Spreading goodness with foot long sandwiches to first responders in the area has kept new Subway restaurant owner Tanmeet Randhawa busy these past few weeks. Through a fundraiser Randhawa raised about $1,100 to make sandwiches for first responders. They were able to deliver the sandwiches last week on May 12 to Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District in Riverbank, Escalon Fire and Police departments, Modesto Police Department and Fire, and Ceres Fire and Police as well as to Doctors Medical Center and Memorial Hospital.
This has been quite the year for Randhawa as he began a career as a Subway owner on May 16, 2019. With his first-year anniversary recently passed he reflected on a few challenges in the beginning and has been trying to adjust through the pandemic.
“This is my first true year at the restaurant,” said Randhawa. “The first few months were a good learning curve for me and then the winter months came and things slowed down. I was looking forward to the summer and the accelerated sales and all that wonderful stuff and then we had COVID-19.”
One of the first challenges he recalled was learning how to make a sandwich and figuring out what goes in each one. Then learning how to make the breads along with keeping up with OSHA and health regulations made the first few months a little overwhelming for Randhawa, who was in the medical field for many years.
“I was fortunate enough to have a really good staff,” added Randhawa. “The guys have all been here several years and have done a really good job. They really helped me and guided me.”
When the pandemic first hit the restaurant took about a 60 percent loss and Randhawa had to figure out how to keep the doors open. After doing some research he found that he could turn his sandwich shop into a type of grocery store and sell Subway products to the public including the deli meats, vegetables and breads. People were able to place orders that were delivered or picked up. Although the grocery sales have slowed down they were enough at first to keep his doors open and are still available.
Continuing to think outside the box and help the community through these dark times, Randhawa had a donation box for subs for first responders. So when people would make grocery orders they would donate to the cause. He then put it on Facebook and his friends and family kicked in and donated. Through the generous donations including a couple hundred dollars from the Ceres Blaze baseball team, they were able to make over 100 sandwiches. Randhawa would be there late in the evening prepping for the next day and then early in the morning he made the sandwiches. A few members of the Blaze baseball team and Randhawa were able to make the deliveries last week.
“It was tough and took a toll on the body but it was worth it seeing the expressions from the firefighters and the police officers,” stated Randhawa. “I would love to do that again. It was really fun.”
With hopes that everyone is safe and healthy, Randhawa also hopes to grow his business and looks forward to everyone getting through this.