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The Fresh Leader
Subway is the largest U.S. restaurant chain by unit count — about 27,000 units — which means that president and CEO Suzanne Greco’s brand transformation project needs to be just as big. “It’s about the full customer experience,” Greco said. The sandwich chain has been rolling out a “fresh forward” redesign, much of which focuses on merchandising. Bread cabinets are in customer view, colors have been updated, lighting is more natural and house-chopped vegetables are on display. The brand took for granted that customers knew that vegetables are sliced in house, Greco told NRN. Greco has both a challenge and an opportunity to turn around falling sales and some negative headlines over the last couple of years.
Power List rank: No. 4
Known for: Sister of the late Subway founder Fred DeLuca, Greco started working at the quick-service brand in 1973 as a sandwich artist. She moved to head R&D for a couple of decades, experience that has been coming in handy. Over the last couple of years, the chain has updated its menu messaging; removed artificial colors, flavors and preservatives; and introduced some more-premium ingredients like applewood-smoked bacon, carved turkey breast and antibiotic-free meats.
Power move: Subway started to roll out its fresh redesign this summer to 120 locations. Remodeled units are seeing double-digit sales increases, Greco said.
What’s next: Subway continues to innovate with the introduction of a high-protein wrap promotion. The launch in March will coincide with the introduction of a new advertising campaign, Greco said. The brand will also continue to build convenience. Kiosks are in the new remodels, and Subway is launching a new loyalty platform and order-ahead app.