Subway hopes new wraps lift its sales

The Signature Wraps give the sandwich chain a more meat-filled option.

Subway hopes that customers will come to the chain for more meat, and less bread.

The Milford, Conn.-based sandwich giant has started selling a trio of new wrap sandwiches as part of an effort to lift weak sales.

The Signature Wraps are being sold for $6.99 and look a bit like a burrito, and they have double the meat of a typical 6-inch sandwich. They’re also the biggest product introduction at the chain in at least two years.

“They taste indulgent, so people like them,” Suzanne Greco, Subway’s CEO, told Restaurant Business in an interview this week. “We’re really excited about it. No one else is selling a wrap for a meal.”

The sandwich giant plans to start advertising the wraps with a series of television ads that focus on the wraps’ heartiness, with comments such as “We don’t do dainty” in an ad featuring some older men wearing tutus.

Subway started testing the wraps in Maine and then spread them to other markets before introducing them nationally more recently as part of a “soft launch.”

The wraps give Subway a meatier option at a time when consumers are still concerned about carbs and gluten.

“Customers are looking for new products, or products with more protein,” Greco says. “I think a lot of people are looking for this.”

This isn’t the first wrap the chain has offered. Subway had an Atkins wrap years ago when the low-carb diet was popular.

The wraps come in three options: Chipotle Southwest Steak & Cheese, with a tomato basil wrap, Monterey cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, jalapenos, guacamole and Chipotle Southwest sauce; Turkey Bacon & Guacamole, with turkey, bacon, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, guacamole, ranch dressing and a tomato basil wrap, and Savory Rotisserie-Style Chicken Caesar, with Caesar sauce, rotisserie chicken, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and a spinach wrap.

Each of the wraps is customizable.

This is the biggest new product launch for the company in years, since rotisserie chicken was added in 2016.

The company plans to add its wraps to catering platters and its Subway to Go box meals.

Executives are hopeful that the product can generate sales at a time when intense competition and concerns about overdevelopment have hurt unit volumes and traffic in recent years.

The wraps are part of a broad revitalization strategy that includes remodels, changes in store development including more closures and franchisee transfers, and an infusion of technology.

The chain’s system sales declined 4.4% to $10.8 billion in 2017, the lowest amount since 2010. Same-store traffic at the chain has decreased by 25% since 2012.

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