Subway has installed deli meat slicers in about 20,000 U.S. restaurants at an $80 million investment and is expanding its Subway Series menu with four new sandwiches that rely on the new equipment, the company says.
The Milford, Conn.-based quick-service brand, which also has dual offices in Miami, said the slicers were one of the most complex changes it has ever made, entailing changes in store design as well as its supply chain.
“This is really a next step in our transformation journey,” said Paul Fabre, Subway’s senior vice president of culinary and innovation, during an interview at the company’s Miami offices. “It's really about freshly sliced meats and how they really elevate all of our menu.”
Over the past nine months, Subway has added one slicer to its U.S. stores about every five minutes. To highlight the changes in equipment and supply chain, the brand is following up its Subway Series, introduced last year, with a new category called Deli Heroes – a collection of four deli-style subs ordered by name or number.
The four new sandwiches include the Titan Turkey and the Grand Slam Ham, both of which contain about 33% more meat than a traditional sub, and the Garlic Roast Beef, which has double the provolone cheese. The fourth sandwich is The Beast, with five meats.
To introduce the new sandwiches, Subway is offering up to 1 million free six-inch Deli Heroes subs at participating restaurants across the country on Tuesday, July 11, between 10 a.m. and noon local time. Subway plans to accompany the rollout with mass-media advertising.
The in-store sliced meats are the third phase of Subway’s transformation over the past two years.
Trevor Haynes, Subway’s president for North America, said: “Subway 1.0 was the elevation of the breads and proteins. Then we did the Series, and the franchisee operators were very proud.”
The slicing of meats in store is expected to add few labor hours to operations, Haynes said. The supply-chain changes have been executed with the Subway franchisee cooperative, he added.
“Franchisees were concerned about an increase in labor, but there’s ample time to do that during the day,” Haynes said. “So it doesn’t add costs.” The slicers also have a wide service network, he added.
Haynes said the in-store sliced meats are the third phase of the brand’s efforts to improve the quality of the menu items. Those required modifying the supply chain to produce product for the new offerings, which include:
Titan Turkey (#15): Turkey, double provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and mayonnaise. Served on Artisan Italian bread.
Grand Slam Ham (#99): Ham, double provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and mayonnaise. Served on Artisan Italian bread.
Garlic Roast Beef (#17): Roast Beef, double provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and Roasted Garlic Aioli. Served on Artisan Italian bread.
The Beast (#30): Pepperoni, salami, turkey, ham, roast beef, double provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mayonnaise, and MVP Vinaigrette. Served on Artisan Italian bread.
Fabre, who said his personal favorite is The Beast, said he and his culinary team are proud of all the subs.
“Turkey sandwiches are the No. 1 selling sandwich,” Fabre added. “Everybody loves the classic Turkey sandwich. This is just an elevated version.”
Along with the equipment updates, Subway said more than 10,000 restaurants across North America have been updated with a fresh look, and the company continues to roll out enhancements to its digital experience to make online ordering easier and faster.
Privately held Subway, which in February announced it was putting itself up for sale, has nearly 37,000 restaurants worldwide.
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