By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A local restaurant just put Morinville on the map by being recognized as franchise of the year for North America, and its owners couldn’t be happier.
The Morinville Subway, one of more than 13,000 Subway franchises in North America, was singled out as the best single-unit franchise operation in Canada and the United States.
“We just found out last week,” said franchise owner Rimpal Patel. “We try to focus on our loyal customers, but without our Morinville community this wouldn’t happen.”
Patel said the Morinville location has been operating from the same 100 St. address for the past decade but that he and his partner Barry Patel took over the operation 18 months ago. The Patels run the restaurant with their wives Mayurika and Jigisha, making the enterprise a family affair.
Prior to purchasing the Morinville franchise, Barry managed a Subway in Fort Saskatchewan and Rimpal worked in Subway’s quality control and inventory division in Toronto. The two men have brought their experience with them to Morinville and applied that knowledge towards their focus on customer service and quality.
It is their commitment to quality – both quality of food and quality of service – that earned the Patels their award, the first time the Morinville location has been honoured in its ten-year’s of existence. But not only is this the first time the Morinville Subway has been named North America’s franchise of the year, it’s also the first time in a decade that a Canadian store has received the honour.
The Patels said the award was based on an increase in sales, the quality of their service, lack of customer complaints and the cleanliness of their establishment, ingredients that are monitored by regular visits from a representative from the franchise’s head office.
Although the visits help ensure the menu and service is the same from restaurant to restaurant, the Patels pride themselves on making sure they meet those expectations, particularly making sure everything they serve their customers is as fresh as possible and following the formulas and portions set down by the franchise.
“Every four hours we make the fresh bread,” Barry said, adding that they simply will not serve bread that isn’t fresh. “That is the most important thing to do.”
In addition to taking pride in how and what they serve their customers, the Patels have become active supporters of the community, sponsoring local hockey and volleyball, and setting up a loyalty rewards system for students.
For the Patels it is a way to give something back to the community that has already given them so much.
“Here in Morinville, it’s very peaceful and quiet, and the people are so kind,” Rimpal said. “They always welcome the new people.”
The Patels will be recognized by their peers during an annual Subway franchisee convention this October.
Morinville Subway owners Rimpal and Barry Patel talk about their recent award and thank the community for supporting their business.