When it comes to special offers, Subway takes the lead over all the other foreign franchises operating in Pakistan. Maybe this has got something to do with the fact that amongst all the foreign brands in Pakistan, Subway has had the toughest time. 10 years down the line, they have managed to capture a meager 6% of the market share in contrast to KFC lion’s share of 29%, Pizza Hut with 23% and McDonald’s with 18%. Although Nando’s is at 6% as well, but then Nando’s hasn’t had the run that Subway has plus it doesn’t have that many outlets compared to the strong network of Subway.
(These market share stats were determined through an online survey conducted by Dawn.com and the results published in Aurora magazine).
Subway’s poor showing has got to do with the fact that people in this part of the world like their food to be hot, something which the top 3 of the foreign brands cater to. Unfortunately for subway, they are in the business of serving cold sandwiches. Yes they have adapted to the host country quite a lot, such as heating the bread sparingly in an oven, just enough to let the cheese melt.
And then they are coming up with these ingenious offers that have definitely raised their game quite a few notches up. The Buy-one-get-one-free deal is a brilliant one, not much so for the deal but the timing of it. It’s only valid for Sundays 12-4pm, the slowest time of the week when people are least motivated to go for it.
Their latest Rs.169 deal which comprises of a half-footer and a soft drink is a good one as well. First, there’s no time limit – you can have it at any time of the day. Then all the taxes are included in the 169. Now that’s a first. Most of these foreign brands have the tendency of only quoting the tax-free price, placing a small asterisk at the top and including an miniscule line at the bottom saying taxes are additional. Although it looks good on paper because, going by sales logic, consumers are going to be enticed by the reasonable price, the truth is that it frustrates the consumer no end, having to pay a sort of a hidden price which wasn’t mentioned in the advertisement.
So Subway’s strategy of including the tax as well is definitely a breath of fresh air. About the deal itself, it’s definitely not going to satiate your appetite especially if you are feeling ravenously hungry, but it’s a good one if you just want to have a quick bite.
You get five choices of bread and four choices of fillings – chicken tikka, chicken teriyaki, meat balls and beef steak. Then there’s the usual options of what sort of salad you want – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, pickles, olives, cheese, onion, green chillies and a welcome addition – coleslaw. Coleslaw has become a staple of any fast food in Pakistan and Subway has done well to latch on to this trend. One other thing they could have added in line with the consumer trend is the garlic mayo sauce. Maybe even come up with another deal that has this sauce at the centre of attention. That would really get the cash registers ringing.
Most of all there’s no discrimination between a regular meal and a special offer which you find in so many of the other foreign brands.
And now, the most important thing, the scrumptious factor. Now here, Subway has a wee bit of problem. You see, whatever choice of filling you go for, whether it’s tikka or teriyaki or steak- every option invariably tastes the same. When you pile on all these accessories, everything tastes more or less the same. That means the consumer essentially has just one option for all intents and purposes. Mind you, it doesn’t taste bad or anything, but you do want a distinct taste to tantalize your taste buds.
Bottomline- Subway needs to do something about this. Maybe increase the portion size of the filling, or add something to it to enhance its taste. Or it could make pre-defined templates for the addition of the accessories to avoid over-load of them by the customer which in turn wreaks havoc on the taste. When you allow the customer to choose the ingredients, he invariably ends up adding everything available thus destroying any possibility for a distinct taste to surface.
Remember Zen in DHA phase VI? They came up with a real ingenious idea of allowing the customer to add the raw ingredients himself which were laid on a table buffet style, and let the chef cook it. They had exactly the same problem because the customer was adding everything up and the resultant dish was a mess. So they came up with little recipes of their own which they posted on the table adjacent to the ingredient to help him decide while still giving the freedom to decide on his own. So this is something Subway should definitely pay heed to.