New Bagel Shop Hopes To Please
Written by Becky Koenig|
September 2, 2011
You can’t get toasted anymore at the College of William and Mary, but you can still get baked.
The Quiznos that for years served oven-crisped subs to hungry students in Lodge 1 has closed, and its replacement, Einstein Bros. Bagels, opened for business Aug. 31. The national chain serves coffee, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, salads, sandwiches and two dozen varieties of its namesake circular breads.
“We’re very excited that it’s a new brand on campus,” said Matt Moss, Dining Services director.
Not only will blueberry, chocolate chip and poppy seed bagels replace Torpedoes, Flatbread Sammies and oven-warmed giant cookies, Einstein Bros. will open and close earlier than Quiznos. The bagel shop will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, in contrast to Quiznos’s past-midnight hours.
“Because of the all-day products that Einstein has, it’s really not a great fit for a late-night option,” Moss said. “We are looking at the possibility of opening up the Student Exchange later in the evening.”
The official grand opening for the store will be Sept. 6. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m., and the first person in line will receive 100 free bagels for the semester. Games, raffles and free samples will be available starting at 10 a.m.
The brand change, which has some students moaning and others cheering, was motivated by economic reasons, Moss said.
“We had seen a substantial drop off in the sales at Quiznos,” he said. “Quiznos as a brand has been having some challenges nation wide. We made a decision to look at a change of brand.”
Quiznos closed about 1,500 stores since the start of the economic recession, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, and sales at stores that had been open for at least a year fell by 13 percent in May.
The company has hired financial advisors to avoid defaulting on its debt of more than $850 million.
According to Moss, student surveys and financial considerations make Einstein Bros. a good fit for the College.
“In polling students, we saw a trend toward another sandwich concept, closely followed by something that is more driven toward breakfast or bagels,” he said. “So Einstein Bagels actually provided a great solution for us. It’s one of the leading brands we operate nationwide. We think it will be a great success and hopefully we will hear that from the students.”
Students have already started expressing their opinions. In a two-day Flat Hat Facebook poll asking students and alumni if they are glad Einstein Bros. is replacing Quiznos, 119 people voted “yes” and 77 voted “no.”
(Six indicated unfamiliarity with Einstein Bros., five expressed apathy and two registered indecision, while 13 people ambiguously voted, “Excuse me?”).
Laura Murray ’12, who said she enjoys a variety of Quiznos entrees, is among the voting students who disapprove of the restaurant’s replacement.
“I’m not so excited about bagels,” Murray said. “Quiznos was such an institution. My friends from my freshman hall always did Quiznos Friday for lunch. Now we’re just going to have to have Quiznos Friday at a bagel place, and that’s going to be awkward.”
Murray said she has been to Einstein Bros. once or twice, although the restaurant did not make much of an impression on her.
Bagel-enthusiast Brian Nance ’12 said he is looking forward to the new dining option.
“I didn’t like Quiznos that much,” he said. “It’s kind of where flavor goes to die. I’d rather go to Wawa if I’m going to get a sub, or even one of the delis. One of my favorite foods is ‘everything bagels,’ so any time I can get those near me, that’s good.”
Murray noted that the earlier closing hours might displease some students.
“I think one of the reasons people liked Quiznos was that it was an alternative to Wawa,” she said. “You could get something hot late at night.”
Nance was not concerned by the projected earlier closing time.
“If I want a late-night snack, I’ll just go to Wawa,” he said.
Some students have complained that an Einstein Bros. on campus will be redundant since both the Daily Grind and the Mews Cafe Starbucks serve coffee and breakfast baked goods. Nance did not share this concern.
“I think they have a good product, and even if other places around sell similar products, their bagels are really, really good,” he said.
The Daily Grind, an independent coffee shop and bakery located across the terrace from the new Einstein Bros., has been operating on campus for more than 11 years. Although both restaurants sell coffee and bagels, Daily Grind owner and manager Scott Owen said he is not worried about the new bagel shop taking his customers.
“The Grind people are Grind people,” he said. “It’s like being a Starbucks person or an independent coffee shop person.”
Owen emphasized the differences between his business and the chain restaurant franchise, and noted that the Daily Grind offers an organic bagel made in Virginia.
“We focus on nutritional foods, baking from scratch — we’re using sustainable coffee,” Owen said. “Einstein’s is using commodity coffee.”
Owen said that he’s glad to share customers because the Daily Grind’s small size would make it hard for the café to accommodate the entire campus coffee business.
“I’m sure that my bagel sales will go down, but that’s neither here nor there,” he said.
Students from bagel-centric regions like New York City will note that the round breads Einstein Bros. bakes are not traditional bagels, which get their tough, chewy exteriors from being boiled before baking in the oven. Instead of boiling its bagels, Einstein Bros. injects steam into them, which gives the bread a softer, more roll-like crust.
Though the food items and hours will change, the brand switch will not make much of a caloric difference.
An Einstein Bros. standard breakfast sandwich averages 540 calories, while most of the restaurant’s deli sandwiches range from 400 to 600 calories before cheese and condiments. That is about the same as Quiznos’ regular-size subs, which also mostly fall between 400 and 600 calories without cheese, sauces or spreads. An Einstein Bros. bagel without cream cheese ranges from 240 to 350 calories.
Most Quiznos staff members have been retrained and retained at Einstein Bros. and a bagel baker has been hired. Moss said all the baked products will be made on site.