Subway, the fast food chain serving as the former home of the $5 footlong sub, has announced a major change to how it’s doing business. Effective immediately, the sandwich chain’s 20,000+ United States locations are rolling out a new system for handling their meats, freshly slicing them upon request rather than offering pre-cut slices, according to a report from CNN.
Subway will now be cutting meat on demand instead of serving pre-cut slices from a warehouse.
While it may seem like a no-brainer for serving cold cuts, Subway’s latest measure is sure to entice its clientele by boosting the freshness of its product.
Many other local delis or sandwich chains across the country, such as Jersey Mikes, Jimmy Johns, and Firehouse Subs, have offered freshly cut sandwich meats for many years, Subway has always saved costs by having their meat cut into manageable slices at regional warehouses before being shipped out to individual locations in the back of a refrigerated truck.
As Subway continues to play catch-up with competing chains, its sales have taken a noticeable dip, with over 7,000 locations closing down since 2016. It’s three biggest competitors, the aforementioned Jersey Mikes, Jimmy Johns, and Firehouse Subs, each take in roughly $1 million per unit per year, whereas the average Subway location is estimated to make less than $500,000 per year.
In fact, the privately-owned company has recently been listed for acquisition, with the president of North American Operations, Trevor Haynes, stating that they’re on track to make some follow-up announcements regarding the sale in the coming weeks.
While no word has been made available to the public regarding who or what entity will be acquiring the fast food giant, corporations such as Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and TPG Capital have officially placed bids as recently as March.
Though Subway has faced dwindling sales figures in recent years, the chain seems to have made itself an appealing acquisition target by making a series of structural changes to their menu and business model alike.
Subway Has Made Changes To Remain Relevant
For starters, the sandwich shop began allowing various substitutions to their listed menu and refreshing and increasing their offerings to diversify their customer demographics.
Additionally, Subway has started freshly slicing vegetables, baking their own bread in-house, and offering a variety of fresh cookies prior to this announcement that meats will also be freshly sliced on location. Subway has also made an effort to pivot much of its sales into online pickup orders through its official app, offering a number of promotions to support its digital network.
Subway’s change to fresh cut meat doesn’t apply to steak or chicken, which will still arrive pre-cut from the warehouse.
Despite spending over $6,000 per deli slicer, and prominently displaying the new hardware in 80 percent of the chain’s stores, Subway has announced that cheese, steak, and rotisserie chicken will remain pre-sliced as per the old method.
While it remains unclear why these particular ingredients are unable to adapt to the new system, Subway plans to roll out a number of new sandwiches which incentivize the use of the slicer, including menu items that rely heavily on turkey, pepperoni, salami, ham, and roast beef.