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MILFORD, Conn. -- Don Fertman, chief development officer for the Subway sandwich chain, recently got a glimpse at parts of the business he rarely sees while participating in the hit CBS television series, 'Undercover Boss,' to be aired this Sunday, November 21 at 9 p.m. EST. Away from his daily office routine, Fertman instead baked bread, stocked sandwich ingredients, sliced vegetables, took inventories and served customers.
A 29-year veteran of the restaurant chain, Fertman was sent on the undercover assignment by Subway president and co-founder, Fred DeLuca. Although DeLuca would have liked to participate, he was thought to be too recognizable for the mission.
"When Fred sent me undercover, I told him I wanted to catch people doing really good things," Fertman said. "I was not disappointed. I worked alongside many great store employees and came back with some terrific best practices which we will be sharing within the organization. After working with these folks, I can see why we continually are rated very high by consumers. This was a very valuable experience."
To pull off his transition from corporate executive Don Fertman to his undercover identity of John Wilson, Fertman said he continually tapped into his experience as a singer and bass player for a popular Connecticut band before working for Subway. His intent was to delve into best practices.
"There are a few things I was hoping to see while in the stores," Fertman said. "We launched a major breakfast program in 2010 and I wanted to see first-hand how that was working in the restaurants. We also have a lot of stores that run successful catering programs and I wanted to find best practices on that or to see what the specific needs are to make it better in the field."
Overall, Fertman said the experience was one he would never forget and looked forward to working with the participants in the future.
"We are the number-one [sandwich] chain in the world, and we continually look for ways to deliver an exceptional experience to our customers each and every day," he said. "Taking advantage of a situation like the one presented on 'Undercover Boss' not only gives us a glimpse of what is happening on the front lines in the stores, but it provides consumers a look at how we operate. We are proud of how our wonderful sandwich artists deliver a terrific product to every customer and the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of our amazing team of franchisees is the foundation of our system. We believe this episode will shine a spotlight on how Subway has grown to be so successful."