More than 100 Subway restaurants in Southern California have turned into temporary grocery stores, selling restaurant ingredients such as bagged lettuce and frozen soups to consumers looking for a safe and fast way to obtain groceries without entering a supermarket.

The Subway Grocery allows customers to buy online items such as baked bread, deli meats, sliced cheese, vegetables and soups. Street-side pick up orders can be ready in an hour at some locations. Delivery orders, available in half of the locations, are made the same day.

Bob Grewal, a veteran development agent for the sandwich chain, started the Subway Grocery program at a handful of stores in Orange County, California.  The idea was to give consumers a safe and fast way to obtain certain groceries, while also allowing franchisees to supplement off-premise orders. In locations that do delivery, it also allows restaurants to keep more employees on staff. 

Consumers can also give back to front line workers while making orders. The Subway Grocery menu features a First Responder Subs program, allowing consumers to donate sandwiches with their grocery orders or as standalone donations.

While many independent restaurants throughout the US haven been offering customers items such as bread, milk and toilet paper, Subway is one of the first large scale national chains to experiment with an online grocery program.