Subway’s ‘Footlong Pass’ was apparently quite popular

The sandwich giant offered 10,000 people the chance to get 50% off their footlong subs throughout September for $15. It sold out in six hours.
Subway footlong subscription
Subway sold 10,000 "Footlong Passes" in just six hours. / Photograph: Shutterstock.

Subway customers like their cheap footlong subs so much they’re willing to pay to get them.

The sandwich giant this week started offering customers the option to get half off their footlong subs throughout the entire month of September. The catch: They must be a member of the chain’s MyWay Rewards loyalty program and they must pay $15. Oh, and the number of such offers were capped at 10,000—or roughly one for every two of the chain’s U.S. restaurants.

That was the right number, at least from a marketing perspective: The company sold out of its $15 Footlong Pass in just six hours.

That may not be the last of the available subscriptions. The company suggested in a release that members of its loyalty program “are encouraged to stay tuned for more opportunities to participate in the industry’s first monthlong sandwich subscription.”

Such subscription services have become popular in recent years as companies use them to generate ancillary revenue and encourage loyal customers to come in more frequently, when they’d potentially buy other things like drinks and chips.

For instance, BJ’s Restaurants this week sold out of its $10 “Pizookie” subscription enabling some members of that chain’s loyalty program to get an unlimited supply of its popular dessert every day throughout September.

Earlier this year, Taco Bell started selling a $10 Taco Lover’s Pass nationwide. That offer ended in April, however.

Many of these are tied to chains’ loyalty programs, where the technology more easily enables such ideas and where marketing for the offers can drive memberships and more directly encourage more customer frequency.

Subway’s pass is quite limited, likely just a tiny fraction of its overall membership. While customers would still pay some for their subs—unlike either Taco Bell’s or BJ’s offers—it provides customers with a potentially lucrative benefit.

For instance, if a customer were to order a single Supreme Meats sub from Subway every day through the offer, it would save them $178 in suburban Minneapolis. That’s a $163 benefit less the $15 cost of the subscription. Customers can only get one 50% footlong per day.

The offer comes as Subway has been making numerous changes to its operations and its menu. The sandwich giant made several improvements to menu items last year. This year it introduced a line of a dozen core sandwiches designed to shift attention away from its focus on customization. It is also planning to add slicers to its restaurants by next summer.

The subscription program is designed to improve use of the company’s loyalty program, a keystone in the brand’s efforts to encourage more customers to use its mobile app and come in more frequently.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Trend or fad? These restaurant currents could go either way

Reality Check: A number of ripples were evident in the business during the first half of the year. The question is, do they have staying power?


Starbucks' value offer is a bad idea

The Bottom Line: It’s not entirely clear that price is the reason Starbucks is losing traffic. If it isn’t, the company’s new value offer could backfire.


Struggling I Heart Mac and Cheese franchisees push back against their franchisor

Operators say most of them aren't making money and want a break on their royalties. But they also complain about receiving expired cheese from closed stores. "Don't send us moldy product."


More from our partners