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Subway North America President Talks Restaurant’s Menu Revamp and Tuna Controversy

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Subway North America President Trevor Haynes highlights the sandwich shop’s new menu offerings, federal decisions on the content of Subway’s tuna products and the brand’s One Million Sandwich giveaway.

Video Transcript

With food prices soaring, the country’s major fast food chains are facing higher costs. Here to talk about it in a massive menu overhaul, we have Trevor Haynes, President of Subway for North America. Trevor, it’s great to see you. We were just talking about how higher inflation — how that’s impacting a number of industries, particularly the food industry. What was the impact on Subway?

TREVOR HAYNES: Yes, excellent question. And I know we are here today. We’ll be talking about a new Subway series, bold new sandwiches, chips on supply builds. It’s a whole new way to Subway in terms of the ordering process you’ll go through at any of our restaurants.

And we came out – we launched with our media yesterday, after a few weeks of a soft launch. Very excited about what we are seeing and very excited about how our franchisees and our guests have really reacted to this. But back to your question about inflation, we are continually working with our supply chain partners and our franchisees to take pricing here and there to make sure we unlock profitability for our franchisees. But we also have very affordable options for our customers when they come to Subway restaurant.

We have been in the market for over 50 years. We have had ups and downs. And we really think that our proposition, in particular the new line of menus, really puts us in a great position, you know, to get through the next 6, 12 months of what’s going to be experienced here in the United States.

And have you noticed any changes in consumer spending habits in terms of what they’re willing to spend with inflation being so high right now?

TREVOR HAYNES: Yeah. I think what you look at with Subway, you know, we offer great value, right? It’s the quantity of food, the quality of the food, your customer experience. And we’ve always been very focused on that. And that’s something when you look at whether there’s a crunch due to inflation or recession, that you find that customers will generally trade QSRs and more affordable options.

And so like I said, Subway is very well positioned for that. And these 12 sandwiches that we’ve launched with the Subway series really bring together a combination of delicious flavors at a price that’s really, you know, very appealing to customers as well. So we encourage people to go and try them and understand what we do in our restaurants.

And like I said, a great new way to Subway with the ordering experience. So for me, personally, it’s number eight, the big garlic. Order this. And live the experience. And I’m sure you’ll be impressed with what you’ll see there.

I’ll try, Trevor. I have to ask you about one of the sandwiches, though, in the news. A federal judge in San Francisco, as you know, ruled that Subway could be sued for misleading customers about its tuna products. This includes a claim that it uses other species of fish, chicken, pork and cattle instead of the advertised 100% tuna. What is your reaction to the judge’s decision?

TREVOR HAYNES: Yeah. So it’s interesting. I’ve been asked this question many times, haven’t I? I get our tuna product. It’s Metro. 100% Subway Tuna. That’s what’s in our product.

You can go to metrotunafacts.com. And we just see this as a really irresponsible and inappropriate lawsuit. And we’re very confident that we’ll win when we get to the other side. And just in terms of the tuna offering that we have in our restaurants, it’s been a staple on our menu for many, many years. And we think it will be on our menu for many more to come. But thanks for the question.

Hey, Trevor, why was now a good time to launch this massive menu overhaul? We’ve spoken to a number of chains that have added certain items or maybe special items for a certain period. Why are you taking this initiative now?

TREVOR HAYNES: That’s an excellent question. You know, about 12 months ago we took the first step of what we call our big 1.0 refresh. We have introduced a bread shape, improved bread formula, protein, cheese sauce, etc. We have also improved the ingredients over the past 12 months after this launch date.

And we see this as a great way to bring all of these ingredients together in chef-inspired builds so that customers can have a different way of experiencing their Subway restaurant. Like I said, you can choose – just choose a number or choose a name, browse the line. And it will be a very easy experience for you.

If you want to customize and have your favorite sandwich, that option is absolutely there. But we thought it was a really good time for the brand, considering all the work we’ve done over the past 18, 12, 18 months to bring this to life now. And, you know, we tested that extensively. Our franchisees and our teams are super excited about it. And we think it will be great for our brand and for our customers when they come in and experience the new way to get to Subway.

And Trevor, we know that came with that 1 million sandwich giveaway. Were you able to donate all the sandwiches? And what kind of return on investment did you see for this big ad campaign?

TREVOR HAYNES: Yeah, that’s great. We had lines out the door to many restaurants. We did – it was the morning period. And people could come in and try one of our new releases, one of our 12 new releases in the Subway series. Like I said, we had guests lined up. People were really excited about it.

Our franchisees and their teams were super excited. And we are really happy with the results. I think we are still counting them. But we had a great day. And the media, I said – as I mentioned, kicked off the whole campaign yesterday. We are very excited with what we have seen so far. So it’s been a really good cover, a great way to kick off this for our team internally and for our guests who really know and love us.

Trevor, you talked about the impact of inflation. What has been the impact of labor shortages across the country?

TREVOR HAYNES: Yes, listen, that’s a very good question. You know, we see different parts of the country where it’s tighter than others. You know, we see, though, that franchisees are continually looking to hire new people into their restaurants to work with them. We are constantly looking for different ways to attract talent to join our teams.

But it is a challenge. But we have opportunities. If anyone watching wants a job at Subway, we definitely have opportunities for people to come join us.

OK. Subway’s North American president, Trevor Heinz, appreciates it. Good luck with the builds menu.

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