Whatever Happened to the 5 Dollar Footlong?

Five...five dollar...five dollar footlonggg! We've all heard the "5 Dollar Footlong" jingle more times than we can count. Many of us have even had the pleasure of devouring a fresh-made footlong that only cost five dollars. Subway has always been the place to go for quick, fresh subs at a great price, and the five-dollar footlong was even more of an incentive to go. So where did the 5 dollar footlong go?

The Five Dollar Footlong

Subway is an American fast food chain famous for its submarine sandwiches, salads and drinks. This restaurant chain has been wildly successful, spreading world wide, and it currently has over 40,000 restaurants in 100 countries. One of its best qualities is that customers get to decide which ingredients go in their sub sandwiches, allowing for personalized subs for all.

In 2008, Subway came out with the "5 dollar footlong," a footlong deal that promised a whole footlong for only five dollars! The five dollar footlong promotion involved a catchy song with a dance that involved holding up five fingers, to signify the amazingly cheap price of a footlong sandwich. The first five dollar footlong was in Miami, and the deal was created by Fred DeLuca.

Just like the dollar menu at McDonalds or the cheap value items at Burger King, the five dollar footlong deal was irresistible for Subway customers. This incredibly successful deal generated $3.8 billion in revenue for the year first year of promotion! Subway restaurants became even more popular, especially among those looking to save a few bucks. According to industry analysts, the five dollar footlong was one of the most successful promotions in the history of the American restaurant business.

The Rise and Fall of the 5 Dollar Footlong

Although this limited time offer was incredibly successful and popular, it wasn't so popular among Subway franchise owners. As inflation increased the cost of doing business, the $5 footlong promo became unsustainable for many Subway store owners, many of whom were independent entrepreneurs.

Subway has always prioritized having a large number of stores, encouraging new franchisees to open up new stores with its low franchise startup cost. When the five dollar footlong deal debuted, Subway restaurants were being opened anywhere they could, from gas stations to truck stops. However, although Subway has a low start-up cost for franchisees, the catch is that it takes a 12.5% cut of franchisees' weekly gross sales, much higher than the average rate.

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This results in difficulty for the individual store owners of this sandwich chain, and the $5 footlong only added to the inability to make a profit. Because of the financial toll on Subway franchisees, the $5 footlongs were removed in 2012, and footlong subs were once again sold at a $6 price point.

However, after seeing a net decline in Subway locations for the first time in its franchising history, Subway brought back the $5 footlong deal in 2017. Franchise owners were furious, causing such an uproar that Subway discontinued the deal in the following year. Although it seemed clear enough that the five-dollar footlong deal should be laid to rest, it was then brought back again!

The Future of the 5 Dollar Footlong

This time, it was in 2020, during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All restaurant chains were struggling to make a profit, and Subway was no exception. The new deal was $10 for two footlongs, and the new jingle was sung by Charlie Puth. However, two weeks later, the $5 footlong was once again taken off of the menu due to complaints from store owners.

No one can be sure whether Subway will continue trying to make the $5 footlong work. Many people have doubts about the long-term sustainability of the deal, and Subway franchisees are vehemently opposed to it because of the financial strain it puts on them as individuals. However, for now, the five-dollar footlong is a thing of the past.

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