Haynes says the Eat Fresh Refresh was a “mammoth effort” from all engaged stakeholders—corporate, supply chain, vendors, and franchisees. Subway tested products in different markets—Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oregon, Arizona, and Illinois, to name a few—for several months, and received an enormous amount of feedback from select franchisees, or brand ambassadors.
Subway worked with its supply chain to stand up core vendors to produce key items like turkey, ham, and steak, but also brought new partners to the table to ensure the supply chain is big enough to support the significant updates. Haynes notes 92 percent of the U.S. population is within 5 miles of a Subway, so the company knows what type of impact this rollout is capable of.
“I think the beautiful piece has been, everyone sees it, they want it and there's a huge belief in the system that this is absolutely the right thing,” Haynes says. “And the journey that we're on to create a better Subway, a bolder Subway is absolutely the right thing.”
To make it easier for customers to purchase these new items, Subway has upgraded its app, showcasing a new dashboard, less clicks during the ordering process, and insight into out-of-stock items. Additionally, the chain is partnering with DoorDash to launch delivery through its app and website in select markets.
Digital sales accelerated at Subway during the pandemic, just as it did across the industry. Forward-thinking franchisees crafted curbside pickup programs, and the company was able to take that and bring it to life on its digital platform. Haynes acknowledges the rollout of curbside wouldn’t have occurred as quickly as it did if it weren’t for motivation from COVID.
“I think it's just making our brand much more accessible and convenient,” Haynes says. “That's what we've got to go after. Subway has to be accessible, has to be convenient. We need to have all channels open for the guests so they can get to us anytime that they want.”
Although there is a portion of consumers who want to have items delivered, that doesn’t mean they’re not visiting the restaurant, as well. That’s why Subway is continuing with its reimage and remodel process, with 7,000 to be remodeled by the end of 2021. The redesign includes LED lighting, and new floor coverings, containers, tables, colors, and chairs. That will be accompanied by new in-store merchandising and packaging that “brings our iconic brand and unique voice to life,” the company said.