- Subway is adding freshly sliced deli meats to its menu, highlighted by a new category called “Deli Heroes,” the company announced Wednesday. The new category has four sandwiches with more meat, and double the cheese, of a traditional sub.
- To support this change, Subway revamped its supply chain and spent over $80 million to install meat slicers in 20,000 restaurants. The company gifted the slicers to all of its U.S. franchisees, per a press release.
- Deli Heroes is the company’s most complex menu revision yet, per the release. It’s also Subway’s third menu update since its 2021 Eat Fresh Refresh, which included over 20 menu changes, and its 2022 addition of the Subway Series, which includes a dozen signature subs that can be ordered by name or number.
Menu innovation, in-store renovations and its multi-unit franchise focus appear to be the Subway’s biggest strategies to improve its business.
The Deli Heroes sandwiches are an expansion of its Subway Series menu, which allow customers to order by name or number instead of traditional customization. Earlier this year, the company enhanced this menu with six more sandwiches, including All-Pro Sweet Onion Teriyaki and Ultimate B.M.T. The Subway Series menu update contributed to a 7.8% increase in same-store sales in North America last year.
Subway has been working on its Deli Heroes fresh-sliced sandwiches for two years.
"This year's changes are even bigger and more transformational. The addition of freshly sliced meats is the most impactful yet as it gives our guests a better sandwich — raising the bar even higher,” said Trevor Haynes, Subway’s president of North America.
Subway’s latest menu revision coincides with the company’s efforts to sell itself. In early June, the sale appeared to be stalled, which analysts told Franchise Times was not a good sign. The longer the process takes, the more complicated it can become, according to Franchise Times.
At the same time, the company has shifted its franchising strategy to focus on adding multi-unit operators to its system — a departure from its legacy of single owner/operators. That strategy led to the transfer of 230 stores to five multi-unit operators earlier this year. To accompany this, Subway has renovated more than 10,000 of its locations across North America. The company is also pushing to grow its international business, signing a deal with a master franchisee for 4,000 units in China.
As part of the Deli Heroes rollout, the company will provide up to 1 million free six-inch Deli Heroes subs at participating restaurants on July 11 from 10 a.m. to noon local time, according to the press release.