After a tidal wave of drama and declining sales, Subway began to lose its foothold as the largest fast-food chain in 2013, and has seemingly struggled to reinvent itself for the last few years. It's still a behemoth, to be sure, but it no longer wears the crown as the chain with the most stores—though at one point it did, with even more locations than Mcdonald's.
Now, it appears the sandwich giant is taking steps to try to regain its No. 1 status. To that end, Subway announced this week that it's completely overhauling its menu as part of its ongoing "Eat Fresh Refresh" campaign. Starting now, the chain is doing away with customization, and is selling 12 sandwiches designed to be ordered as-is.
Customers in the U.S. will now be greeted with an all-new menu board at all of Subway's 21,000 restaurants (the company has not yet announced whether the rollout will eventually extend to international stores). The new "Subway Series" menu is organized into four categories: Cheesesteaks, Italianos, Chicken, and Clubs. Each category has three sandwiches that can be ordered by name or number. While you'll likely recognize most of the sandwiches from the old menu, there are some changes. For example, the Meatball Marinara sub will henceforth be known simply as "The Boss," with melted mozzarella cheese. A new creamy garlic sauce will also be available.
Apart from a few other minor sandwich tweaks, the bulk of the transformation lies with the new ordering system. While customers can still add or subtract ingredients from their orders, the new menu is intended to create a more streamlined in-store experience. The launch is a major departure from the "create your own" model, which was traditionally the cornerstone of Subway meals. The company is calling it a "whole new way to Subway."
"The Subway Series is the most ambitious undertaking in company history, as we are changing the nearly 60-year-old blueprint that helped make Subway a global phenomenon," said Subway president Trevor Haynes on the brand's website. "Last summer's Eat Fresh Refresh laid the foundation to build a better Subway, and now the Subway Series enhances the entire Subway guest experience—proof that we continue to improve and get way better."
When Subway announced its Eat Fresh Refresh upgrade last summer, it marked the biggest change to the menu in the history of the brand. The initial rollout included two new bread recipes, improved proteins, new toppings, and four new sandwiches: Turkey Cali Fresh, Steak Cali Fresh, Subway Club, and the All-American Club. Of those, all will remain on the new menu with the exception of the Steak Cali Fresh.
In conjunction with its recent launch, participating Subway stores will be giving away up to one million free sandwiches on July 12 to celebrate. Customers can swing by between 10 a.m. and noon to snag a free 6-inch Subway Series sandwich of their choosing. Count us in.