Subway, which is coming off a record-setting year for sales in 2022, is planning to outfit its 22,000-plus restaurants with meat slicers this year.
The chain will begin adding slicers by region starting this year, with the goal of having them in each location by next summer. Subway didn’t say how much the effort will cost.
The slicers are made by German company Bizerba. The last such improvement Subway made was when it added toasters 20 years ago to fend off a threat from Quiznos.
“In five decades worth of sandwich making, we’ve explored many things, tested many things,” Trevor Haynes, president of Subway North America, told Marketing Daily. “This is the natural next step of the evolution of the U.S. business and operations.”
Rather than slice the meat to order, as a deli would, Subway will slice the meat in the mornings and afternoons. “It’s not like the old handheld deli slicer,” Haynes said. “It’s all automated.”
Having employees slice meat is a change for the chain. Currently, Subway’s meats are sliced in a central facility and shipped to restaurants.
The shift comes as the price of meat rose over the past year. Having employees slice the meat at the restaurants should save the chain money, Haynes said.
“Inflation has eroded some [food cost] savings,” said Haynes. “But we should see some sort of savings in food costs for franchisees without increasing labor.”
The effort comes as rival sandwich chains like Jimmy John’s, Firehouse Subs and Jersey Mike’s have been gaining share, according to Restaurant Business.