America's Largest Sandwich Chain Is Running Low on These Core Ingredients
Subway's footlong sandwiches are coming up short on a key ingredient—the meat. In fact, some of the chain's best-selling proteins are currently difficult to come by due to several converging pressures on the market.
According to Restaurant Business, Subway operators are having a hard time keeping turkey and roast beef in stock. Even ham has been more challenging to source, pushing franchisees to look outside of the company's supply chain, including at places like Costco.
The turkey shortages are affecting franchisees that source the meat from a processor which recently closed down a plant due to an outbreak of the Avian Flu. The disease was first detected in the U.S. in January and has since spread to at least 32 states, resulting in the death of more than 36 million chickens and turkeys.
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With Avian Flu compounding already high inflation prices on top of increased labor costs, Subway restaurant owners have started rejecting coupons at certain locations.
Roast beef has also been difficult for some Subway owners to keep in stock. According to Restaurant Business, the operators blame the shortage of this popular classic on the company's discontinuation of the meat in 2020. Although no official reason was given by Subway for the move, roast beef was one of the most expensive proteins on Subway's menu, which may have contributed to its removal.
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In a statement from a company spokesperson to Restaurant Business, Subway said it is working "to address supply issues due to a temporary production issue at a protein supplier." The chain also noted it is currently working with its Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) to "source meats from additional suppliers and minimize any disruption to our franchisees' restaurants."
Last year, the chain launched the Eat Fresh Refresh, a campaign that overhauled the original menu and subsequently reintroduced an upgraded USDA Choice Angus roast beef. Since the change, franchise owners have said they've had difficulty keeping up with demand.
While Subway's menu overhaul was largely successful in improving its image (although criticized for being a "smoke-and-mirrors" upgrade) the chain is still plagued by internal issues. The company has struggled with getting back to pre-pandemic sales levels and smoothing over relations with franchise owners.