A Sneak Peek into the Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report

A Sneak Peek into the Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report

The Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report identifies the emerging sandwich concepts that are dominating the segment and reveals some interesting trends in menus and consumer interest.

Although we’ve seen a downward trend of 6.8 percent, year over year, in overall restaurant traffic based on social media mentions, the 300 sandwich innovator brands have seen a traffic increase of 3.4 percent, according to Foodable Labs.

The report, which is slated to release sometime in July, will provide an analysis exploring the sandwich segment and trends. The segment has seen an upward trend as far as traffic in social media mentions is concerned, which is a great statement for the newcomers that are dominating the market.

It may have something to do with the move towards brand transparency and the use of higher-quality ingredients. In fact, Food Quality is one of the highest ranked sentiment scores at 78.9 points for the Top 50 Sandwich Innovator concepts since the younger demographics are gravitating more towards higher quality and convenient food options. This research also points to the increased popularity of higher-quality ingredient sides, like chips. Snack brands, like Miss Vickie’s, are leading the way in this segment, further advancing the high-quality ingredients trend.

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Subway CEO Addresses Chain’s Rebrand and its Challenges

Subway CEO Addresses Chain’s Rebrand and its Challenges
  • Subway CEO makes first ever TV appearance on "CBS News."

  • The sandwich chain has had difficulty completing a total rebrand due to its large number of stores.

Once upon a time, Subway was seen as a disruptor brand.  

It was founded way back in 1965 and was one of the first, if not the first, chain to introduce the open kitchen format, where the ingredients were displayed for the customer to see. Then the sandwich was made in real-time in front of the guest.  

Subway may have the same format today, but a lot has changed in 50 years. 

It's no secret that the chain has struggled significant in today's market. 

Although the chain has dominated the market in terms of volume and has 45,000 stores in 100 countries, Subway is still having trouble competing in today's restaurant space.  

There are now millions of other fast casual concepts and the sandwich sector as a whole has been elevated. 

For the last few years, Subway is attempting to combat its recent slump in both sales and consumer sentiment by doing a complete rebrand.  

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Matt & Marie’s Is Revitalizing the Classic Italian Sandwich

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Video Produced by Denise Toledo

Marie Capp and Justin Saplosky met at the Wharton School of business, where one of their first conversations centered around their favorite sandwiches. Their passion for sandwiches and hospitality flourished into a catering business, and just a few weeks after graduating, the pair opened their first brick-and-mortar location in Philadelphia, Matt & Marie’s.

“I dreamed about being able to open my own restaurant since I was very young. Matt similarly said when he retires, he hopes to be able to own a sandwich shop,” Capp said.

It was a match made in sandwich heaven. When the two began brainstorming their menu, they wanted to modernize the classic Italian sandwiches.

“We loved the idea of centering the business around a sandwich. Fresh, healthy, high-quality Italian ingredients with a lot of pop,” she said.

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The pair turned to Chef Ryan Smith of New York Vintners to help them create a signature menu of sandwiches that hit on all five flavor profiles in every bite: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Their elevated Italian classics have really resonated with their customers.  

“It’s something you would normally get at a nice Italian restaurant at night. Picking on a little sharp provolone, a little fennel salami. I say it’s lunch time. I want a charcuterie board on a piece of Italian bread.”

You can also get a little inventive at Matt & Marie’s. With a balance of sweet and spicy, their Ducati Dealer is their take on a Vietnamese bahn mi.

“If they trust that they can come to one location, but be able to experiment with what they get, it’s a slam dunk,” Capp said.

Check out how Matt & Marie’s is faring in the sandwich city of America on this episode of “Fast Casual Nation.”

Firehouse Subs Gives Back in Honor of 1,000 Store Opening

Firehouse Subs Gives Back in Honor of 1,000 Store Opening

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

The fast casual known for its hearty and flavorful food, Firehouse Subs has just hit the 1,000 store milestone with its latest opening in Rowland Heights, California. The chain is in 44 states in the US, along with Puerto Rico and Canada. 

"Building a brand of 1,000 units is not a common feat in our industry and Firehouse Subs is thrilled to join the less than 40 brands who have this distinction," said Don Fox, chief executive officer at Firehouse of America, LLC in a press release. 

Giving Back to the Community is Part of the Brand’s DNA 

The restaurant chain started 22 years ago by two former firefighters. Besides serving an array of meaty sandwiches, the chain supports a cause. With first responder roots, FHS has a mission to help hometown heroes with its Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which is “dedicated to improving the life-saving capabilities and the lives of local heroes and their communities.”

So it’s fitting that the brand would celebrate its major milestone with a charitable program. FHS is donating $1 million to support the 1,000 Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Gift Campaign, a program through the chain’s foundation. The co-owners will award 1,000 AEDS to police departments across the country. According to research by the University of Pennsylvania, only 30% of the country’s police stations have vehicles equipped with these life-saving instruments. An AED can make a major impact in an emergency situation. According to the American Heart Association, the use of an AED within three to five minutes after a victim’s heart has stopped improves their chance of survival by a whopping 70%.

With that being said, FHS decided to do its part so that more AEDs are available.

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Carin Stutz of McAlister’s Deli — How a Sandwich Chain Stays Competitive After 26 Years

In this episode of Fast Casual Trends TV, brought to you by the Foodable Network, host Paul Barron is joined by McAlister's Deli President Carin Stutz at the Fast Casual Trends & Directions Conference. With the sandwich segment being a powerful emerging leader in the fast-casual space, how does a 26-year-old brand stay competitive in an ever-evolving market? What ingredient trends does McAlister's Deli follow? And how do they engage with both new and loyal consumers to stay top of mind? Watch the full episode to find out all of the above, and more!