Subway's Tumultuous Year, Explained

A timeline of the recent ups and downs within America's largest sandwich chain.

Subway's current era was arguably ushered in by the bombshell announcement in February 2023 that the restaurant chain would no longer used pre-sliced meat to assemble its sandwiches. Other popular quick-service shops like Jimmy John's and Jersey Mike's slice their meat in-house, so in keeping with its competitors, Subway unveiled a plan to install deli slicers at every one of its many, many locations. — Dennis Lee

Read More

April 2023: Subway Slaps a $10 Billion Price Tag on Itself

In February 2023, after exceeding 2022 sales projections, Subway announced it was on the market, looking for the right buyer to come along. The company's CEO, John Chidsey, then explained in April why the brand was worth the $10 billion price tag it had slapped on itself—namely because it had plans to just keep growing. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

May 2023: Subway Is Changing Its Classic Sandwiches

By 2023, strategic menu changes and surprisingly strong sales began to turn the Subway brand around, reversing its falling fortunes. So it makes sense that the chain kicked off summer 2023 by expanding its menu upgrades to its classic sandwiches, adding more fresh veggies and cheeses to existing offerings. — Marnie Shure

Advertisement

Read More

Jun 2023: Subway Clings to Its Position in America’s Fast Food Rankings

Despite the boost given to Subway by its 2022 menu revamp, that wasn't enough to send it upward in the national fast food rankings. The annual Top 500 Report, released each summer, indicates the largest restaurant chains in America by sales volume, and in 2023's report (based on 2022 sales figures), Subway remained in eighth place, a position it has held for two years running. If that doesn't sound so bad, consider that back in 2012 it was in second place, only behind McDonald's, and has slid backward in the rankings almost every year since. — Marnie Shure

Advertisement

Read More

July 2023: Subway’s New Deli Slicers Can Only Do So Much

After first announcing the rollout in February 2023, Subway had installed deli slicers at all of its stores by mid-summer 2023—an $80 million investment—with meat being freshly sliced on site at every shop. Once the change was made official, we sampled the new sandwiches to see whether we could taste the upgrade from pre-sliced meat. — Dennis Lee

Advertisement

Read More

August 2023: Subway Has Found Its Knight in Shining Armor

In August 2023, after months of seeking a buyer, Subway went to the highest bidder: private equity firm Roark Capital Group, which paid a cool $9.55 billion to acquire the sandwich brand. Many were surprised to see Subway net nearly the $10 billion price tag it had placed on itself. — Dennis Lee

Advertisement

Read More

September 2023: Subway’s New Loyalty Program

Subway has had a loyalty program since 2018, but much like its approach to menu innovation and meat slicing, the sandwich chain decided to scrap everything customers were used to and roll out something entirely new in September 2023. MVP Rewards is a tiered system in which users can "unlock" higher tiers by spending more money. Like other chains' loyalty programs, it's a way to encourage repeat visits and higher dollar spend—two things Subway could use if it hopes to reclaim any higher place in America's fast food rankings. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

November 2023: Subway Sale Might Not Happen Due to Possible Sandwich Monopoly

Roark Capital might want to purchase Subway, but the threat of a sandwich monopoly put Subway's sale under scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. Several anonymous sources told Politico in November 2023 that the FTC is evaluating whether the sale would lead to a monopoly because of the sandwich businesses already owned by Roark Capital. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

December 2023: Subway Finds a New Way to Squeeze Franchisees

Subway is well known for its $5 footlong deal, but the promotion is notorious for being a money-losing proposition, and since franchisees have the freedom to accept or pass on certain promotions from Subway corporate, many choose not to price their footlongs this way. Starting in late 2023, though, Subway began requiring all franchisees to honor the promotion and coupons set by corporate in a presumed move to boost foot traffic at its stores. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

January 2024: Subway Sells Footlong Everything Now

If you didn't already associate Subway with footlong foods, the sandwich chain has made sure you will now. Subway has announced the introduction of a whole new menu category this year: Sidekicks, which includes a footlong cookie, footlong churro, and footlong pretzel. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

January 2024: Subway Has 3 New Footlong Treats (and a Clear Winner)

Once Subway rolled out its Sidekicks menu of footlong treats nationwide, we had to taste them for ourselves to see which ones are worth ordering. What we found is that although the three new lengthy treats are roughly equal in size, they are not so evenly matched in terms of quality. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

January 2024: Subway Might Be Regretting Its New Meat Slicers

When Subway added automatic deli slicers to its more than 20,000 locations, the intention was to improve the chain's overall sandwich quality. Just six months after this systemwide change, however, Restaurant Business reported in January 2024 that Subway's on-site deli slicers were not having the intended effect, and might even be hurting franchise locations. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

February 2024: Subway’s Footlong Cookie Removed From App for Being Too Popular

Subway's bet on footlong snacks and desserts has been paying off, but it seems as though even Subway's successes manage to get mired in complication. Two weeks after the launch of the Sidekicks menu, Subway was forced to temporarily remove all three treats from its digital ordering system because the demand was so high that Subway locations couldn't fulfill the orders with the inventory on hand. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

March 2024: Subway CEO Tells Franchisees to Remodel or Get Out

In 2024, just as in years past, Subway maintains a fraught relationship with its franchisees. Subway CEO John Chidsey reportedly told franchisees at a company conference in March that they should remodel their restaurants, a tactic for gaining and retaining customers. Chidsey reportedly said that any franchisee unwilling to undergo these renovations should part ways with the company entirely. — Angela L. Pagán

Advertisement

Read More

Recommended

Advertisement