Subway

Oct 18, 2019 | Report Announcements

Subway is the largest sub sandwich chain by far with the 2nd largest ad spend in all of QSR behind McDonald’s with core brand equity in the form of: customization (made-to-order) epitomized by the brand’s “Choice Mark” logo; interaction between sandwich artists & guests; sub sandwiches which include lots of veggies; and bread baked in-house. A complete overhaul of senior brand management is most welcome and the chain’s current turn-around plan seeks to: optimize assets; modernize existing units; innovate with new flavors & ingredients; and better connect digitally with customers and its target market. Fortunately, the system has finally managed to put development on a much-needed hold while the system continues to benefit from the culling and relocation of its weakest stores. Existing stores benefit from the roll-out of its Fresh Now platform (Flavor Stations, Fresh Pour Beverage Stations & updated menu boards) and more affordable facility upgrade options which suggest that its remodel initiative maybe complete in 5 years. A ramp-up in menu innovation could help Subway distinguish itself among sub-sandwich competitors better known for quality than innovation and 2018 comps improved to flat and are up +3% YTD 9/19 which suggests that its new brand positioning and store culling is beginning to gain traction. However, while Subway is certainly taking steps in the right direction, competition is perhaps the fiercest it has ever been for this iconic chain and it is notable that the brand still has more work to do to find the right value equation that works for consumers as well as its franchisees. Further, years of comp declines leaves a system AUV with little margin for safety and little capability for capex investments at a time when the new brand management could use some breathing room as they must necessarily tweak their turnaround initiative which is in its very early innings. In conclusion, while it is difficult to assess how long it will take the largest sub chain to reignite sustainable sales, Subway continues to move forward in a sensible manner such that its competitors would do well to take note.

Signup
NoBullEconomics
Restaurant Research

Email Sign-up

15 Second Posts

What is the Federal Government’s Job?

A couple of weeks ago we conducted a thought experiment in which the government became a nonprofit, and this week we propose another thought experiment in which the government becomes a public corporation. We suggest that this could provide very useful input into the debt ceiling debate.

The Importance of the Balance Sheet in Financial Analysis

While most investors are focused on sales growth & margins, they would be well served to further consider the strength of a company’s balance sheet. We look at BlackRock’s financial condition as an illustrative point.

The Importance of Free Cash Flow in Financial Analysis

Cash represents the lifeblood of all business enterprises which is why it is important to analyze free cash flow which we define as operating cash flow minus capex, dividends, and stock buybacks. We illustrate DoorDash as an example of why cash flow analysis is so important. 

Lessons From Tucker Carlson

There are many theories about why Fox booted Tucker Carlson, but it may be a very simple reason which can instruct everyone involved in the consumer retail segment.

It is Imperative that Climate Change Regs Incorporate Economic Reality

This week we spotlight efforts by international agencies to lower the earth’s temperature by imposing onerous regulations on energy producers. We suggest it will be better to: begin a process of implementing continuous improvements designed to support both economic & climate progress; and use international organizations to share tech & best practices as opposed to providing them with regulatory powers best left to individual nation-states.   

Part 3 – It’s Nice for the US to Save the Climate, But What About the Rest of the World?

In our last 2 posts, we outlined the probability that the UN’s push to lower the world’s temperature by -2 degrees Celsius could drive significant U.S. energy price hikes & shortages. How is this going to help as Asia ramps up the use of coal? Can humans lower the earth’s temperature anyhow?

Part 2: Who is Left to Make Investments in Fossil Fuels & Clean Energy?

There is not a lot of incentive for profit-seeking companies to invest in demonized fossil fuels or in clean energy projects lacking ROI. This points to substantially higher energy prices and supply shortages that will have a profound economic impact.

Part 1: Ramping Energy Demand Clashes with UN’s Environmental Goals

From 2021 to 2050, ExxonMobil forecasts that 85% of the population growth will be driven by developing countries, which in turn, will drive a +15% increase in energy demand.

What if the Federal Government Was Turned into a 501c3 Non-Profit?

Given all the focus on the debt ceiling, we propose a thought experiment in which all 100 federal agencies must compete for charitable donations. If taxpayers get to choose for themselves what to fund, what might we learn? 

Like Sinatra Croons: “So you see it’s all up to you, you can be better than you are.”

The top-paid hourly workers are currently enjoying the fastest wage growth, indicative of the current challenge to recruit & retain a skilled labor force.

Digital Marketing Opportunities
Restaurant Research

A Restaurant Research LLC Company