Subway

2010 in Review

Reporting by Blair Chancey, Sam Oches, Daniel P. Smith, Robin Van Tan, Barney Wolf & Lori Zanteson

1. BK Sold to Brazilian Investors

Becoming the decade’s biggest restaurant buyout, No. 3 burger chain Burger King Corp. was acquired by 3G Capital, a New York firm backed by Brazilian investors, for $3.3 billion in September. —BC

2. The Food Truck Obsession

Anatomy of a Footlong: Subway Exec on “Undercover Boss”

On Sunday night’s episode of “Undercover Boss,” viewers watched with amusement as Don Fertman, chief development officer at Subway, learned how to address customers walking into the sandwich shop.

His on-site boss in Florida, a no-nonsense woman named Jessi, asked him what he believed an appropriate greeting would be. Don hesitated. What was the answer?

“Welcome… to… Subway,” Jessi said through gritted teeth, clearly straining her patience.

Snacks That Last

The problem with snacks nowadays is that they no longer know their proper place. 

Based on the results of a survey conducted by market research firm Technomic earlier this year, these uppity, stopgap appetite-tamers are muscling in on what used to be mealtime turf. Indeed, more than two out of five consumers told the company that they often either skip one meal each day or replace one meal per day with snacks. That, for those of you watching at home, is an awful lot of lost meal occasions.

The Dirty Work

Some might say that the last three years have not been very, well, accommodating for the quick-service industry. With lenders and customers alike pulling their dollars off the table, the industry has been left to make due with the circumstances and struggle to stay afloat until the economic environment warms.

Although the recession created a fair share of hand wringing in quick-serve c-suites, the franchisees have been dealt the biggest blow; they’re the ones tasked with keeping the brand’s operational gears turning, and the slowing dollars, for them, means a slowing livelihood.

The Price is Complicated

Setting the right price points is no easy task. In today’s post-recessionary economy, product pricing is particularly tricky because consumers’ perception of value is confounding and seems to shift constantly. People will camp out overnight for the chance to buy a $499 iPad, but you can’t seem to spark any interest in a $4.99 burger combo.

The Power of Two

Marketing professors over the years have lectured students that they should never give a customer too many choices. Quick-serve operators must have missed that class. A look at several successful quick-serve menus reveals some form of a Choose Two option, where consumers can create a meal by combining items from an array of choices. 

Rolling in Dough

There’s something about the smell and taste of freshly baked bread that triggers powerful, positive emotional responses in most of us.

Psychologists have noted that the aroma of baked bread evokes happy childhood memories, comfort, and even tender feelings of being loved. One recent survey found the fragrance of freshly baked bread is a favorite smell of both men and women.

This lesson is not lost on supermarkets, which for years have used the distinct aroma of bread baking from in-store bakeries to lure customers to buy more items.

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