Owning four metro area Jersey Mike's Subs and overseeing all 12 stores in the metro area pales in comparison to the managing Scott Warfel has done as a parent, helping to raise five daughters who now range in age from toddler to teenager.
When it comes to his career choices, he's put family first.
In the mid-90s, Warfel became a stay-at-home dad after a recommendation from his daughter's pediatrician, who said the baby's immune system wasn't strong enough to be in day care. He stayed home for 8 years while his wife climbed the corporate ladder.
“I married way above myself. She's much smarter than I am. So I quit work,” he said.
Her career led the family to Pittsburgh, Penn., but after several years, she was burned out and wanted the stay-at-home parenting gig. So Warfel looked to his favorite East Coast sandwich shop, Jersey Mike's Subs, for career inspiration.
“I said, ‘I want to try something on my own.' She was supportive and said, ‘Do you have any ideas?' I said: ‘Jersey Mikes,'” he recalled. “I was a customer at Jersey Mike's and ate there probably two or three times a week. It was my choice to go eat on Father's Day every year. It just seemed to fit.”
He introduced Oklahoma to the authentic Jersey Shore-style subs, which are layered with meat right off the slicer and made “Mike's Way” with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar, olive oil blend and spices.
Warfel recently sat down with The Oklahoman to talk work, family and sandwiches. Below is an edited transcript.
A: It took quite a while to find our first location in Oklahoma City. It was a small concept, a franchise of about 200 or 225 stores at the time. My first location was at Interstate 240 and Santa Fe and opened Nov. 11, 2004. What made it hard was most commercial properties in Oklahoma are owned either regionally or locally. They'd say, ‘Who do you want us to lease it to? Jersey who?' They'd rather have another sub shop because they were known entities.
Now 12 locations are in the metro area.