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Subway has made yet another massive change to its menu. Will it work?
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Pat Cobe, the senior menu editor for RB, in a discussion about Subway’s latest menu chane.
Subway last year overhauled its menu with an “eat fresh refresh,” an upgrade of numerous ingredients, including its bread. Some longtime operators who recall the chain’s decision in the late 1990s to go with a more traditional split bread approach—rather the trench it used to dig into the bread—as a bigger deal.
This month, the company introduced a set of 12 new sandwiches that are designed to operate as its core menu. The company will work to focus customers’ attention on those sandwiches, rather than its countertop with all its ingredients. The goal is to shift away from the customized menu that had been its trademark.
Will it work? It may be vital for Subway’s future. Subway has closed about 6,000 units in the past eight years. Its unit volumes even after improving strongly in 2021 remain low and a number of locations are still underperforming pre-pandemic levels. Getting more people into Subway more often is vital.
In this case, that could mean going away from customization, which Pat and I talk about at length. The two of us attended a tasting of its new menu and we talk about what it could mean for Subway’s future, and why a fully customized Subway menu may not be quite as beneficial as people think.
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