The popular sandwich promotion was dropped back in 2016 but makes a comeback next year.

Mike Pomranz
December 15, 2017

The New York Post’s tabloid style of journalism is known to occasionally stir the pot. But earlier this week, the paper published an exclusive story that is creating intrigue in an unexpected place: the fast food industry. The big reveal: After making the move to a $6 footlong deal at the beginning of 2016, Subway is about to essentially revert back to the original promotion that became a catchphrase. Yes, $5 footlongs are coming back. Well, $4.99 footlongs apparently.

For years, $5 footlongs were the bedrock of Subway’s marketing, but eventually, inflation caught up with the chain and it’s tens of thousands of franchises, so the sandwich brand acquiesced and added a buck to what became a $6 deal. It seems that change hasn’t helped already flagging traffic, and now, Subway is looking to cut customers a better deal on 12-inch subs once again. “In a Nov. 30 memo to franchisees,” wrote the Post’s Josh Kosman, “Subway’s owners promised $25 million to boost marketing this spring for the company’s 44,000 locations and to bring back a limited-time, $4.99 footlong sandwich promotion.” This one-penny-away from a return to the $5 footlong is said to be coming in January and will last two months.

One slight problem, however: Though you can turn back the clock on prices, you can’t turn them back on expenses, and Subway franchise owners are reportedly already upset that the forthcoming promotion might be too much for their bottom-line to bear, apparently leading 400 franchise to sign a petition objecting to the plan. “The national promotional focus over the past five years … has decimated [us] and left many franchisees unprofitable and even insolvent,” the letter states, according to the Post.

Still, the big story here is clearly the potential return of $5 sandwiches. Without that popular hook, the tribulations of franchise owners aren’t the kind of thing the vast majority of fast food customers care about. So the question becomes would the return of Subway’s popular $5 footlong promotion be enough to help bolster the struggling chain or not? It’s certainly already got people talking about Subway again—which is a start.