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.
It’s 9 p.m. on a Friday in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves just won their men’s basketball game. Naturally, just as they do with every other home game, most in attendance migrate down the road toward the town’s Bojangles’.
Tommy Haddock, owner of the store, says the crowd is business as usual, as the Bojangles’ is also overrun on Friday mornings before school, when the local high school students stop by to grab breakfast before first period.
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.”