Customers decide Which Wich is best

Published 8:31 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

City officials and Which Wich staff held handfuls of butcher wrap paper to cut the metaphorical ribbon on Thursday for North Suffolk’s popular new sandwich destination.

Franchisee Bijal Patel opened his new shop on Feb. 26 at 1011 University Blvd. and has already seen enough turnout to warrant more employees. Patel hired nearly 30 employees and plans to hire at least a dozen more, according to a press release.

According to Patel, personnel from the nearby Joint Staff Suffolk Complex swarm for breakfast in the morning. Business and medical professional order there for lunch, and families fill their tables for dinner.

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He said it’s been the No. 1 Which Wich store in terms of weekly sales since it first opened, across 500 locations open or in development in 39 states and 12 countries.

“I didn’t think that we would accomplish something like that, but we’ve been very well received,” he said.

Which Wich was founded in 2003 by restaurant entrepreneur Jeff Sinelli in Dallas, Texas. The North Suffolk franchise is Patel’s third after opening his first Which Wich in Williamsburg in 2014 and his second at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in 2016.

QSR magazine named the sandwich franchise chain one of its “Best Franchise Deals” in 2014, the same year that Forbes listed it as one of their “30 Best Franchises To Buy.”

Which Wich also received the 2015 Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters “Healthful Innovations” award.

“Everyone has to have a great sandwich,” Which Wich Superior Sandwiches Area Director Chad Todd said in February. “We really strive to bring things to customers that they can make their way and aren’t typical sandwiches that you get at other places.”

Which Wich customers order sandwiches by jotting down their own custom sandwiches or recommended creations on labeled bags. Staff take the bags and assemble Philly Cheesesteaks, meatball grinders and any other sandwich that’s possible with the 50-plus toppings available.

There are also salads, wraps, cookies and milkshakes with rotating flavors.

“I’ve got my favorites already,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said after the ribbon cutting.

But food is only half of the customer experience at Which Wich. There’s also the black-and-yellow décor, friendly staff and artwork by bag doodlers proudly displayed.

“The food can sell itself, but it’s the experience that really sets us apart,” Patel said.

Patel said his shop is also determined to get involved in the community through projects like Project PB&J. For every PB&J sandwich purchased at the store, another will be donated to a local organization for those in need, and a third will be prepared for relief efforts worldwide.

The company conducted a “PB&Js for Harvey” campaign in September by donating $2 for every purchased Project PB&J sandwich to Red Cross of America for relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas. Then the company matched up to $100,000 in guest donations.

“When he talks about being involved in the community, you can tell that he means it,” Councilman Lue Ward Jr. said about Patel. “I never heard it said like that before. I’m very impressed.”

Hours of operation are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. with online ordering and catering options available. Call 483-9424 for more information.