Financing

Subway has apparently sold a lot of its new Footlong Sidekicks

The sub-sandwich chain, which is being sold to Roark Capital, said its footlong pretzel, churro and cookie are exceeding sales expectations.
Subway's Sidekicks
Subway said its Footlong Cookie has sold particularly well. | Photo by Jonathan Maze.

Footlong snacks apparently resonate with consumers.

That, at least, is based on sales of Subway’s new “Sidekicks,” which include a Cinnabon Footlong Churro and an Auntie Anne’s Footlong Pretzel along with its own Footlong Cookie. The Miami-based Subway said on Thursday that it has sold more than 3.5 million Sidekicks in the two weeks since its launch and that it is “rushing additional supply to meet guest” demand.

The footlong cookie in particular has been popular with customers, Subway said.

The company introduced its Sidekicks in mid-January, hoping that the footlong version of a churro, pretzel and its cookie would generate add-on sales to its existing sandwiches and convince customers to visit in the afternoon for a snack. It has been working on the snacks for well over a year.

It’s part of a broad set of menu changes and improvements designed to build sales for the chain, which operates 37,000 locations globally and about 20,000 in the U.S.

Subway said on Thursday that its same-store sales increased 5.9% in North America last year. It also said that its top 75% of restaurants in North America, about 17,000 locations, generated 10.1% same-store sales growth, though that implies that about 5,700 restaurants saw steep declines in the key sales metric last year.

The company did say that its global same-store sales have increased for 12 straight quarters. Subway also said that it finished with positive unit growth globally last year for the first time since 2016. The company did not provide exact figures, but that growth likely came from international restaurants that have returned to unit expansion over the past two years thanks to a series of development agreements.

“Sidekicks are a big hit with guests and the latest proof that Subway is a remarkably different brand than it was when we began our transformation journey three years ago,” CEO John Chidsey said in a statement.

Both Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s are part of Focus Brands, the Atlanta-based operator owned by Roark Capital, the private equity group trying to buy Subway. But the company has said it began working with those brands before it put itself up for sale early last year and said the snack line and the acquisition are not connected.

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