Yes, Subway did better than Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell
We live in a world where we can order practically anything at the push of a button, so that button is where the fast food chains are at the moment compete for our attence. QSR Magazine reports that a certain fast food chain’s app downloads have skyrocketed recently, and it looks like people are really in the mood for sandwiches. Who knew Subway would become such a digital hit?
Why Subway’s app is all the rage right now
QSR Magazine has followed fast food app downloads (via Apptopia) since 2021, and last month, McDonald’s was in first place with 3.2 million. Second was Starbucks with 1.3 million, and third was Subway, with 1 million downloads. It marks Subway’s biggest jump up the charts since QSR Magazine began tracking this information.
This is no doubt due in part to the menu overhaul that Subway began last year, when the chain changed its offerings and began focusing on signature sandwiches a bit more than build-your-own options. At first I was skeptical about the Subway Series menu, but I’ve ordered a few of these sandwiches now, and the fact that they come with a standard set of ingredients makes it much easier to scroll through the app, pick an item, and roll with that, instead of fiddling around with customization. I must not be the only one who feels this way either, since Subway had very positive sales in 2022.
But there is more at stake than just a new menu. Asked for insight into the app’s recent success, a representative of Subway explained that the chain has worked to make the digital ordering process easier and simpler – and pKnowing the deal with discounts and offers didn’t hurt either.
“Guests using the app can also enjoy special exclusive offers, like our recent BOGO [Buy One Get One] Footlong deal, and easily earn loyalty points,” Subway told Takeaway by e-mail. “As a result, we’ve seen an increase in app usage, and digital continues to be one of our strongest growth channels – experiencing double-digit growth last year.”
I see a lot of deal notifications on my phone these days from various restaurant apps—free pizzaupgraded sandwiches, steeply discounted burgers—and I’d be lying if I said I don’t eat lunch like that once or twice a week. A BOGO deal is even more appealing if I’m home with my fiance and I’m not in the mood to cook, since it takes care of both of us in one fell swoop.
The Panda Express app is pops off too
Jersey Mike’s, Potbelly, Jimmy John’sand Firehouse Subs everyone experiences someone quite steep year on year increases in app downloads also. But in the non-sandwich category, Panda Express has shot up the charts, with a 47.5% increase in February downloads compared to last month.
Promotions were the main carrot here: Last month, Panda Express ran a Lunar New Year promotion in its app that made use of digital scratch cards. Not only were the tickets sweet and fun to “scratch” but customers had one more chance win gift cards, discounts and free food.
However, it sounds like a shopper’s paradise right now there is always a trade-off with giving a limited liability company access to your personal information. And the more accounts you open via other fast food apps, the more you open yourself up to the possibility of being hacked.
For now, it seems the occasional limited-time digital offer of free footlongs is paying off off big time for Subway. It certainly is something to be said for the convenience of shopping for lunch in the palm of your hand, and since getting customers to actually download the app is often the biggest hurdle, any company that persuades us can expect to make some serious money.