Whether you need to fill up your tank, grab a bite to eat, or need a quick pick-me-up coffee, Wawa has become something of a cult favorite for shoppers since it opened its first store in 1964. The chain operates more than 950 locations across six states and Washington, D.C., elevating the convenience store concept by providing everything from freshly made sandwiches—including party catering—to surcharge-free ATMs. But even though Wawa is there for customers in a pinch, there’s still plenty that people don’t know about the company. Read on for five warnings that ex-Wawa employees have for patrons.
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One mainstay of the Wawa experience is the touchscreen system used to order the store’s freshly-made sandwiches. In theory, the machines allow customers to simplify the ordering process by letting them select a size, add on or take away toppings, or choose toast your bread. But according to one employee, this system doesn’t always work perfectly.
“The touchscreens are meant to satisfy the masses, and anything more specific is what the associates are for. They are supposed to accommodate for what the touch screens can’t,” an anonymous Wawa manager and Reddit user yougococo posted in an AMA thread about the process.
“I know they’re not always going to be friendly, but it’s our job to make sure you leave with what you want and are happy with your experience and product,” they explained. “If you want something done with your order that’s not available via the options on the touch screen, ask someone to make yours the way you like it. If they moan and groan or give you an attitude, they are not doing their job the right way, at which point you should feel free to bring it up to their managers or hit them hard and get in contact with corporate.”
Nothing can be more jarring for devoted fans than an unexpected menu change that sees one of your favorite items dropped from the offerings. But, unfortunately, Wawa is just like any other operation when it comes to trimming items for one reason or another.
In a post to the r/Wawa subreddit on Oct. 18, user yxxnkxxk writes that several items will soon be cut from the store’s menu. They include barbacoa, tacos, mango popping bubbles, black tea, and Red Bull infusions used in the store’s drinks. They add that while the store’s salads won’t be removed, changes are being made to their sizes.
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Thanks to how common they’ve become, deciding to download a store’s app feels like much more of a commitment than it was just a few years ago. However, employees warn that anyone not using it on their phone is likely leaving savings on the table.
“If you’re not using the app, you should be! Corporate periodically sends out coupons, and as long as you have a gift card registered, you will get them,” yougococo posted in a Reddit AMA reply. “Get a $5 gift card and even if you register it and never use it, you’ll still get the coupons via the app.”
And it’s not just money you can save: The program also allows you to order your food and drinks and pay ahead of time so you can pick it up and be on your way within seconds. It also allows you to take part in the store’s rewards program.
If there’s anything more crushing than an item being taken off a menu, it’s having a beloved dish changed from its original form and sticking around like a shell of its former self. And according to employees, one long-time popular food item isn’t quite what it used to be due to a swap out.
“They switched from fresh Amoroso rolls to parbaked rolls. Cheaper but not as good,” one anonymous employee told Philadelphia magazine in an interview. “We finish baking them in the store, so they say they are fresher, but really the old Amoroso rolls were better.”
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There’s no disputing the fact that Wawa is beloved for its sandwiches: The store manages to sell 83 million “hoagies” each year, according to Philadelphia magazine. But while you can customize your Buffalo chicken salad, roast beef, or Italian sandwich any way you’d like, one employee warns that there’s one menu item that you should never order: the cold Gobbler sandwich.
“The regular Gobbler is hot turkey with gravy,” an anonymous employee told Philadelphia magazine. “But the cold one is made with cold lunchmeat turkey, and it’s a terrible sandwich.”