Quick-service operators have a tough task promoting themselves in a market where consumers are increasingly concerned with keeping to a balanced diet. This year began with new healthy eating–based marketing campaigns—a renewed interest in a trend that had taken a backseat to promoting price and value for a while.
Quick serves of all sizes are hopping on the green-construction bandwagon, installing everything from energy-efficient lighting and kitchen equipment to solar roof panels. But whether or not these sustainability improvements result in increased tax savings—and a quicker return on investment—is largely a question of whether CFOs and their tax officers take an active role in planning, development, and education.
In March of 2008, Subway launched a value deal nationwide that already had explosive success in a number of the chain’s South Florida stores. The introduction of the $5 footlong deal across the U.S. was intended to be an answer to the $1 value menus of industry standard-bearers such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s and a new direction for the brand in the wake of its advertising success with Jared Fogle.
Money is tighter. Consumers are crabbier. So are many employees. But some executives say the recession has made it even more important for chains to leverage better service into happier patrons.
“Customers have limited funds these days and use more discretion with them,” says Tom Coba, Subway’s chief operating officer. “Their expectation is that they’re going to get good service, or they’ll go somewhere else.”