- Subway sold over 3.5 million Sidekicks items in the two weeks since launching the snack category of Footlong Cookies, Cinnabon Footlong Churros and Auntie Anne’s Footlong Pretzels, the company said in a press release Thursday.
- Its Footlong Cookies have been so popular that the chain has temporarily removed the item from digital ordering to better manage demand, the company wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive.
- This year, the company plans to add more menu items, and provide enhancements to the guest experience in-restaurant and online, that cater to the on-the-go customer.
Subway Sidekicks, which launched in January, are part of the company’s ongoing strategy to boost traffic, increase franchise profitability and improve the guest experience. The sandwich chain said the Sidekicks are exceeding sales expectations and are “creating fresh momentum following another year of record business results.”
Last year, Subway also added deli slicers to all of its U.S. restaurants — an $80 million investment — to provide freshly sliced meats to customers. It enhanced its digital guest experience by rolling out a revamped loyalty program, Subway MVP Rewards, as well. The new program offers three tiers that provide rewards and discounts depending on the customer’s annual spend at Subway. Other digital promotions last year, including the return of its Footlong Pass, helped boost traffic to its app.
These initiatives are paying off, with the chain reporting its 12th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth. For the year, its North American same-store sales were up 5.9% and up roughly 10% for its top 75% of its stores, roughly 17,000 locations. For the first time since 2016, the chain reported global same-store sales growth of 6.4%, the company said. Digital sales were also up 21.8% in North America and up in the double-digits around the world.
Other chains like Starbucks and McDonald’s have also been focusing on growing the snacking daypart. According to Placer.ai data, Starbucks’ afternoon daypart is growing at a faster rate than its morning traffic, which the company attributed to changing consumer habits due to work-from-home and hybrid work situations.
The coffee chain said sales for its all-day breakfast items were up 26% in the afternoon during FY 2023. Starbucks previously said it plans to expand its all-day snacking category and to provide more fresh-baked bakery items. Last year, McDonald’s launched its spinoff brand CosMc’s, which sells specialty drinks and snack food, and attracted “more than double the number of visits that a typical McDonald’s saw chainwide during December 2023,” according to Placer.ai traffic data.