Subway Grasps for a Lifeline With Americans Shunning Aging Brand

Subway Restaurants has sported the “Eat Fresh” slogan for years, even as it peddled limp tomatoes and processed deli meats. Now, with new breads, smashed avocado and fresh mozzarella, the sandwich chain is trying to bring back the customers who’ve defected to more modern eateries like Jimmy John’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

The closely held company on Tuesday announced what it calls the biggest changes ever in its more than half-a-century history. Dubbed the “Eat Fresh Refresh,” Subway is rolling out two new bread recipes, several on-trend premium ingredients and a handful of new sandwiches, plus nationwide delivery service. It’s hoping those changes will lure diners back to its stores after five straight years of declines. Skeptics of the brand say it won’t be so simple.

Subway is one of the most recognizable names in the restaurant industry, and its more than 22,000 U.S. locations makes it the largest by store count, dwarfing even McDonald’s Corp. But its massive size obscures a simple fact: American tastes have changed.

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