the first franchisees in the southeast to open up. From there, my grandparents had six kids, they all got in the business, and all their kids got in the business. My mother is second-generation franchisee, and my brothers and I are third-generation franchisees.”
When it was time to renovate, the choice to move to a location that already had a drive-thru was an opportunity they couldn’t resist. Additionally, only one of every five Subway shops in the United States will feature the Fresh Forward design.
“This is our best store,” Legere said. “It’s one of our oldest, best-running stores. We figured that adding the drive-thru and almost tripling the space (was well worth it). It’s been one of the longest build-outs we’ve ever experienced.”
Legere’s previous restaurant, he said, encompassed about 970 square feet. This one is just under 2,200 square feet, with the drive-thru included.
Features unique to the new design include self-ordering kiosks, touchscreen beverage machines with flavor-customization capability, a digital menu display, a new panini press, new sauces, new décor, LED lighting, in-store WiFi and USB charging ports.
The family also works in the community with multiple schools and maintains partner-in-education partnerships with many of them. They feature a Subway Scholar Athlete of the Month, where they work with the schools to highlight student-athletes with good grades and reward them with a gift card.
The main restaurant is now open, and the drive-thru is set to be completed and ready for guests to use soon.
“I want to engrain the community into this restaurant and build on what we’ve accomplished the last 20 or 30 years in this area,” Legere said.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].