Newk’s Eatery in downtown Auburn will give you a taste of home away from home. Their dine-in and to-go menu features a variety of soups, salads, pizzas, macaroni, and sandwiches. Similarly on their kids menu, Little Newk’s, offers pizzas, sandwiches, and mac and cheese! Seasonal items like the beef and chili mac, or taco salad are available now and soups change every so often. Currently their soup menu consists of chicken noodle, lobster and crab, loaded potato, beef and chili, and grilled vegetable! With recipes coming from the founding family, the Newcomb’s. Although, this eatery comes from a corporate conglomerate, the downtown location makes every customer feel at home. With fresh food prepared daily, Newk’s feeds what matters.
Who’s in the Newk’s Kitchen?
Luke McFarland, catering team lead, has been with the company for a little over five years. While working his way up in the company, his favorite part of the job has been meeting a variety of people within and out of the company. When working catering orders, his typical scenery within a day consists of doctors offices, athletic and university events. Every year he caters the scholarship section for Auburn University basketball games. General manager, Tyler Nelms, tells FetchMe he believes Auburn University is what makes this location stand out.
During an interview Nelms says, “We do a lot with the university. We are more uniform for what the university or city is doing.” With a location close to campus, college pride fuels both business and productivity. Typical clientele consists of college students and families, with both dine-in and to go orders. While being with the company for a year and a half, his favorite part of the job is the people he works with. The environment made with good coworkers is what made him stay with Newk’s.
Another worker who has been with the company for over six years has worn multiple hats. Holding positions like expo, kitchen manager, front of house manager, and product manager. Their favorite part of the job is also the people they work with, specifically district manager Randy. While the company prioritizes feeding what matters, they also prioritize their workers schedules. This employee said, “The flexible schedule allows me to be with my kids. I have a little one, a middle schooler, and a college student. Anytime I ask off they always figure it out and give it to me.”
The Scoop Behind the Counter
Game Day Delivery
As catering team leader, McFarland will begin his day by checking the order status. When there are orders he will put together the meals before the store opens, then open his assigned station in the kitchen. Depending on the time of the order, he will continue to work in his station or go deliver a catering order. One of his most memorable delivery days was when he had to deliver to Auburn University’s press box area on a game day. Early in the afternoon, he was forgotten about! Him and his 600 boxes of food were sitting outside the stadium because they were missing one crucial piece of information, the pass to get into the press box. Once they gain access, it took the catering team nearly an hour to carry the order up to the press box.
Newk’s catering team thought they were done for the day, and when trying to leave Tiger Walk starts. Tiger walk is a game day tradition where the team walks from the Athletics complex to the Jordan-Hare stadium. Just to get out of the parking deck took another hour! Very quickly this thirty minute delivery tacked on two hours, talk about travel time. Nonetheless, the thrill of being apart of game day and witnessing the Auburn tradition made this delivery stand out.
Everything under the Kitchen Sink
Taking it back to the downtown Newk’s location, Nelms most memorable story happened in house. When prepping for the day ahead, smoke got into the ventilation system. All of the sudden the ear-piercing sound of alarms go off and Tyler goes running! In such a hurry to get to the source of the problem, he slipped and slid under the sinks in the back. Figuring if there was a fire, he was safe under the sinks full of water above him. Now he looks back at the slide and laughs because there was no real threat, just embarrassment and a sore side.
How Covid-19 Affected the Eatery
Turning off the Stove
Nelms said the store tried to stay open for as long as possible. Another employee remembered the end and gradually, employee numbers went down as sales did. Nelms said once the shutdown mandate was put into effect, they had no choice but to close the doors to employees and customers. McFarland remembered the store being closed for a month and a half. However, re-opening did not look the same and coming back was only curbside and delivery, with services like FetchMe Delivery. The team had to get adjusted to the routine there was more sanitizing and adapting.
“In the food industry, you must adapt to each day.”Luke Mcfarland
The team did not look the same either, many people did not want to work in the midst of a pandemic. Also, customer interaction when down, and although there were no more face-to-face relationships being made Nelms said they took every opportunity to perfect to-go orders and keep up those previously built relationships. However, delivery services also helped Newk’s keep these relationships as well. Most of the team agreed that delivery services and FetchMe Delivery made it easier to keep sales up.
From in-House to Home
Before COVID, delivery orders were most popular during finals season for students. After, deliveries became the main order type.
One worker says, “There was absolutely a spike in delivery orders, and it is probably going to climb.”
FetchMe Delivery has made it possible for customers to enjoy their favorite soups or salads in the comfort of their own home, and without the threat of contracting COVID. As the pandemic progressed, the numbers of deliveries also went up. There is also no other delivery service that is locally owned and founded, so customers take delight in knowing they support local businesses while enjoying food that may not be Auburn-specific.
Their menu offers a variety of home-like meals, and if you can’t make up your mind there’s a combo you can order! You can pair a half sandwich with soup, salad, or mac as well as a pizza with a half soup, salad, or mac. Not to mention the desserts to top off every meal! Newk’s in downtown Auburn offers a variety of cakes, crispies, and brownies. Now you can enjoy Newk’s at home, enjoying the taste of home without the work of home cooking.
All Newk’s are Created Equal
But not all Newk’s are Centrally Located
Customers should order with Newk’s because they strive for excellence in their products and ensuring a well-rounded customer experience. When deciding to order from this location or the Opelika one, Nelms says the Auburn location takes extra time in making sure everything is made to order.
“We take pride in making sure it is correct to when the food goes out people have a better experience.”Tyler Nelms
The Auburn’s location and its proximity to campus makes it stand out. Nelms says this store is more uniform for what the University is doing or what the city is doing for the university. Every bite comes with a sense of Tiger pride. Another worker says that every Newk’s is equal because most of its employees are from the other location and oftentimes work together. However, they are in competition against one another, and that only makes the customers experience better. The Auburn location tries to think about what the other store is not.
Order Newk’s off the FetchMe platform any day of the week! Happy Fetching!
Get all the information you need and more from our friends at Auburn-Opelika Tourism.