An interview with Don Fertman, Chief Development Officer, Subway. By Marta Dimitrova
The last four months have marked a significant expansion for the Subway franchise brand, with new restaurant openings in Baiyun International and Ordos Ejin Horo airports in China, Pune International and Devi Ahilya Ba airports in India, Curacao International Airport, and Salalah International Airport in Oman. Another exciting highlight this summer is the new kiosk launch at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Subway’s highest volume airport shop to date.
The Subway brand has always provided for local options in its menus. Recently, it began work to drive an array of menu innovations that will be rolled out in the near future. As part of this effort, the brand is striving to develop a selection of truly local favourites that accurately reflect the personality of each locale.
In recent times, technology in the form of apps, remote ordering, and ease of ordering for quicker queuing, has been the topic of concessions conversation. Subway is meeting those needs with the introduction of some great new technology features, including its remote ordering kiosks. The kiosk, which is available in select locations so far, can be installed remotely and accessed by passengers or airport employees. The brand has also launched its reconfigured Subway smartphone app, which combines ease of use with the new Subway MyWay Rewards programme.
The ‘Make it What You Want’ mindset affirms that Subway understands that customisation has always been important for its guests. With its over 4.9 billion sandwich combinations and the upcoming regional menu choices, customisation will always be at the heart of the company.
“With our exciting new Fresh Forward environment, flexible floor plan and array of ‘Make It What You Want’ sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads and salads, the Subway brand is delighted to bring our menu to airport venues around the globe,” says Don Fertman, Chief Development Officer, Subway. “For travellers, we have a fresh, customisable, portable product. For our franchise owners, we have a simple, lower cost operation. It’s a combination that works in virtually any transportation setting.”
Furthermore, customer service and guest feedback are a vital part of strengthening the company’s business. “We recently took steps to transform the brand’s guest care process with the introduction of a new Guest Feedback Platform,” Fertman adds. “The new system captures guest feedback through simple online surveys and organises that feedback in the platform. This platform enables our franchise owners to quickly and easily access feedback in order to learn and respond to issues. The platform also helps to identify trends and opportunity areas to improve the overall guest experience.”
Social media also has crucial importance to the brand’s development. “We have put together a team of social media experts and listeners to facilitate customer engagement across all major social media platforms. By engaging and listening to our customers in real time, and within venues where they interact in their daily lives, we have a better feel for, and can more quickly respond to, our customers’ needs and ideas.”
Looking ahead, Subway will continue to strengthen its partnerships with the 250 airports that currently host one of its restaurants to ensure travellers and employees always have an exceptional guest experience. Meanwhile, the brand will also focus its attention on reaching its ultimate goal, which is to serve more passengers and airport employees in more terminals in more airports around the globe. “We believe that a Subway meal is the ultimate carry-on, because it is portable, delicious, familiar and, most importantly, trusted by passengers around the world,” Fertman concludes.