Back in 2000, Nic Eames took a part-time job with Subway, the national sandwich company, as a way to earn extra money and support his newborn daughter.
Before long, he was offered a management position at the Subway store located in the Yellowstone Medical Center. In those days, customers frequently said they were drawn to the store by the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting through the hallways of a busy medical complex.
That part-time job led to a long career with penty of responsibility.
“I chose to leave my previous employer in pursuit of something that felt right at the time,” he said. “I never could have imagined at that point that Subway would go from being a part-time job to a career of 16 years and counting. I have held the title of sandwich artist, store manager, multi-manager and the director of operations for 13 locations, with a 14th location in the planning stages.”
Subway’s 21,000 franchisees operate more than 40,000 stores across the United States. That’s more than either McDonald’s or Starbucks, according to Bloomberg News.
As the Billings market continues to grow, Subway is constantly on the lookout for suitable expansion opportunities, Eames said. The formula for locating a new store involves measuring a variety of factors, including traffic patterns and how many people live nearby. One feature of the Subway business model is that it's not afraid to locate a store near other businesses.
For years, Subway has marketed itself as a healthier alternative to traditional fast food, and that message continues to resonate with consumers. “We have to have great tasting food and we have to be different.,” Eames said. “That comes from the parent company. We want to keep that health message front and center.”
With Yellowstone County’s unemployment rate hovering at less than 3 percent, employers are scrambling to fill vacancies. Just about every employer faces the same challenge, he said.
“Recruiting, developing, and retaining a quality team from the management level all the way to the high school student looking for their first job,” remains the biggest challenge of his job, Eames said.
“At the end of the day, you’re only as good as the employees,” he said. “You can be the best at customer service and have the cleanest restaurant. But employees are the backbone of everything you’re trying to do.”
What’s the best business advice you have received? Never let your circumstances consume you; worry about the things you can control.
Who gave you that advice? Kevin Perreault, my employer and mentor of the last 16 years
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Time spent with family. I have an incredibly supportive family that has been my support system, my inspiration, and has always made sure I don’t take life too seriously
Which living person do you most admire? My dad. The most honest, hardworking, and respected businessman I know.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? If every person that works for our company goes home at night having learned at least one thing, the day has been a success. We strive for a culture in which everyone learns from each other, learns from their mistakes, and gets just a little bit better at what they do every day.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising two amazing daughters together with my wife.
I’m happiest when I’m… In nature. Whether it’s the golf course, camping, fishing, hunting, or hiking, I love to be outdoors