America's Largest Sandwich Chain Is Now Selling Subs Using This Unusual Method
From burgers to cupcakes, vending machines have come a long way from peddling simple convenience items like potato chips, chocolate bars, and Gatorades. The latest vending machine fare? Fresh sandwiches from Subway.
In 2021, America's largest sandwich chain kicked off a transformation journey by refreshing its entire menu—a move that resulted in "significant growth across digital channels and a renewed passion for the brand amongst guests and franchisees," according to a company statement.
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Now, in its continued effort to reach customers in new places and increase sales, the company is eyeing "grab & go" opportunities outside of its more than 37,000 restaurants. Through the use of kiosks, coolers, and, yep, vending machines, Subway is looking to move into places like airports, hospitals, offices, and convenience stores, according to Restaurant Business.
In fact, the quick-service restaurant brand is already testing the vending machine concept in a few U.S.-based airports including Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. And the new strategy seems to be working.
"Consumers come out there, they're buying them," Trevor Haynes, Subway's president of North America, said on an upcoming episode of the Restaurant Business podcast.
Last year, a Subway vending machine also appeared near a Subway shop at Tampines West Community Centre in Singapore. A YouTube user posted a video in the fall, giving us a closer look at how the vending machine operates. It is open 24 hours, and a touchscreen allows you to order from a selection of drinks, salads, and sandwiches, with options ranging from roast beef to turkey.
One commenter wrote, "I'm a chef and I could definitely see a world where most things are automated. I keep my menus easy to cook with simple and efficient techniques I'm sure a robot could do."
So is that the future of Subway? Haynes says, "Bricks and mortar, we'll keep doing more of that. But there is huge upside in nontraditional channels."
Subway is currently testing about 400 of these "grab & go" locations. One Twitter user posted a photo of the Subway located in Wythenshawe Hospital in England, noting "Best tasting veggie patty ever after surgery tests."