New Subway Logo - © 2017 Subway

Subway Sure Has Come A Long Way Since The Bad Old Days

There were more than 44,000 Subway shops around the world, at last count. And has Subway ever come a long way since its dark days earlier this century! Now, the privately held resto chain is apparently up for sale…

Pickleball Club - © 2023 - SubwayThe Subway Pickleball Sub – new this year…

So… At the bottom of the page, almost an after thought, comes word that Subway is for sale. And a hint that an announcement will be forthcoming in just a few days.

A little history

Subway was started by Peter Buck and Fred DeLuca in 1965. They opened their first resto in Bridgeport, Connecticut but it wasn’t exactly a runaway success. Nevertheless, business picked up over time and the company was franchising new outlets by 1974.

Today, Subway is the biggest fast food name in the world – easily larger than McDonald’s, which comes in second with over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries.

Trying to sell the company would have been a non-starter a few decades ago. The company got a bad rep – mainly I think, from not listening to its customers and over-economising. There was a time I can distinctly recall when Subway sliced its meats and cheeses so thin, you could actually read the newspaper through them. All in the name of saving money and staying competitive.

Thereafter followed a number of embarrassing ‘scandals’, not the least of which was the lawsuit over ‘footlongs’ that didn’t measure up. Tuna that wasn’t really tuna. Chicken that wasn’t all chicken. By 2017, Subway was closing as many as 1,000 unprofitable locations a year.

Then came the turnaround

The renaissance at Subway started in 2017 with customer-focused redesign including self-order kiosks; USB charging ports at tables; and new menu options, including  gluten-free bread. They called it the ‘Fresh Forward’ campaign.

Since then, the chain has embarked on a $25 million promotional/image campaign aimed at attracting younger diners and revitalizing its image. Since the COVID area, Subway has changed its menu radically, instituting 16 new sandwiches each with its own price. The idea, they said was to make it easier and faster to order, by number or sammy name. On the other hand, separate prices for each of the new sandwiches let Subway adjust prices for enhanced profitability.

Now, back to the main news release…

News of the sale was tacked onto a news release trumpeting a new approach to slicing meat that Subway says will enhance its life-long love affair with the word ‘fresh’. As soon as they can be installed, new $6,000 high-tech meat slicers will be fresh-slicing the chain’s deli meats at most outlets. The meats now come pre-sliced from Subway headquarters.

Subway locations already location-slice vegetables, and bake fresh bread and cookies on site. Fresh-slicing meat, “felt like the natural step that we needed to get back to and address,” Trevor Haynes, president for Subway’s North America operations, told CNN.

Now you know everything

We’re keeping our eyes peeled for any word on the big sale. Stay tuned…

~ Maggie J.