Subway announced its latest menu refresh Tuesday, a lineup of 12 chef-created sandwiches the chain is calling the “Subway Series.” The new menu launches systemwide on July 5.
The sandwiches feature the upgraded ingredients introduced in Subway’s “Eat Fresh, Refresh” campaign introduced last July. These include premium Italian deli meats, steak, fresh mozzarella, rotisserie chicken, avocado and several new condiments, as well as new and improved artisan breads, now baked at each location.
Customers can still build their own subs from these ingredients and many more. But the 12 builds in the Subway Series, developed by the chain’s Senior Vice President of Culinary & innovation Paul Fabre and his team, layer flavors and ingredients that complement each other to enhance craveability.
“These are the 12 best sandwiches ever created at Subway,” said Fabre, during a presentation last month. “We had all the tools in our toolbox to create the perfect lineup with the best combinations.”
The Subway Series is divided into four groups: Italianos, Cheesesteaks, Chicken and Clubs, with three sandwiches falling into each.
RB editors were treated to a preview tasting of seven subs during the presentation. A personal favorite of mine was The Great Garlic, a rotisserie chicken sub layered with bacon, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes and red onions drizzled with creamy Roasted Garlic Aioli. The aioli is the only new SKU brought in to for the Subway Series.
“The roasted garlic aioli uses three different garlic flavors,” said Fabre, adding that guests had long been asking for this flavor profile as a sandwich addition. “Customers can now get the aioli on any sandwich.
The 11 other sandwiches are built from ingredients already in Subway’s vast pantry, including recent condiment add-ons like peppercorn ranch and vinaigrette. The latter goes especially well on the Italianos.
The Supreme Meats, for example, layers authentic Italian cold cuts, including Genoa salami, pepperoni and capicola with Black Forest Ham, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and banana peppers. The extra-meaty sandwich is topped off with parmesan vinaigrette.
A hot meatball sub called “The Boss” replicates the kind of sandwich you’d get from an Italian grandma. Subway sources precooked meatballs and heats them up in marinara sauce, then adds fresh mozzarella and pepperoni. It’s piled on toasted Italian Herbs & Cheese bread for an old-world eating experience.
Fabre premiumized the three sandwiches in the cheesesteak group by doubling the cheese. The Monster layers steak, bacon, green peppers, red onions and a double portion of Monterey cheddar, topped off with peppercorn ranch. The Philly, which was the most popular during the Subway Series test, is stacked with double the provolone.
The All-American Club is closer to a classic Subway sandwich than some of the others. It features oven-roasted turkey, Black Forest Ham, bacon and American cheese topped with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and mayo.
While customization has traditionally been a selling point for Subway, the new core menu makes ordering and execution easier, and eliminates the “decision paralysis” customers may experience when they walk into one of the 21,000 locations.
When the new menu was tested over multiple months in Wichita, Kan., Fort Meyers, Fla. and Toledo, Ohio, 50% of customers ordered the new sandwich builds as is, according to Subway.
One of the dangers of customization, said Fabre, is the guest who creates a sub with ingredients or flavors that clash—like adding cucumbers to a meatball sub. That kind of faux pas may keep that customer from returning to Subway.
During the presentation, Fabre and Trevor Haynes, the chain’s North American president, said that guests can expect more “set” builds to be introduced over time. There will also be more iterations in equipment and technology at the store level “to move in step with guest demands.”
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