A recent study from foodservice industry consultant Technomic found that the sandwich segment of the quick-service industry performed strongly in 2008.

According to the report—the 2009 Top 100 Limited-Service Sandwich Chains Restaurant Report—the Top 100 limited-service sandwich chains had a collective sales increase of 8.6 percent (to $20.3 billion), while the entire sandwich segment of the limited-service industry grew by 6.9 percent (to $22.6 billion).

Also, while total restaurant industry units declined by 0.6 percent in 2008 and the total limited-service industry unit count increased by 0.6 percent, the sandwich segment of limited service increased in units by 1.4 percent. The Top 100 increased to more than 39,000 units, a 1.8 percent climb over 2007.

“The limited-service sandwich chains that continue to perform well have conveyed a strong value equation to their customers—from craveable flavor profiles to reasonable pricing to convenience of ordering,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, in a statement.

Unsurprisingly, Subway led the charge as 2008’s top sandwich chain, helping drive the segment’s growth. The sub chain’s sales increased 17.1 percent to $9.6 billion, and an additional 686 Subway units were opened over the course of the year.

The study reported that menu trends for the Top 100 sandwich chains included “use of flatbreads and premium ingredients, bolder flavor profiles, new hot panini-style sandwiches, healthier offerings, and the use of natural, organic, local, and sustainable sandwich components.”

“Given the challenging economic environment, leaders should understand the shifting expectations of their customers and be prepared to make the necessary changes to remain relevant, while keeping a watchful eye on margin erosion concerns,” Tristano said in the statement.

By Sam Oches

News, Sandwiches, Subway