It’s unclear if millennials are the ones killing it, but there’s no denying that Subway is going through some tough times.
The sandwich purveyor has seen their sales dip by a whopping 25 percent over the past five years thanks to some serious competition as well as a few notable PR snafus. Most famously, their longtime pitchman was revealed to be a pedophile and they were sued when it was revealed that their $5 footlong subs were not, in fact, a foot long. And throw in the charges that a chemical used in yoga mats could also be found in their bread just for good measure.
The company discontinued the $5 footlong deal in 2016 but in the face of declining profits and a perception that Subway isn’t as affordable as competitors such as Taco Bell and McDonald’s, they’ve informed franchisees that the infamous deal is coming back for a limited time, and this time actually at 12 inches in length.
You might think that would excite these struggling store owners but, in fact, they kind want to take that five-foot sub and shove it. According to the New York Post, more than 400 franchise owners have signed a petition protesting the two-month promotion that’s set to recommence in January.
The issue is that, while this kind of promotion is great for the overall company, it’s a terrible deal for franchise owners, especially those who only own one or two locations. Even though more people come to buy food, they spend less in general. The local franchise isn’t going to see a major benefit when their profits are already low and it’s unlikely that the increase in traffic will make up for even lower profits.
But, of course, that’s the risk you take when you become a franchise owner with a major company. Ultimately, they’re always going to look out for their own bottom line over yours.
Many franchise owners tell the Post that what Subway needs to do is reinvigorate their menu, add new flavors, and modernize the appeal of the restaurant. Subway, however, seems pretty intent on the short-term solution of the $5 foot long. We’ll probably know if that gamble pays off soon enough. We’ll probably also know if the footlongs are actually a foot long because you just know a lot of people are going to show up to order their meatball subs with measuring tape.