Subway’s goal of injecting more culinary innovation into its menu continues with two big summer introductions: milkshakes and ciabatta sandwiches.
Both offerings are “firsts” for the brand. The hand-spun milkshakes, which will roll out in select markets July 22, will be made with low-calorie Halo Top Creamery ice cream.
“This is the first time we are investing in a frozen beverage program with an eye toward national roll-out — and the only time any brand will offer this first-of-its kind, exclusive partnership with Halo Top,” Len Van Popering, Subway’s chief brand and innovation officer, told Nation’s Restaurant News.
The 16-ounce shakes come in three classic flavors: vanilla bean, chocolate and strawberry. They will be available July 22 through Sept. 4 at nearly 1,000 restaurants in six test markets: Colorado Springs, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; Longview and Tyler, Texas; Salt Lake City; Toledo, Ohio; and West Palm Beach, Fla.
The company declined to comment on the capital investment needed to accommodate the shakes.
“While I cannot share investment specifics, I can tell you that our new hand-spun Halo Top milkshake program includes a drink mixer and counter-top freezer,” Van Popering said.
Each shake, which does not come with whipped cream, contains no more than 350 calories. Halo Top owner, Los Angeles-based Eden Creamery LLC, also operates three scoop shops in Southern California.
The company, which boldly contrasts its nutritional information against rivals like Häagen-Dazs on its website, has been called a disruptor in the retail ice cream business. The company uses stevia instead of sugar on its products, including a vegan line of flavors.
“We are passionate about creating delicious new menu items for our guests that can’t be found anywhere else. We share Halo Top’s values that taste does not need to be sacrificed to create better-for-you options,” Popering said in a statement. “We are excited to bring this popular brand to our guests in a never-before-seen way that we know they will love.”
The Milford, Conn.-based sandwich chain has also introduced a line of limited-time ciabatta sandwiches featuring fresh mozzarella and three new sauces.
The company said it is the first time the brand has ever offered ciabatta as a bread option. The Ciabatta Collection, available through Sept. 4, includes three new sandwiches that use core meats with new sauces, ciabatta, mozzarella and a different mix of vegetables, the company said.
The Italian includes Genoa salami, a layer of mozzarella, spinach, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers and a new balsamic sub sauce. The Chicken Pesto sandwich contains rotisserie-style chicken with fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a new basil-pesto sauce. The Garlic Steak & Provolone sandwich is layered with shaved steak, provolone, tomatoes, onion, green peppers and topped with a new creamy garlic aïoli.
Subway has also added Hubert’s Lemonade as a permanent beverage option.
Food experimentation has increased over the past year at the brand, which has been focused on revamping stores and adding new ingredients and flavors to its menu. In June, the brand began testing new eight-inch subs made with King’s Hawaiian bread.
Van Popering also spearheaded the recent partnership with food media brand Tastemade, which is collaborating with the company to produce and market new sandwiches.
The company, which is 100% franchised, has about 42,400 restaurants in more than 100 countries. In the U.S., the brand has about 24,800 restaurants.
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