Subway announced Wednesday the launch of new Deli Hero sandwiches made with freshly sliced meat, marking the chain’s third straight year of major summer menu innovation.
The lineup—featuring Titan Turkey, Grand Slam Ham, Garlic Roast Beef, and The Beast—are an extension of the Subway Series menu that can be ordered by name or number. The Titan Turkey and Grand Slam Ham comprise 33 percent more meat than traditional subs, while The Beast has one-half pound of meat (pepperoni, salami, turkey, ham, and roast beef). All sandwiches come with double cheese and artisan Italian bread. The meat is batch-sliced throughout the day instead of sliced to order.
“Over the past two years, we overhauled our expansive pantry of ingredients and debuted a whole new way to Subway with chef-crafted signature sandwiches. These major changes led to rave reviews from our guests and record-breaking sales,” Trevor Haynes, president, North America, said in a statement. “This year’s changes are even bigger and more transformational. The addition of freshly sliced meats is the most impactful yet as it gives our guests a better sandwich—raising the bar even higher for the brand that defined fresh. We can’t wait for America to taste the difference and see how far we have come on our journey.”
Subway spent more than two years preparing for the rollout of freshly sliced meats. The company reorganized its supply chain and inserted a meat slicer in one store every five minutes across nine months. The chain spent over $80 million so that U.S. franchisees could receive the equipment for free.
The new products are part of Subway’s ongoing multi-year transformational journey. It began in 2021 with Eat Fresh Refresh, the chain’s largest menu update in history—11 new and improved ingredients, six new or returning sandwiches, and four revamped signature sandwiches. The brand followed that up in July 2022 with the Subway Series, a new menu of 12 signature sandwiches that can be ordered by name or number.
If Deli Heroes are anything like the previous two rollouts, favorable sales increases lie ahead for Subway. In 2021, the company beat sales projections by $1.4 billion and reached its highest annual AUV since 2014 thanks in part to the Eat Fresh Refresh launch. The chain reported August 2021 was the best sales month since 2013. And then last year, because of the Subway Series menu, the chain ended 2022 with eight straight quarters of positive same-store sales. North America comps lifted 7.8 percent year-over-year, with the top 75 percent (17,000 stores) growing 12.5 percent. Stores also consistently surpassed decade-old weekly AUV sales marks.
Subway ended last year with 20,576 stores in the U.S., a net decrease of 576 restaurants year-over-year. More than 10,000 units in North America have completed the “Fresh Forward” remodel, which comes with LED lighting, new floor coverings, containers, tables, colors, and chairs.
The brand confirmed several months ago that it is exploring a sale, but with no certainty that a transaction would happen. Some of the reported candidates include Roark Capital—parent of Inspire Brands and Focus Brands—Bain Capital, TPG, Advent International Corp, TDR Capital, and Goldman Sachs.
On July 11, Subway will offer up to 1 million free 6-inch Deli Heroes at participating restaurants between 10 a.m. and noon local time.