Keep an eye on your morning sales volume this week. Yesterday morning, April 5, Subway began selling breakfast sandwiches system-wide—and with 23,000 locations in the U.S. alone, it’s a mighty wide system. Other sandwich chains are getting ready to make a similar move. Do you have a response ready if and when all these chains put a damper on your restaurant’s breakfast business?
The signature item on Subway’s early morning menu looks to be the foot-long breakfast sub. Various models will cost from $4-$6, depending on the ingredients customers choose from a list of options that includes eggs, egg whites, cheese, bacon, steak, sausage, peppers and onions. These “omelet” sandwiches are also available on English muffins and flatbread. Coffee is inexpensive—$.80 for a regular size, $1.00 for a large—and combination deals, such as a muffin sandwich and a regular coffee, will begin at $2.50.
Subway won’t be breaking any new culinary ground with its offerings, but it has hit the nail on the head with its price points and stick-to-the-basics sandwich menu. Given the chain’s ubiquitous presence in most markets, there’s a chance it will be a drag on breakfast traffic at many full-service restaurants.
The starting date wasn’t chosen by accident. Subway rolled out its chain-wide program quickly because it wanted to beat other sandwich chains to the punch.
“There are a number of other competitors of ours that are trying to suss out the breakfast opportunity, and I’d rather be in the market before they get here,” Tony Pace, chief marketing officer at Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, told the Associated Press.
How big a threat is this move? Well, Subway’s pitch to potential franchisees emphasizes that nothing is cooked in a Subway unit, and that all breakfast items are thaw-and-serve. So on a quality front, the chain may not be that big a worry to full-service restaurants. But because there are so many of them, we suggest that you want to at least keep on eye on your restaurant’s breakfast receipts to make sure you’re not getting hurt. You don’t want to lose business in the daypart where your food cost is most favorable.