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Subway to Franchisees: Sell $5 Footlong Only If You Want To

Complaints over slim margins on cheap sandwich has led to pullback on program
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2018 7:33 AM CDT
A Subway meal is seen at a restaurant in Londonderry, NH, on Feb. 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Newser) – Customers love Subway's $5 Footlong deal; franchisees, not so much. That's why the chain's CEO has decided to let individual owners decide whether they want to offer the sandwich at that price to their customers, per USA Today. Trevor Haynes tells the paper that, after hearing complaints about how little franchise owners profited from selling the discounted sandwich—largely because of the high cost of the deli meats used to make them—they can now each decide if it makes economic sense in their area to hawk the Footlong for just half a sawbuck. "If you look at California, there's a very different cost of business than in Arkansas," Haynes says, adding the company wants to help each owner achieve "a value proposition that fits with their economic model."

Other changes are also in the works, some of which are noted on the Subway site. Among them: a store redesign and "some more exotic tastes," including a spicier chicken sandwich. There's also a trial run for paninis underway in California. Haynes mentions one more challenge the chain faces: "Burger chains are big competitors," he says. "We need to make sure we're playing in that arena as well." For much of Sunday, in fact, Subway's Twitter feed was dedicated to bashing burgers, suggesting they're "boring" and "routine." One restaurant consultant tells USA Today the chain's revamps may be too little, too late. "Nothing has happened at Subway essentially in 10 years," he notes. "Bold flavors and spices have been a big deal in restaurants for at least five years. They totally missed that. They were asleep at the switch." (Subway announced hundreds of store closures earlier this year.)

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