- Subway will roll out the biggest changes to its core menu in the company's history and introduce digital upgrades on July 13, according to a press release.
- The sandwich chain's Eat Fresh Refresh includes over 20 menu updates, including 11 new and improved ingredients, six all-new or returning sandwiches and four revamped signature sandwiches. The company is also introducing two fresh-baked breads, artisan Italian and hearty multigrain.
- The company has also made updates to its digital ordering experience, including a new dashboard, improved ordering flow and insights into out-of-stock items. The chain will also launch Subway Delivery nationwide in select areas, allowing guests to place delivery orders through Subway's app or website.
Last year ushered in several challenges for the sandwich chain, ranging from layoffs at corporate to franchisee complaints over the $5 Footlong promotion and store closures. But Subway has emerged from pandemic disruption ready to hire 40,000 employees across its U.S. system. These menu and digital enhancements could be what the chain needs to maintain momentum as the COVID-19 crisis ebbs.
Subway previously added in-store and curbside pickup options during the pandemic, which helped refine how it approached these channels, Trevor Haynes, Subway President of North America, said in an email.
"The digital side of our business is more important than ever before and we are making the digital ordering experience simpler and more intuitive," Haynes said. "Our focus is to meet guests where they are — on the Subway App, on our website, through third-party delivery and the recent launch of direct delivery — but with the same signature customization experience our restaurants are known for."
As part of the revamp, over 10,000 restaurants will close at 6 p.m. local time July 12 to allow teams to get ready for the Eat Fresh Refresh launch, according to the press release. This closure will include a training recap for employees, installation of new in-store design features and a VIP event for friends and family, Haynes said.
"We can't implement changes on this scale without the close partnership of our network of 11,000 franchisees," Haynes said. "The changes coming with the Eat Fresh Refresh are the result of more than a year of close collaboration through testing, training and investing in our business to deliver a better return on theirs."
New ingredients will include deli-thin sliced ham and turkey, hickory-smoked bacon and smashed avocado. The new sandwiches will include the Turkey Cali Fresh, Steak Cali Fresh and All-American Club. As part of the Eat Fresh Launch, the chain will also give away up to 1 million free subs from 10 a.m. to noon local time on July 13.
The refresh comes as Subway deals with allegations regarding the quality of some of its ingredients. Last month, The New York Times reported that it tested the tuna sandwich and found "no amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample," — a claim Subway has vehemently denied. Last year, Ireland's Supreme Court also ruled the chain's bread wasn't actually bread because it had too much sugar. In the refresh, Subway specifically points out that its tuna is not getting an upgrade, stating that it works with food quality experts to ensure its 100% wild-caught fish.
The ingredients upgrades aren't the only changes being made to Subway stores. About one-third of its U.S. restaurants will complete a remodel by the end of this year, Haynes said. This is in addition to updates made to Subway's visual identity, which included packaging and its digital suite overhaul, he said.
"We continue to explore multiple, different formats and models to reach more people and make it even more convenient to eat fresh at Subway," Haynes said. "Everything from Grab & Go formats and vending machines to modular buildings and even smaller footprint express-type models are being explored."