Subway noted positive initial feedback from college students, who enjoy the convenience of being able to grab a sammy 24/7. The brand is also seeing strong interest from franchise owners who want to expand their portfolios with smart fridges.
These new initiatives and programs are all part of the brand’s transformational journey, which started in 2021 with a total overhaul of the guest experience. Subway’s digital sales surpassed $1.3 billion in 2021, three times as much as 2019, driven by its updated and more user-friendly mobile app and partnership with DoorDash that offers direct delivery through Subway’s website and app.
In the U.S., the 100 percent franchised concept finished 2021 with $9.4 billion in systemwide sales and 21,147 outlets. About 16,000 of those locations, or 75 percent of its U.S. system, experienced a 7.5 percent increase in same-store sales versus 2019.
Much of Subway’s recent success can be attributed to the biggest menu update in its 56-year history, “Eat Fresh Refresh,” which involved 11 new ingredients, six new or returning sandwiches, and four revamped signature products. Ad campaigns featuring celebrities such as Serena Williams, Steph Curry, Tom Brady, and Charles Barkley bolstered the launch, and helped Subway beat 2021 sales projections by nearly $1.4 billion.
With an international presence of more than 37,000 restaurants across more than 100 countries, Subway is allowing owners across all regions to introduce non-traditional concepts, from Grab & Go and express kiosks to ghost kitchens and drive-thrus. Subway’s plans for growth include partnering with new master franchisees and country developers who want to test new formats in their markets, and the brand expects non-traditional locations to “increasingly make up a significant portion of future restaurants,” according to the company.