Better late than never for Subway, as the giant sandwich chain seems to be living up to its long-standing “Eat Fresh!” slogan. CEO John Chidsey revealed to CNN last week that deli slicers are coming to all Subway stores in 2023.
Despite being the most profitable sandwich brand in the world, Subway restaurants have never featured deli slicers like many competitors, including Jimmy John’s or Jersey Mike’s. Until now, the Connecticut-based chain has always opted to ship pre-sliced meats to stores.
“We were one of the few sub-stores, if only, that didn’t slice in the restaurant. we were paying a lot of money to have it decided upfront,” says Chidsey.
Does that mean there’s no more soggy, unappetizing day-old meat that Subway customers stare at when they place their orders? Theoretically yes, but Subway employees and customers are skeptical about how these deli slicers will actually be used.
Right off the bat, while the idea of a made-to-order (and sliced) sandwich is certainly appealing, it hardly confuses Subway’s assembly-line approach that has worked so well for the brand until recently. now. Using a meat slicer is no joke and requires careful preparation and cleaning. If Subway employees have to slice meat individually per sandwich order, it will dramatically increase prep times.
Many who appear to be Subway employees shared these concerns on the Subway (r/Subway) subreddit when news of the slicers first broke. “Lmfao this will be hell in my busy understaffed store 💀 I will have a queue with only 1 new co-worker 🙃 ‘wait a minute sir let me cut 12 slices of turkey’,” wrote one user. “The one I work at just got it yesterday. I’m afraid I’ll have to use it. We don’t even have the space for it so it’s going to be a huge problem,” adds another Redditor.
Of course, Subway workers don’t necessarily have to wait for an order to start slicing. Another Redditor chimed in on the same thread and explained that many metros will likely schedule a “batch cut” in the morning to cover the whole day. This same comment suggests that most of the slicing will be done automatically.
“We’ll be slicing in batches in the morning instead of slicing for each sandwich. Instead of separating the slices to make them, you can just throw a log of meat on the slicer and let it do its thing,” the comment read.
What certainly won’t happen automatically, however, is the cleanup afterwards. Deli slicers quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria and food poisoning if not cleaned after each use.
“It will be a health nightmare,” writes a Redditor in the r/fastfood subreddit. “Deli slicers can be dangerous. I just don’t see how Subway is going to ensure that all locations in the United States have people who are properly trained in deli slicer safety, as well as cleaning and cleaning. mechanical maintenance,” adds another user.
While it remains to be seen how successful Subway’s deli slicer initiative will be, it’s reasonable to expect the sandwich chain to have another great fiscal year in 2023. Subway generated 9.4 billion in sales in 2021, and same-store sales grew 9.2% year-over-year in 2022.
“It’s been another great year for us on our transformation journey,” comments Chidsey. “The momentum created in 2021, we have maintained in 2022 and we are off to a great start in 2023.”
It’s an interesting time for the successful sandwich brand in more ways than one. Last month the the wall street journal reported that Subway, a private company, is quietly exploring a potential sale. If a deal is struck, the sandwich chain which has more than 36,000 locations worldwide is expected to be valued at more than $10 billion.
John Anderer is a writer specializing in science, health, and lifestyle topics. Learn more about John
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