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Subway Adds Self-ordering Kiosks

The sandwich chain looks to tech upgrades to win back customers.
June 19, 2017

​MILFORD, Conn. – Subway Restaurants hopes a technology upgrade will turn around sluggish sales, Bloomberg News reports. The sandwich chain is adding self-ordering kiosks in restaurants, plus a new mobile app. Subway is conducting dedicated pickup areas for mobile orders as well. Digital menus have appeared in hundreds of stores to allow for quicker changes.

Subway has experienced a three-year decline in U.S. sales. Analysts have predicted the negative sales growth for U.S. stores would continue this year. “It’s really a vision and strategy in how we want to evolve,” Carman Wenkoff, Subway’s chief information and digital officer, said of the technology push. “Customers are demanding a more complete experience.”

The chain has tested around 50 of the new kiosks which allow customers to enter the store and build their own sandwich more accurately. Wenkoff said that eventually, each location would have on average three kiosks. Subway’s mobile app is available in around 26,000 of its 27,000 U.S. locations. “Mobile devices are attached at the hip to pretty much all our customers these days,” Wenkoff said. “It’s all about convenience.”

All of these upgrades need the buy-in from its franchisees (all locations are franchised). “We are investing heavily,” Wenkoff said. “We’re also asking the franchisees to put some skin in the game. Our franchisees are with us 100%.”

Subway is even experimenting with delivery through such partners as DoorDash, GrubHub and Postmates. Earlier this year, the chain with more locations than any other restaurant said that hundreds of locations would be closing.