- Subway added new sandwiches and ingredients to its menu in July.
- Over 6,000 Subway restaurants closed during the pandemic.
- The new menu is a move in the right direction, but much too little too late.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Subway closed more than 10,000 locations early on July 12 to prepare for a major menu revamp.
When restaurants reopened the next day, they carried an updated menu as part of Subway’s “Eat Fresh Refresh,” which included more than 20 menu changes.
To celebrate, Subway locations planned to give away 1 million free subs.
The launch seemed to be a flop, Nancy Luna reported. One franchisee said it was a “giant letdown,” and hardly anyone wanted the free sandwiches. Subway told Insider the event “beat” expectations.
The poorly received launch of the new menu seemed like a sign of things to come.
I enlisted my brother and sister to help me test out some of the new menu items.
We stopped by a Pennsylvania Subway located inside a Walmart.
The restaurant has the ingredients for four of the six new sandwiches.
First up, I tried the new chicken bacon ranch sub, which cost $8.90 for a footlong.
The sandwich, which came double wrapped in paper and foil, contained cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, ranch, chicken, and bacon on toasted Italian bread.
Upon unwrapping, it didn’t look very appealing with ranch spilling out.
It was actually not bad, though. I thought the bacon was a nice addition, and this ended up being our favorite sandwich.
Next up was the Cali Fresh with steak, which costs $7.99 for a footlong.
It came with spinach, tomatoes, red onions, mayonnaise, and steak on multigrain bread.
My sister Elizabeth was not a fan. She described it as “wet.”
The Cali Fresh Turkey sub, which has the same ingredients as the steak version, was okay but still not great. “Better than the steak, but still too wet,” was her verdict.
Last up was the All-American Club, which includes turkey, bacon, ham, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions on Italian bread. It cost $8.39.
My brother, Ben, said this sandwich was decent and he’d probably order it again.
Everything was solidly mediocre. The best rating we could give any of them was “Eh,” as in they weren’t bad, although not particularly good either.
Ultimately, all three of us agreed that while none of the sandwiches we tried were terrible, they weren’t enough to give Subway the boost it needs.
The menu updates, like improved bread, avocado, and mozzarella felt necessary to keep Subway competitive, but it may be too little too late.
Subway is in a difficult position. It closed more locations than any other large US chain in 2020, and it’s caught in a battle between two billionaire owner families and angry franchisees.
Meanwhile, the world of fast food has only gotten more competitive. For the price of a subway sub, you can get a full meal of more appetizing food from several other chains.