MILFORD Conn. Subway will launch a national breakfast menu of egg and cheese sandwiches next month, joining other quick-service players in the increasingly competitive hunt for morning sales.
The new breakfast sandwiches debuted March 1 in Canada and will be sold at more than 25,000 of Subway's North America locations beginning April 5, the chain said Monday.
The sandwiches feature omelets made from regular eggs or egg whites and cheese. Options include Western egg and cheese; Black Forest ham, egg and cheese; double bacon, egg and cheese; and steak, egg and cheese. For the bread, customers can choose light whole-wheat English muffins, flatbread or Subway's traditional 6-inch or foot-long hoagie breads.
All the breakfast sandwiches can be customized to include any vegetables or condiments Subway uses during lunch, spokesman Kevin Kane said.
"Choice is involved because we wanted to be consistent with what we offer for lunch,” he said.
Prices range from $1.75 to $2.25 for English muffin melts, $2 to $3.50 for 6-inch sandwiches and flatbread sandwiches, and $4 to $6 for the Footlongs.
Kane noted that Subway has made an effort to keep the new breakfast sandwiches healthful and with “a low-fat emphasis.” For example, he said, a sandwich made with egg whites, Black Forest ham and cheese on a whole-wheat English muffin contains 4 grams of fat.
Subway also said it would use cage-free eggs in its breakfast menu offerings.
Breakfast remains a hot daypart for restaurants despite sales declines over the past year. A recent study by Mintel found that restaurants added more than 460 new breakfast products in 2009, more than in the previous two years. However, half the consumers surveyed by research firm said they cut their spending on restaurant breakfasts last year.
Still, big fast-food players like McDonald's, Hardee's and Burger King continue to push breakfast, while other chains look to get in the game. Wendy's has been refining its breakfast program, which it plans to launch in 2011, and Taco Bell currently has a menu in test. Meanwhile one of Subway's biggest rivals, Quiznos, recently introduced breakfast sandwiches at its convenience store locations.
Mintel said it expects the morning daypart will pick up steam after 2011, with breakfast sales projected to grow 13 percent between 2009 and 2014.