John Moore Say Hello!
john@brandautopsy.com
512.633.4086
Twitter Linkedin Facebook

Subway Pizza. Yum or Dumb?

Subway
Photos from “Slice” off flickr.com


In 2005, Subway began using speed ovens to toast sandwiches. In June of 2007, Subway is set to use those speed ovens to flash-bake deep dish personal pizzas in 13,000 U.S. locations. Stores will use pre-baked pizzas and customers will be able to top their pizza with any of Subway’s sandwich ingredients.

I know what you are thinking … what’s a sandwich shop doing baking personal pizzas? You are also thinking … doesn’t Subway position itself as healthy fast food? Lots of questions.

But Subway has been answering these questions by field testing the personal pizza concept in select markets. It must have passed store-level operational feasibility tests and sales tests for Subway to roll-out pizzas nationwide. According to Brandweek, one of the NYC test stores sells about 25 personal pizzas a day.

Hmm…

I’m not sold on Subway doing pizzas—smacks of being all things to all people to me. But I’m not opposed to Subway doing pizzas.

It would feel less like a desperate and unfocused marketing ploy if they used their fresh-baked breads instead of using pizza dough. (Think Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza.) Subway could remain truer to its core sandwich roots if it used its bread to bake pizzas. Not sure about the myriad operational and product implications though. On paper, this sounds like a smarter idea than to use pizza dough.

Reckon we’ll have to see if Subway doing deep dish style pizza is yum or dumb. (My money is on “dumb.”)

43 Comments

  • Jason Moore says:

    McPizza, anyone? I was (un)fortunate enough to grow up in a test market for McDonald’s, so we had the privelage of getting all of the good (questionable, at best) AND bad ideas from the Arches. The latest move by Subway wreaks of the McPizza.”…passed store-level operational feasibility tests and sales tests for Subway to roll-out pizzas nationwide.”These types of statements that corporations make always baffle me. Of course, the product did decent sales numbers in the test markets. This is usually due to the curiosity factor. People are normally willing to try anything once. How many repeat, or better yet, evangelist customers did the pizza create?I’m with John. This idea is likely to be filed in “dumb”.

  • Dan Schawbel says:

    I’d say dumb because they should stick to what they are known for. They are changing their brand to match that of a papa ginos when they can partner with other company’s that sell only pizza.

  • Jackie Huba says:

    D.U.M.B.Gooey fat-filled pizza does not say “Eat fresh!” (their tagline)

  • Steve Lettieri says:

    Donkin’ Donuts has also added pizzas and flatbread sandwiches to its stores menus. I agree that this is dumb, dumb, dumb.

  • Casey Ross says:

    I ate at Subway for lunch today. Everywhere you looked it said “Fresh Fit.” There’s nothing fresh about these pizzas except the toppings you can put on them. I know the lettuce, pickles, carrots, etc. did not come out of the garden today or even this past week, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt when they use the word fresh. Not sure I want pickles on my pizza, though.And there’s nothing fit about pizza either. I noticed you could win a trip to L.A. to work out with a celebrity trainer. I doubt they’ll take you out for pizza after your workout.Of course, by June Subway will have a new slogan. Maybe “Kinda Fresh, Kinda Fit.”

  • Matt Steele in the Hour of Chaos says:

    Gross.

  • What is it about Americans and pizza? Real pizza is nothing like what you find here. And it’s not pre-baked for crying out loud. The real deal is thin, covered with the right amount of fresh tomato and mozzarella and baked in brick ovens just so. No indigestion, no fat dripping on your chin, just delicious pleasure.Subway pizza, dumb.

  • I don’t think this damages their fresh and fit positioning too much. You know going in that how “fresh and fit” your sandwich is depends on the choices you make. You can go in a get a Jared low-fat special or you can order a steak sandwich with bacon, onions, and three kinds of cheese. Grab a bottle of Coke and a bag of chips and you’re all set. It’s not Fresh and Fit by a long shot, but it’s still Subway.I would bet – and apparently so would they – that a good number of regular sandwich customers also like a pizza now and then. If they can keep them in their store by offering them a pizza with all the topping options they have for a sandwich it’s a win for them. (I agree though that pickles on a pizza is a bad idea)I like that they are not using their existing rolls. It makes it seem like they are trying to make a pizza, not just a toasted sandwich with tomato sauce and cheese.Dumb or yum depends on what they are trying to accomplish with it. If they are hoping to to make this something huge – it’s probably dumb. If they are looking to pick up some incremental sales by giving customers the opportunity to have an alternative to a sandwich without going somewhere else to get it, it could turn out to be a yummy snack for the bottom line.

  • Kermit1Fan says:

    Dumb, dumb, and dumber. This is so off brand that I’m almost sick to my stomach…

  • Mack Collier says:

    Subway is known as selling healthy subs.Pizza is neither. This dilutes their brand, period.

  • Gino says:

    Frankly I’m surprised why they have not done this sooner, since everything to make the pizzas, practically, have been in house since the get go. The toaster ovens make it feasible. I’m for it. Go for it, Subway! But they do need a serious brand overhaul, since it looks like it’s still stuck in the early 80s. I love yellow formica. NOT.

  • Erica says:

    Oh my goodness – John — I worked at Subway during college — and I would always make pizzas using the bread dough (and they were amazing). I must second your recommendation that they use their own resources instead of looking to outside sources.

  • Americans love their “pizza” even though most don’t know what good pizza is. (New York or Connecticut pizza all the way!) I bet this will work for SUbway. It’s “fresher” than the stuff sold at the convenience stores that have heat lamp pizza and that stuff even sells.

  • Dumberer. A nice move to dilute your franchise. Because we can make it they will come? Today we’re in a battle of categories and category creation. Conusmers think that way first and brands within the set, second. A Sub-standard idea probably coming from the desire for incremental sales thru attracting pizza-heads. Hey, wait a minute, isn’t that already a crowded space?Brand strategy now is more about focus and sacrifice — engagement along a narrower bandwidth, than it is about ubiquity and being all things to all people.

  • Byron Alley says:

    Quizno’s already does this (at least in Canada) and I’d label it a smart move at least for Quizno’s. The difference is that the oven for baking the sandwiches has always been in plain view for the customers, so the real question is “why WOULDN’T they use those ovens and ingredients for pizza?”My experience as a customer who ordered a pizza from Quizno’s was that I came in looking for a sandwich, and then discovered that I could get a pizza instead. If I carefully deconstruct my own perceptions, I think that a sandwich place offering pizza offers a bit of the halo effect to its pizzas. After all, we tend to view sandwiches as the healthier of the fast food options, and pizza as a greasy, fat option.When you see that the same ingredients are going on a pizza, it gives you the impression that it’s somehow a healthier pizza. Just like someone ordering a steak sandwich with cheese still feels like it’s a healthier meal than a cheeseburger at McD’s.As with all things, it’s all in how you play it, but I think this has definite YUM potential.

  • Sam says:

    Dumb. No self respecting New Yorker will ever buy nasty gimmick pizza. We know what real pizza is supposed to taste like and look like and that is not it!

  • Impressed says:

    So today, I was trying to think of what I wanted for lunch, and although pizza came to mind, I didn’t want to have to drive out to pick up the personal size (can’t eat a whole one). SO, I decided to walk to the Subway near my office and settle on a wrap instead.Boy was I surprised when I saw they were offering PIZZA! AND, it only takes a minute and a half to make it!!! Less than 30 minutes later, I’m finishing the last slice and it was an EXCELLENT meal.Also, as far as people worried about whether it works with the ‘fit’ theme of Subway, Cheese and Veggie pizzas are actually low in calories. A Pizza Hut 6″ personal pan cheese pizza is only 250 caleries for the WHOLE pizza. This pizza was the same size and nowhere near as greasy. 250 calories is the same as what you find in most of their 6″ subs.I’m sold. I hated Subway before because their meat never tasted fresh, their breads always got soggy too fast, and their salads used sandwich lettuce. However, their pizzas will now have me visiting regularly.

  • Chris Strickland says:

    Hi. I work for Subway in Pensacola Florida, and we have had the Pizza for 2 months. Its ok, but nothing compared to Pizza Hut or Papa Johns. And the oven we use doesnt cook it properly. I love Subway,i love to work for the, but this isnt catching on at all. First off some of the veggie ie.”Lettuce,Carrots, Spinach” Burn in the oven, secondly if you load it up with toppings the center remains cold and wont cook, and thridly its just not a good enough oven for Pizza. We sell on an average 20 a week. We are losing money if nothing else. I hope these goes away and we go back to the classic Pizza Sub. It was so much better. Pepperoni, Salami, Cheese, Sauce and veggies that dont need baking.

  • Rob O. says:

    I agree that pizza certainly doesn’t mesh well with the “health-conscious” image they’re trying to project.I’m still chapped that Subway discontinued their “Carb Conscious Wraps” and replaced them with a crappy high-carb, nutritionally-void, white flour tortillas.What a travesty! The “Carb Conscious Wraps” had only 5 net carbs yet featured 8 grams of fiber & a whopping 14 grams of protein! The crummy replacement wraps have well in excess of 20 net carbs but less than 1 gram of fiber or protein — and no flavor! Yuck!

  • jay says:

    I just tried the pizza and it was great. Not oily at all. Very little cheese, but good. Topped with all the veggies I wanted. Only $3.99. The amount of bread was about the same as a 6″ sub, so not too many calories at all. I’d imagine the whole thing was under 600 calories or so, but it is not listed on the website. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it! Compared to the Pizza Hut personal pan pizza, it is much better, and seems MUCH healthier. Would be nice if you could pick the bread though…

  • chibi says:

    I totally agree w/ Rob O. I just had their pizza & it was awesome. I had half yesterday at dinner & half of it today for lunch (I’m small). Someone on volition.com found out that the pepperoni pizza has 730 cals & the cheese and veggie have closer to 600. I had pepperoni, mozzerella & fresh tomatoes. it was really good & came out of the oven really quick and was even tasty re-heated the next day. I will totally get it again. Oh, and cheap!

  • chibi says:

    oops I meant I agree w/ jay, not Rob O. anyway the pizza was not at all greasy & definitely had enough cheese for me.

  • Rita says:

    I’m eating it right now and all I can say is…YUM! These are really good. For a long time I had no car, but we have a Subway right next to us. So I could just walk there and get myself some lunch. Now I have a car, but sometimes I still like to walk to Subways..nice that I can get pizza now too.Comments like this”Americans love their “pizza” even though most don’t know what good pizza is.” really bug me. Gee, thanks for enlightening me that I don’t even know what good pizza is. My mistake, I thought when I ate a pizza and enjoyed it, it was “good”. But clearly I’m wrong.

  • Emily says:

    I just had a cheese pizza from Subway for lunch, and I thought it was great. SO much better than the grease-soaked personal pan pizzas sold at my local Pizza Hut. This tasted fresh, was piping hot, and fast. Next time I’ll bring my own crushed red peppers to give it some more “zip,” but all in all, I think this is a great move by Subway. Take the whole family, and there’s something for everyone. NOT all of their subs are healthy; yes, they do promote that heavily, but you can also go there and get a greasy, fatty, (delicious) meatball sub.Another thing – could all of you people from New Jersey and New York get off your high horses? Okay, we get it – only you know how “true” pizza is supposed to taste, and the rest of us bumbling idiots eat round rubber crap. Well, I’ve grown up in Toledo, OH all my life. I’ve never known any different from Marcos, Pizza Hut, whatever. To me, that is pizza. It is good pizza. It works for me. Enjoy your supposedly superiour authentic pizza and let me enjoy my Marco’s. Or a pizza from Subway! I think I’ll go there again tomorrow!

  • CP says:

    I had a Subway pizza for lunch today, and it was VERY GOOD. The crust is not greasy; the veggie toppings are free. It takes 2-3 minutes to get it. If I’m going to get pizza for lunch, this is a much better alternative. The calories and fat are almost half of Pizza Hut and others. Who wouldn’t want a Subway pizza for $4 that is delicious?

  • Karl says:

    Personally, I think it is a way for them to make a whole lot more money. Look at the pricing scheme. They are charging for the veggies as well as the meats. You can get a pizza sub for less initial cost, and all the veggies are free. Of course, I prefer a veggie pizza anyways.

  • tracey says:

    I hate to say this, but I have tried one and its quite good. Better than Pizza hut personal pan pizzas and not so greasy. I only had the cheese. My son loves them after his baseball practices/games.

  • Julie says:

    I think the pizza is very good for what it is. Compared to Pizza Hut it is good and not as greasy. Sometimes, though, you just want that greasy taste so then I’d recommend Pizza Hut. If you want something quick and cheap, then the Subway pizza is a good idea.

  • Rachel says:

    I have them on occasions. I think they’re delicious. Not fresh sure, but it doesn’t prevent them from being oh-so-tasty. :)

  • Ron says:

    The pizza is delicious. It’s a great alternative. I eat at subway often because it is better than other fast food chains. I like having the option to eat pizza.Get the cheese pizza with all the veggies except lettuce.

  • Dave says:

    Don’t knock these things… they frick’in ROCK. I was skeptical until I had one. Just the smell will drive you wild. I added onions, green peppers and olives to the cheese pizza and it was delicious.Nutrition wise I don’t know how it ranks, but its got to be better than regular as they aren’t adding all that oil.

  • Gabriel says:

    Calm down, people. I’ve had the Subway pizza and it’s good. Some people don’t like to have low-fat, low-calorie every single day and this is a nice alternative for when you want to splurge but still want to stick with Subway. Nothing about the pizza tastes like it’s not fresh (though I will admit that it LOOKS awfully not-fresh when you see it in its package). And you can’t beat the deal they have for unlimited veggies. I tried it with pickles-not bad.

  • J. Alborn says:

    My husband and I have owned 2 Subways for 6 1/2 years in a rural southern town. We fought with corporate about serving pizzas; felt it did not honor the healthy image that Subway has and, we feel, should capitalize on more, but we lost. So yes, our image is somewhat schizophrenic now. We actually sell quite a few pizzas – they’re cheap, fast and surprisingly tasty. The health conscience customers still have plenty of choices and their children get a pizza. (But when you come down to it there are plenty of “unhealthy” items in Subway: cookies – about 220 calories each, the tuna salad is made with whole fat mayo, the Feast sandwich, oh dear…)It’s interesting that even we franchisees were not given the nutritional info on the pizzas… Here’s my suggestion: try a pizza with spinach, onions, olives, parmesan cheese and teeny bit of extra sauce. Then go walk 2 miles. Briskly.

  • pizza says:

    i say go for it. They have all the necesary equipments. The test will be in the taste of their pizza.

  • Kathy says:

    I like the Subway Pizzas. So much whining on here about how healthy are they, certainly as healthy as any of the fat-laden subs (Of course we are not including the slimmifying Jared subs in this category) I like to order the cheese pizza + onion + tomato + black olives + green pepper. So good!

  • Jacob LaFountaine says:

    I’ve read about these pizzas for over a year now. I’ve seen none of these pizzas at the Subway locations in Montana.

  • Anna says:

    I don’t know if quality would be consistent at all locations, but I have to admit the pizza at the subway near me is really, really good. I don’t get any meat on it, just a huge pile of peppers, tomatoes, onions and other veg. I was really skeptical, but absolutely love them now. There is practically enough for two filling meals for $2.99.

  • Carlisle says:

    I love the idea of subway doing pizza’s; now what I have a problem with is Dominos doing sandwhiches!

  • Bob says:

    This the best idea ever. I prefer these to any of the subs they offer.

  • SubwayPIZZAKING says:

    These fucking pizzas are the BEST EVER! No one can top these…these are like the kind you used to get in school…one of a kind taste. The plain cheese are great, but when you pick your toppings like jalapenos, etc, it gets even better!! Everyone who’s tried these pizzas loves them. Be warned though they are very addictive. They put something in them..I wonder if it’s a lot of sugar? Either way they are way better than the subs. If you want subs, goto quiznos and get the 5 meat large for 5 bucks. Best sub ever. Blows subway out of the water, but these pizzas BOY…are the best.

  • Lee Heavner says:

    I am a Subway Franchise owner and I can’t keep the pizza’s in stock. I am located in a food court shopping mall, one of my competitors is a pizza restaurant. I am shocked at the number of customers that prefer the Subway pizza over the pizza restaurant. It is a great product and we sell tons of them. No, we don’t make the dough, but we put FRESH toppings, whatever you desire on the pizza. Our cheese pizza can be ordered with green peppers, onions, olives, ban. peppers, jalepenos, pickles, tomatoes, mushrooms…all at no charge. It’s really a supreme at a cheese pizza price. At around 500 calories, not too bad from a nutritional standpoint. I’ll keep making my pizzas for my loyal customers on the days that want something different than our delicious subs.

  • Asil says:

    the pizza from subway is delicous and now me and my boyfriend can eat there since he hates subs and loves pizza. It really is my favorite pizza.

  • kelly says:

    subway sooooooo good it is so good for the haters of subway pizza u people just hate pizza it is the same pizza as others whats different