How many restaurants today are hailed as the biggest, the most promising, the finest, the “top,” and the best? There are indeed many of them, and we all know that the list varies depending on who made them.
There are, however, a few restaurants which constantly appear in the list, and one of them is Subway.
Subway is often listed as one the largest restaurant chains today, the consumers’ favorite as well as one of the top franchises in recent years. In all these, the chain’s executives only have one simple restaurant marketing lesson to share: their focus on health.
Subway has been conveying a message of health and wellbeing for years now, making it the foundation of its marketing efforts. They’ve been doing it for over a decade, and they don’t have plans of altering it any time soon. In fact, unlike the other restaurants, Subway wants to take things moderately, not wanting to go to extremes. They want their customers to indulge and have fun, too.
“We’re now trying to stay away from what we can call ‘health extremism.’ It has become a fad—the idea that people have to be very particularly conscious of what they eat, taking due note of even the smallest amount of calories that they consume,” said Subway’s Chief Marketing Officer Tony Pace. “Taken too far, it might not prove to be helpful at all. So we give our customers options in our menu and table tents, like our Turkey BLT sandwich, which contains fats worth 9 grams. It’s tasty, our customers don’t feel too deprived, and it’s a more enjoyable way of staying healthy—livable, we may say. Extreme exclusions from foods we like just to stay healthy may be doable for a while, but very few can sustain it.”
Subway is said to juggle itself in between being a fast food giant and a health food authority. The chain was able to ride with the current health wave, but was also successful in keeping up with gourmet competitors Quiznos and Jimmy Johns, which rarely focus on health in their menus, table tents, or other marketing aids. While the concept of fast food is often attached to the words “unhealthy” and “indulgence,” Subway was still able to attract health-conscious and dieting customers with their healthy image. They balanced both conflicting ideas and successfully made themselves credible to their audience.
Subway found its own niche, went for it with effective vitality and dynamism, and now totally dominates it. McDonald’s has over 33,000 locations all over the world, while Yum! Brands’ whole portfolio of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC has 37,000+ units. Subway, having found its very own position and market, single-handedly beat them with its more than 36,000 stores all across the globe.