You may have heard that the Subway restaurants will be closing early on Monday, July 12 to implement their Eat Fresh Refresh program. It will open the next day with a menu that “features updated ingredients, as well as new sandwiches and revamps of existing options. Added ingredients include new breads, smashed avocado, and marinated steak, among others.”
The changes, not all of them clarified, reportedly will include:
Bacon (it will now be hickory-smoked)
Black forest ham (it will be sliced thin)
Oven-roasted turkey (it will be sliced thin)
Steak (new seasoning)
Rotisserie-style chicken (seasoned with new Subway secret rub)
Roast beef (a new type of Angus beef will debut)
CNN notes: “To encourage customers to try the new ingredients, thousands of restaurants plan to give away up to one million free sandwiches” – a six-inch Turkey Cali Fresh – “between 10 AM and 12 PM on July 13. The chain is also updating the look of its app and partnering with DoorDash to let customers order delivery directly from the Subway app.”
When I was a business librarian, not so long ago, Subway usually ranked very high in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 calculation. The publication looked at hundreds of franchises’ Costs and Fees; Support; Size and Growth; Brand Strength; and Financial Strength and Stability.
In 2011, Subway was #9 on the list. Then it was #2 in 2012 and 2013, #3 in 2014 and 2015, and #5 in 2016. But it dropped to #35 in 2017, then plummeted to #105 (2018), and #125 (2019), before an uptick to #107 in 2020.
Is it real?
In October 2020, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that Subway’s rolls used for hot sandwiches should not be considered as actual bread items, BBC News reports. The court said Subway’s bread has a high amount of sugar, which disqualifies the bread from being actual bread.
More recently, The New York Times and a lab collaborated on analysis to review the meat. The lab found that the meat had no real origin. “No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA. Therefore, we cannot identify the species,” the results read.
Subway has doubled down on their tuna. “While many of Subway’s core protein choices were improved as part of the Eat Fresh Refresh, one ingredient that doesn’t need an upgrade is the Subway high-quality, premium tuna. Subway sources tuna from leading global food suppliers that have a reputation for working diligently with food safety and quality experts to ensure consistent, high-quality products at every stage of the supply chain.”
There is a Subway two blocks from my house. I’ve discovered that ordering online is generally quicker. On the 4th of July, my wife was away helping her mother. After my daughter and her beau spent time washing the porch and trimming the tree branches, among other tasks, I ordered sandwiches for the three of us, then went a few minutes later to pick them up.
There was one guy behind the counter. At my designated pickup time – set by the Subway app, not me – he was still working on the previous customer’s meal. Soon, there were three people behind me as he prepared my order, though one eventually left, audibly disgruntled.
The preparer was very apologetic to the guy in front of me, and then to me. No problem; I’ve been there. So if Subway’s going to Eat Fresh Refresh its menu, I hope this franchise also does something about its staffing.