Subway Sells Footlong Everything Now

With its new "Sidekicks" menu, Subway is doubling down on what it’s known for.

If you didn't already associate Subway with footlong foods, the sandwich chain is making sure you will now. Subway has announced the introduction of a whole new menu category, Sidekicks, which includes a footlong cookie, footlong churro, and footlong pretzel. Why should sandwiches have all the fun?

Subway's Sidekicks will officially hit the menu nationwide on January 22, per an announcement emailed to The Takeout. The sandwich chain first announced the addition of the footlong cookie to its permanent menu back in November. At the time, the cookie was being offered as part of a celebration of National Cookie Day, but Subway also teased the fact it would be bringing the cookie back in January 2024 as a permanent offering.

Subway’s footlong desserts, explained

It appears the Footlong Cookie is a variation of the chocolate chip cookie Subway normally offers, but The Cinnabon Footlong Churro and The Auntie Anne's Footlong Pretzel are both partnerships with other brands. The Sidekicks also vary in price, with the footlong churro starting at $2, the footlong pretzel at $3, and the footlong cookie at $5.

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"The introduction of Sidekicks builds on six decades of equity and expertise in all things footlong," said Douglas Fry, president of Subway North America, in the announcement. "This whole new category on our menu offers Subway fans something they can't get anywhere else and kicks off a year of culinary innovation and delicious new menu items. 2024 may be the most exciting chapter yet in our growth story."

Subway’s recent changes

Fry is right: Subway is at a very interesting point in its evolution. The sandwich chain was recently bought by Roark Capital for $10 billion, but that sale is under scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, as it could create a monopoly in the sandwich category (Roark also has an ownership stake in Arby's, Jimmy John's, McAlister's Deli, and Schlotzky's, among other chains). 

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Meanwhile, at the end of 2023, the company also began forcing its franchise owners to accept "all digital programs and promotions, including loyalty rewards and digital discounts," despite the fact that many of these deals cost the franchisees more money than they bring in. The $5 Footlong promotion in particular has always been a losing proposition for franchisees.

As for menu innovations, Subway stopped serving pre-sliced meat and instead debuted on-site deli slicers at all of its locations last year, with the goal of improving the overall taste and quality of each sandwich. The new slicers also prompted Subway to add a new category on its Subway Series menu called Deli Heroes.

It's unclear whether any of these upgrades—the Sidekicks, the Deli Heroes, the increased focus on money-saving promotions—radically alter Subway's chances of climbing back up the ranks of America's top fast food chains. But one thing is certain: Subway knows its footlongs, and don't you forget it.

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