Subway is expecting to once again introduce itself to clients and convince them to try its sandwiches out after years of declining sales.
One week from now, Subway restaurants the nation over will reveal an updated menu intended to further develop items no matter how you look at it. The chain says the move is the biggest menu change in its history.
The revamp incorporates new recipes for the chain’s Italian and multigrain bread, as well as new sandwich toppings.
The chain is likewise tweaking items effectively on the menu. Subway’s bacon, for example, will currently be hickory-smoked, and its turkey and ham sliced more meagerly. It’s additionally bringing back past items like rotisserie-style chicken and roast beef.
To urge clients to attempt the new ingredients, a great many restaurants plan to surrender away to one million free sandwiches between 10 AM and 12 PM on July 13. The chain is additionally updating the appearance of its app and cooperating with DoorDash to allow clients to order delivery directly from the Subway app.
A few customers once considered Subway to be a reasonable, moderately healthy option — they could stack their sandwiches with their preferred mix of veggies and protein without breaking the bank. But in recent years, competition in the fast-casual space has helped edge Subway out.
“We want to make a loud enough bang … to draw those people back to give us another look,” Subway CEO John Chidsey told.
With the new menu, Subway is seeking those clients and expecting to satisfy its franchise operators.
Bringing customers back
As per the foodservice research and advisor firm Technomic, sales at Subway’s US locations have been falling in recent years. System-wide sales at Subway’s US locations were $12.3 billion in 2013, which was its best year of the previous 15, and about $8.3 billion in 2020, as per Technomic’s analysis.
Because of a request for comment on those numbers, Trevor Haynes, Subway’s president for North America, said in an emailed statement that “Subway is a privately held company and does not publicly disclose sales figures.” He added that “for the first half of 2021, on average sales are doing well compared to 2019, pre-pandemic levels.”
At the point when Subway previously rose to prominence, it “owned” customization, said Robert Byrne, director of consumer and industry insights at Technomic. However, the rise of fast-casual made customization the standard. Presently, clients can build their own burritos, salads, sandwiches, or bowls, making competition in the space furious. As more restaurants offer custom alternatives, “we want to continue to … dominate that space,” said Chidsey.
Subway’s research showed that clients wanted more innovation, Chidsey noted.
Because of that, the organization decided to “focus on raising the quality of the core ingredients, since with those core ingredients you can make almost an infinite number of sandwich combinations,” Chidsey said.
It’s difficult about customization. “Perceptions of health and what is healthy [have] evolved,” said Byrne. “From an ingredient standpoint, I know consumers would love to hear a little bit more about the sourcing.”
Recently, questions have been raised about Subway’s tuna — a lawsuit asserted that Subway’s tuna sandwich isn’t really made with the fish. The suit has since been revised to affirm that the tuna Subway utilizes isn’t made with 100% tuna and doesn’t generally utilize skipjack or yellowfin tuna. Subway called the first original lawsuit “meritless,” and said that “the new claims are untrue,” adding that “the lawsuit constitutes a reckless and improper attack on Subway’s brand.”
Subway is still gladly serving the product, saying that “the 100% wild-caught tuna remains a fan favorite among sub lovers.”
The refresh likewise has the conceivable advantage of satisfying franchise operators, some of whom have been clamoring for changes.
One metric of the update’s prosperity is a “re-energized franchisee community,” said Chidsey. “It’s important for us internally.” Franchisees have additionally been calling for more menu innovation, he said.
Some Subway franchise operators have complained publicly about the organization’s treatment of them. In April, an anonymous group of “concerned franchisees” composed an open letter to Elisabeth DeLuca, a co-owner of the chain. The Subway dream “has turned into a nightmare,” they said, composing that Subway hurt their business by franchising new locations close by or closing down stores for minor infractions, in addition to other things. In a separate letter, they complained of high franchise fees. Subway’s franchise fees are “competitive,” said Trevor Haynes, Subway’s president for North America, in an emailed statement.
“There are still a few people who are disgruntled about the past,” Chidsey said, in reference to the franchisee’s complaints. “But I would think that if you talk to the vast majority of our franchisees, they’d say we’ve had a hell of a six-month run,” he said, suggesting that the higher sales are encouraging to franchise operators. “Things are improving rather dramatically.” He added that the chain is focused on developing sales instead of the quantity of Subway restaurants in the United States.
Aligning franchise operators with the corporate team is fundamental for the organization to turn around, noticed Technomic’s Byrne. “I don’t think they can do anything until those two groups get on the same page.”