Slumping Subway Offers "Free Cookies & Chips", $2 Discounts To Revive Sagging Sales

Last spring, we pointed out that, for the first time in its 52-year history, Subway had contracted in 2016, shuttering 359 US locations which, as Bloomberg explained, was the "biggest retrenchment in the history of the restaurant chain."

Since then, the outlook for Subway has only deteriorated. The chain, which holds the title of "most ubiquitous fast food chain in the US," is facing the largest sales slump in its history, driven no doubt by the advent of healthy eating trends that have pushed consumers toward low-carb and less-salty foods.


Sales fell 4 percent last year after a 1.7 percent drop in 2016, according to industry researcher Technomic.

To try and revive growth, the chain is now offering steep discounts on meals.

The chain, Bloomberg explains, will now allow customers to use their rewards of up to $2 on any menu item, lifting restrictions that existed under its previous program. The new system, which will expand to 28,500 US and Canadian locations next month, will offer good customers free cookies and chips, as well as allow them to pay for their food with a mobile app.


Subway's loyalty program has existed, in some form, for years. But Subway executives felt they needed to do more to win back customers. The chain is notorious for being one of the cheapest fast-food restaurants to open, with potential franchisees only need to show liquid assets of $30,000 and a net worth of $80,000.


"It made sense for us to revisit our loyalty program," Chief Digital Officer Carissa Ganelli said in an interview. "We’re putting the customer first. We have to be everywhere they are and engage with them how they want to engage."

The chain, of course, has also endured its fair share of public-relations blunders in recent years. The company was widely criticized last year after DNA tests revealed that the chicken in its chicken sandwiches was mostly soy filler. Also, the company's former pitchman, Jared Fogle, is presently serving a 16-year prison sentence for possessing child pornography and for crossing state lines to pay for sex with a minor.

As Bloomberg points out, closely held Subway is relying on technology to reverse the decline, making it a latecomer to the technology world. Last year, the company introduced a new mobile-phone application and started adding touch-screen kiosks in its restaurants. The new rewards program will also represent a significant expansion, since rewards are currently only available at about one-third of North American locations. The company's millions of existing rewards members will be automatically enrolled in the new program, which was intended to "reward our most valuable customers."

Of course, given the combination of shifting eating trends and the broader malaise in Subway's segment of the food service industry, even these changes might not be enough to reverse sales for the closely held private company.


Michigander FluffyDog6 Sun, 02/25/2018 - 11:25 Permalink

Subway is for Subway Inc. and fuck the franchisee. Shit product has to be bought from  the Subway Inc. at exorbitant prices. All promotions are on the backs of the franchisee. There is no territorial protection. I can open a Subway across the street from another subway if I so choose. Great for Subway Inc....fuck the franchisee. No other franchise model out there is as abusive to their franchisees.

In reply to by FluffyDog6

toocrazy2yoo JackT Sat, 02/24/2018 - 23:13 Permalink

I'd actually rather have the robot as some mope from a Third World shithole who has lousy potty habits as a matter of routine. The robot didn't just wipe his ass without washing his claw, the robot doesn't spit, and the robot drive Jose and his whole fucking family out and back to their shithole. Robots replaced factory workers, now they can replace millions of Mexicans.

All that said, Subway sucks 9 cocks, twelve ways because their subs suck, are all bread and after paying for the sub, you have to double the meat to bring the sub up to what they were, not to mention, they aren't a foot anymore. On top of that, if the filthy bit of diversity is making your sub, you're getting E.coli. Subway was fucked when they stopped hiring whites.

In reply to by JackT

a Smudge by an… karenm Sun, 02/25/2018 - 01:52 Permalink

Interesting how many in ZH actually hate the poor. Meanwhile the investor class has been sucking at the QE govt guaranteed eternal unicorn growth tit, failure is rewarded, real productive business can't get investments and the only ones profiting are either ignorant or collusive.

Economic collapse will hit them harder than they imagine. See, in the post-economy, nobody is really gonna need people who just play the game online and order in.

Especially when people who are motivated come and take what they have.

In reply to by karenm

Parrotile JusticeTBuford Sat, 02/24/2018 - 18:21 Permalink

Seeing as Subway is a franchise - based trading model, is the parent Company going to reduce the franchise fees they charge accordingly? If not, the entire cost of this campaign will be borne by the franchisees - who presumably are already having a hard enough time meeting all the "mandatory" outgoings.

I suspect this might end very badly indeed, and may signal the downward spiral in the fast food business.

In reply to by JusticeTBuford

Big Whoop Parrotile Sat, 02/24/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

Subway sales are down because their prices went up. For whatever reason, squeezing the franchisees, or whatever. If the prices went up because they’re paying the workers more, then they’re stupid; the workers didn’t get any better. If it was minimum wage increases, well it’s just a sign of the effects of increasing minimum wage, effects that leftists claim don’t exist.

In reply to by Parrotile

Fail2Deliver socalbeach Sat, 02/24/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

Same for me. The last time i went in there i ordered a chicken sub. I actually mentioned that the "chicken" had a very uniform shape. How did they get ALL the "chicken" slices exactly the same size? I will tell you. They mixed the "chicken" with some kind of soy product and formed it into shape. Then sold the 50/50 mix without mentioning you were eating that crap.

Never again. Even if they fix their shit and give it away, I would never go back. Way too much competition. 

Never been or will go to a Chipolte either but thats another story

In reply to by socalbeach

TuPhat Fail2Deliver Sat, 02/24/2018 - 17:39 Permalink

Sometimes on the road good food isn't where need it when I stop and a Subway is.  They had a Reuben sandwich on the menu so I ordered one.  They asked me what type of meat I wanted and I said 'corned beef of course' they didn't have any.  They didn't have rye bread either but the mess they made for me they called a 'Reuben'.  I go hungry and drive further when I have to,  won't eat at Subway.

In reply to by Fail2Deliver

vulcanraven Sat, 02/24/2018 - 14:49 Permalink

My buddy worked at Subway when he was in high school... his gangbanger looking manager used to tell him things like "hey homes, when the tuna turns brown, just add more mayo"


The last time I ate at Subway was at truck stop in New Mexico, it gave me the some of the most satanic diarrhea I've ever had. Never again.

kbohip vulcanraven Sat, 02/24/2018 - 15:20 Permalink

New Mexico.  Land of food poisoning.  I have a friend that had the sickest day of his life there after having a tainted Jamocha shake from Arby's.  He had to pull over every 30 minutes or so on the drive home and throw up.  I myself had an ordeal similar to your's but it was from a McDonald's breakfast meal I had in Gallup.  I make it a point to NEVER eat fast food anywhere in New Mexico now. 

In reply to by vulcanraven

Miffed Microbi… vulcanraven Sat, 02/24/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

This is interesting. When I worked at Arby's in the late 1970s, one of my jobs at closing was to break down and clean the shake machine. Quite an arduous procedure because there were multiple fittings that had to be dismantled and soaked in a sterilizing solution before reassembling for the next day. Took over an hour. The company decided to go with a newer machine that only required a rinsing solution at shut down. I talked to the health inspector once and he really disliked the new shake machines because the Coliform counts were far greater. Our old machine had the lowest coliform count in all of Spokane. That was one of the events in my life that got me interested in microbiology.





In reply to by vulcanraven