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Subway’s New Menu

Since Subway came into existence 57 years ago, customers have been able to build their own sandwich.

However, the company recently introduced a new product line, its Subway Series Sandwiches. Customers can choose to still build their own sandwich, or order one of the twelve Subway Series Sandwiches by number or name.

The twelve new sandwiches were selected from hundreds of options. Chef-developed, focusing on recently introduced ingredients, the Subway Series choices were based on digital order data.

This menu change follows last year “Eat, Fresh, Refresh” menu change that focused on upgraded ingredients. That change helped Subway obtain record sales in 2021. Subway has been losing market sales and hopes to reverse this trend with a fresh set of changes.

Video Spotlight:  

This post is based on the Chicago Sun Times article, Fewer Stores and New Menu Drive the Refresh of Subway Sandwich Shops, by Dee-Ann Durbin, July 13, 2022, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Ken Wolter/123RF

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why change a menu that has been successful for 57 years?

Guidance: Declining sales and market share generally encourage change. Last year’s menu changes focused on better ingredients. This year’s changes focused on reducing choices.

Are more options always better? The answer is no. With too many choices, many people feel overwhelmed.

Studies have actually shown that more choices can lead to less customer satisfaction. Therefore, Subway has developed twelve sandwiches based on a data-driven, chef inspired approach that focuses on the upgraded ingredients that they introduced last year.

2. Are there operational benefits to the Subway Signature Series?

Guidance: In additional to simplifying the customer’s decision-making process, there are operational advantages. One benefit is simplifying the ordering process. Customers can simply order by the name or number of the sandwich, which improves ordering efficiency and accuracy.

Furthermore, it will simplify the inventory management process as restaurants can forecast at the sandwich level, and use the dependent demand relationship to obtain the inventory level needed for individual ingredients. This should improve efficiency, and reduce costs. The improvement should flow through their entire supply chain.

3. Are there any major drawbacks to the changes?

Guidance: Anytime you make a major change to a process that has been in existence for 57 years, there will be some customers that don’t like the change. However, you can still build your own sandwich if you want. And Subway’s app still carries its classic sandwiches. So, there shouldn’t be too many issues if these twelve Subway Series sandwiches are as good as advertised.

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