Simplicity and managing waste is critical in the food-to-go market in convenience, according to Caroline Thomson, national accounts, Subway.
Presenting at the IGD’s Convenience Retailing 2012 event, Thomson told delegates Subway had a simple offer that customers understood.
Its £3.00 lunch deal has been a key driver of success in the UK and was inspired by a $5 foot long offer in the US market.
Previously, Subway ran lots of different offers, which was confusing for the customer, Thomson said.
“The £3 lunch is here to stay and we’ve seen sales grow and grow.”
Managing waste is absolutely critical, said Thomson. Franchise retailers need to be able to know how many wrappers come into store and go out at the end of the day, for example.
“We manage wastage at 0.25% so it needs tight controls and management,” she said.
Thomson conceded it was difficult striking the right balance between low wastage and having product to sell but stressed empty space is losing money.
According to Subway, its only wastage should be bread.
“Bread is baked to order and anything that is left over is chucked away but there should be minimal wastage,” said Thomson.
Subway has developed healthier options and introduced a calorie counter poster, Thomson told delegates.
“If you place that poster away from the counter, nothing much happens but if you put it at the beginning of counter, people are making healthier choices,” she said.
Thomson said Subway served all the key meal occasions – healthy eating and meal deals, breakfast, all day parts; and is open first thing in morning until late at night and 24 hours a day in some locations.
According to Thomson, Subway is particularly popular with students and children, who may become customers for life.
Children can choose exactly what they want. “It’s a very good learning experience for the adult market,” she said.
Stores – Subway operates 125 outlets within convenience and forecourt stores in the UK and Ireland – are monitored to a very high standard, reported Thomson.
Staff are referred to as ‘sandwich artists’ and every franchisee undertakes three weeks of training to learn how to make sandwiches.
Training is also offered online and there is a ‘Subway University’ plus an international Sub Jammer contest with a chance to win a $5,000 prize for making a sandwich in the quickest possible time.
Thomson reported Subway continues to promote its Eat Fresh brand promise by employing famous fans including the gymnast, Louis Smith, and the recent signing with Ireland international rugby player, Tommy Bowe.