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Photograph By Raul Purdea
Subway franchisee owner in front of Subway sign Subway franchisee owner in front of Subway sign

Meet Raul: A Subway® Sandwich Artist® with a dream

Meet Raul: A Subway® Sandwich Artist® with a dream

Meet Raul Purdea, a Subway® Sandwich Artist and aspiring franchisee who moved to the United States — entirely on his own — with only $250 in his pocket.

Raul arrived from Romania in the summer of 2016 to study engineering at a University in Tennessee. He wanted to earn some extra money for program expenses, but when his first job opportunity fell through, it was clear fate had other plans.

Raul didn’t know anything about the brand, and he had never worked in a restaurant before. He says, “I didn’t choose Subway at all at first.” But Subway chose him — and now it’s a huge part of his life.

Raul holds American flag outdoors Raul’s first week in America, 2016. (Photo: Raul Purdea)

Starting small

Raul’s first few weeks on the job were the hardest. There was a lot to learn, and on top of that, he had to overcome a language barrier.

“I can still remember my very first day…I was so nervous that I couldn’t even go to say hello to the guests.”

Text block of quote from Raul

Eventually, Raul took on more hours at a second Subway restaurant 6 miles away.

“I had to cycle for the whole summer — even when it was windy, or rainy, or hot. It was my only option to get to the job.”

His love for the job is what kept him going.

Love what you do

Raul holds a footlong Subway sandwich in his uniform Raul doing what he loves most: creating “masterpieces." (Photo: Raul Purdea)

Almost three years later, Raul says, “I can’t see my life without Subway.”

He’s come so far from where he started. To date, he’s worked in more than 25 different Subway restaurants and trained Sandwich Artists, managers, and even regional managers on day-to-day operations.

He feels Subway is “like a family" and believes “if you love what you do, you can smile and be good to everybody."

Text block of quote from Raul

Finishing big

Raul just finished reading Fred DeLuca’s book, Start Small, Finish Big, and now he’s onto bigger and better things. In June, he’ll graduate with an Electrical Engineering degree — but what he’s most passionate about is Subway.

“I can proudly say that I love Subway more than ever, and because of that, I’m planning to start my own franchise in 2020.”

His advice to other people just starting out: "It doesn’t matter what you do — just do the best you can."

Picture of Raul with graphic fun facts

  1. One time, Raul found himself all by himself with 60 guests waiting for sandwiches. Someone who walked in happened to be a former Sandwich Artist from Memphis — so he grabbed a hat and an apron from the back and helped him move the line: “Everyone was so happy, they started to cheer.”
  2. Raul has about 30 different orders memorized for his regular customers. But when we asked about the strangest order he’s ever made, he recalled, "I got a sandwich order about two weeks ago. It was meatball with tuna, honey mustard, and the new mesquite sauce."

Top Image Credit: Raul Purdea

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