Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eat Fresh

Do you know what the largest restaurant chain in the world is?

If you guessed McDonald’s (like I did) you’re wrong.
This past year Subway climbed to the top of the fast-food-chain, knocking out the reigning heavyweight champion (McDonald’s) who has held the title since the 1970s.

How did they do it? According to this article by Kim Peterson, they beat McDonald’s at their own game, spending heavily on advertising and using the same franchisee model. Entrepreneur magazine identified 6 key strategies that catapulted Subway to the top. 

 1. Tell a great story.
We have been talking about the role of narrative in my IMC class and Subway’s Jared Fogle is a prime example.  People can identify with his story and are inspired by his significant weight loss (while on "the Subway diet") and continued achievement with the completion of a marathon.
2.      2. In touch with trends.
At the time of the economic downturn, America wanted value. In response, Subway launched their “$5 footlong” campaign and prospered at a time when most businesses struggled.
3. Use a flexible brand.
Originally Subway was known for quick sandwiches, but over time the demand for healthy food increased. In response, Subway reemerged as a wholesome alternative to greasy, fried food (hence “Eat fresh”). 
4. Creative locations.
From courthouses to college campuses, (oddly enough, one opened up just yesterday in UNCW's student union), airports, and even the Pentagon, franchises are popping up everywhere. Also, Subway had an advantage over their competitors because they could get into places like hospitals where their unhealthy counterparts were denied prime real estate.

5. Customer engagement.
One word: Customization. Subway pioneered the concept of fast food that is made to order right in front of the customer, thus raising the bar for the industry. They took Burger King’s slogan, “Have it your way,” to a whole new level.

6. Great franchisor-franchisee relations.
No matter how successful your advertising strategies may be, a fragmented internal structure will lead to failure. If you do not maintain strong relationships within your corporation and with your stakeholders your company will not grow. 

Sorry for nerding out, but it is just incredible to me that communication is such a powerful tool. And did I mention how much I love my major?


  1. I was trying to explain this to Ben right as you posted it. You're the best, you knew I needed that help right then.

  2. The new Subway on campus is amazing! Yum Yum Yum :) Great post



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