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The Country's Biggest Sandwich Chain Plans to Roll Out This Significant Kitchen Upgrade

Slicing its own meat is the next step in "fresh."

Subway's ongoing Eat Fresh Refresh campaign, aimed at revitalizing its image in the realm of food quality, has been in full swing. Now, the sandwich giant plans to add a new appliance to its kitchens that it thinks will not only continue to improve its reputation with customers but also help save it some money in the process.

The chain has recently announced it will be adding automatic meat slicers to all 22,000 of its locations over the course of a year, according to Restaurant Business.

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"In five decades worth of sandwich making, we've explored many things, tested many things, tried many things," said Trevor Haynes, president of Subway North America, in an interview with the magazine. "This is the natural next step of the evolution of the U.S. business and operations."

Currently, Subway has its meat sliced at an offsite processing facility, before it is shipped to the restaurants. Going forward, meats like turkey, ham, salami, and pepperoni will be sliced in the morning and evening on location, and customers will be able to see the process.

subway sandwich
Subway / Facebook

And not only will the chain save money on ditching precut meat, but it will also be able to lower food costs by having more choices of whole meats available to purchase—something Haynes sees as a win-win.

"It allows us to work with other vendors," Haynes said. "Inflation has eroded some [food cost] savings . . . But we should see some sort of savings in food costs for franchisees without increasing labor."

The new slicers are made by a German company named Bizerba and are fully automatic. And unlike at a traditional deli, all employees need to do is put the meat inside and press a button—a process that has gone smoothly at test restaurants so far.

Last year, Subway announced its biggest menu update in history with its Eat Fresh Refresh campaign. The plan involved new bread recipes, new proteins, new sandwiches, and new toppings, including meats that are sliced more thinly.

In July, the sandwich chain added to this ongoing effort with the new Subway Series menu, which rid its menu of customization—something the brand has long been associated with.

With the addition of the new menu and revitalization efforts, the company has seen a 7.5% increase in same-store sales in 2021, according to a recent press release.

The sandwich chain has also teased bringing back some old favorites which were lost after the menu update. The BMT, Chicken Teriyaki, and Tuna subs may make a comeback, according to Haynes.

Amber Lake
Amber Lake is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! and has a degree in journalism from UNF in Jacksonville, Florida. Read more about Amber