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The recent news regarding a Subway being built on campus has generated a certain amount of negative feedback in some quarters of the University, but I for one strongly support the idea that a Subway would be a positive thing. I suppose to support my reasoning I need more than just the fact “it tastes nice” as my housemate so delicately put it.
Subway is now the largest food chain in the world, surpassing McDonalds in terms of number of stores both in the UK and worldwide. The huge success of the Subway empire obviously poses some threat to competing food outlets on campus, with worries that a big corporation like Subway may strangle out the likes of County Diner and Bowland Bar.
Although it may seem that Subway means only bad news for other food outlets, I disagree. A Subway on campus will undoubtedly gather a lot of attention which means one thing, queues. Large queues outside Greggs have many a time diverted my attention to the likes of County Diner, just to avoid the semi-torturous experience that is queuing. Logically then, with the inevitable multitude of people that Subway will attract, could Bowland Bar not benefit in the same way?
Subway has a good record of hiring young people to work at their stores and I cannot foresee anything else than them employing an almost entirely student staff. Add to the fact that many students at the University have been “Sandwich Artists” previously and are yet to find a job in Lancaster, this would give them a chance to get back into employment.
It is the University’s responsibility to listen to the student voice and in a recent poll done by SCAN, over 4 times as many people thought opening a Subway on campus would be a good idea at the time of writing. Surely with the wider majority of students being pro-Subway then the University is doing the right thing in ensuring that the student’s wishes are built upon? The University should at all times be craving to create a better relationship with its students and this is just one way in which it can do so.
The location of the franchise opposite to Bowland Bar has also been a somewhat controversial decision, but once again I fail to see the problem. Located centrally, it is in a convenient location for students after coming out of a lecture and close to those who find themselves in Alexandra square. I pass Bowland Bar every day in my travels to lectures and yet due to its location, the only time I get reminded of its existence is when I see a sign reminding me of their specials under the spine. Its tucked away location means students do not pass it regularly and so a Subway would definitely attract people to its location, how can that be a bad thing?
I understand that students are worried about big corporations on campus and that as a Subway it could be the start of allowing more huge companies to muscle out the University run outlets. However to this I would say that student pockets are thin and value is key. I’m sure many people who live on campus lament some of the prices of so called “value meals” found across the various shops and diners on campus. For £3 in Subway you get a 6’inch sub and a drink: simple, cheap-ish and you know what you’re getting.
I would also suggest the University would not be foolish enough to introduce a Subway without a lot of consideration to ensure it was the best thing for everyone, and I’m sure if another big corporation were to find its way onto Alexander Square, then it will also have been a considered and prudent decision by the University.
University rent is also particularly high for non-uni run outlets and this will always impact on the choice of outlet available to rent the space; Subway is a huge company and can therefore afford the rent, simple as that.
Whilst I accept there are a few potential flaws to the idea of a Subway on campus, I feel that overall it is a positive addition to our University and will provide a safe alternative for anybody looking to grab some food between lectures.