Subway switched to Bucket Brigades...

One of the first things you read about in an Operations textbook is about the efficiency of the bucket brigade.
Its a powerful concept that can be counter-intuitive: a way to maximize both throughput and utilization of any system.

I've liked my Subway sandwiches since I had my first one six-ish years ago, but one of the things I noticed when I went to Subway back then during lunch hour was how the person making my sandwich had to play Twister with the other people working behind the counter as I pointed at the various condiments I wanted.

Chipotle was the first restaurant where I noticed that the person simply handed off the sandwich to person standing next to him/her when they came to the same spot behind the counter. Potbelly's ups the efficiency factor by putting a conveyor belt in the mix.

The bucket brigade seems operations du jour now: even the mom-and-pop sandwich shop around where I live seems to have this down. :)


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