Subway Is Making a Big Change to the Way It Makes Sandwiches

And it sounds delicious.

Last summer, Subway started quietly testing a new product in some of its U.S. markets — but it wasn’t an addition to its Subway Series line of sandwiches, another Fresh Melt, or even a new flavor of cookie. Instead, the Connecticut-based chain was trying out a shiny new…deli meat slicer. 

As reported by Restaurant Business, Subway has been making plans to roll out the German-made slicers in its 20,000-plus restaurants this year, adding them to stores as soon as it can get its hands on them. (“Nobody has 22,000 slicers,” Trevor Haynes, the president of Subway North America, told the outlet. “They’re just not available.”)

Unlike some of its competitors, Subway’s restaurants have never sliced any of its sandwich meats on-site, instead slicing them in one central facility and shipping the meats to each location. But as prices for almost everything have continued to increase — or as essentials have been in short supply — Subway execs say that the on-site slicers will allow them to save money on shipping costs, and because the restaurants will be using unsliced meats, they may be able to use less-expensive vendors. 

Subway sandwich, drink and Miss Vickie's chips

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

“We were one of the few, if only, sub shop that didn’t slice in-restaurant,” Subway CEO John Chidsey told CNN. “Not only does it give the guest a better perception of seeing the nice, fluffy meat, but we save a lot of money since we were paying a lot of money to have it sliced upstream.” 

Subway still isn’t going full Jersey Mike’s: while that chain slices its meat to order, Subway plans on slicing in the mornings and in the afternoons. To start, the restaurants will be slicing their own ham, pepperoni, salami, and turkey. Restaurant Business explained that the slicers are automatic and early tests of the equipment went well. “We had some reservations about how difficult this would be for restaurants,” Haynes said. “But it’s been very smooth and very positive.”

And yes, the slicers will be visible to the customers. If you happen to be in the restaurant at slicin’ time, then you’ll be able to watch the magic happen. 

CNN reported that sales at Subway’s North American stores rose 7.8% last year over its 2021 sales. Those Subway Series offerings have also proven to be quite popular, accounting for 20% of sales. “It was another great year for us in our transformation journey,” Chidsey said. “The momentum that was created in 2021, we maintained in 2022, and we’re off to a great start in 2023.”

That sounds exceedingly positive for the chain, any way you slice it. 

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