Fat Sandwich ends alcohol deliveries

Friday is the last day that Fat Sandwich Company will be allowed to legally deliver alcohol to customers, but store employees are confident that the new regulations will have a limited effect on business.

On Feb. 17, the Champaign City Council voted to close a loophole in a city ordinance that had allowed the restaurant to deliver alcohol along with its decadent sandwiches.

The alcoholic beverages are still allowed to be sold in-store, just not delivered, and Fat Sandwich co-owner Cole Lewko is confident business will continue as usual even with the new law.

“We didn’t do nearly as much business delivering alcohol as we thought,” Lewko said. “What keeps our customers coming back is our delicious sandwiches.”

After City Council members realized Fat Sandwich was delivering packaged liquor, they were surprised the liquor ordinance didn’t prohibit it, according to City Council minutes.

“It is naive to think the delivery service would be used by only hardworking graduate students who want a beer in the afternoon,” said Dist. 4 Council member Marci Dodds.

“No grown-up would use an alcohol delivery service unless it was for catering a large party. This type of business is set up to exploit bad decisions.”

The liquor license Fat Sandwich Company obtained in October 2008 did not expressly prohibit or support alcohol delivery, but Champaign Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Gerald Schweighart asked the Liquor Advisory Commission to consider an amendment that would address delivery specifically.

Some store employees are counting on the restaurant’s other attractions to keep business coming in.

“This is a great place to work and to come hang out and watch a game,” said co-manager Azeez Yusuf.

“I don’t think this will be a problem because we have a great in-store atmosphere and good food sales.”

Kevin Frank, senior in Media, said he and his friends have never used the delivery service but said he can see one of its potential benefits.

“I think it is strange that the alcohol delivery was banned, since it would seem a delivery service would help decrease drunk driving,” Frank said.

Dodds said the city council did not infringe on the most successful component of Fat Sandwich’s business, which is food sales.

“It is important to understand that the City Council did nothing to prohibit Fat Sandwich from opening a successful business on campus,” Dodds said.

“We made the decision to ban the delivery of alcohol because Fat Sandwich is clearly going after the campus market, where students are going through transitions and likely to make mistakes.”