Subway Is Stepping On Chipotle's Territory With New Menu Test

Pop quiz: what does Subway serve? If you said "subs," "sandwiches," or "footlongs," you'd be correct — and why not? Subway's been selling sandwiches since opening in 1965, and to say that it sells anything else would sound like a wrong answer.

But truth be told, there have been times when Subway has stepped out of the usual footlong formula and tried to experiment a bit with its menu. For example, Subway tried to release its own take on pizza called the "Flatizza" back in 2014. NPR described the Flatizza as a cross between a pizza and a flatbread and called it a "fine fast-food pizza," although such praise wasn't enough to keep the Flatizza on the menu. In Canada, Subway attempted to jump into the chicken sandwich craze by offering guests its own take. According to Dished, Subway Canada released a chicken sandwich complete with dressing, pickles, and lettuce in 2021, presumably to not get left behind by the numerous other fast food companies who were churning out chicken sandwiches.

Despite all Subway's attempts to lure in those who prefer chicken and pizza to a footlong, there's one restaurant that Subway hasn't yet duplicated: Chipotle. With its varied selection of Mexican-inspired dishes, Chipotle offers the same amount of customization and variety as Subway does, but with a focus beyond sandwiches. It seems Subway won't take this sitting down — The chain is testing a new item that appears very similar to something you'd see at Chipotle.

Subway Canada is offering rice bowls

Rice bowls? At your local Subway? It's more likely than you think.

According to a press release, Subway Canada is launching a new item called Signature Rice Bowls. Backed by Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, Subway's rice bowls promise to "combine fresh vegetables, zesty and flavourful sauces, and new hearty grains" — similar to a Chipotle burrito bowl. The rice bowls will come in four flavors: Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, Crispy Chicken Bacon & Peppercorn Ranch, Green Goddess Veggie, and Southwest Steak & Avocado. Subway will also hold a special event called "Bowlway," a pop-up at SPACE on King in Toronto that features games, photo shoots, and chances to sample the rice bowls for yourself.

"Our next challenge was perfecting a new format — Rice Bowls — giving Canadians another way to enjoy our much-loved flavors," says  Subway Canada's Culinary Manager John Botelho. "We set out to bring Canadians something never-before-seen from us here at Subway."

This actually isn't the first time the chain introduced bowls to its menu. In 2020, Chew Boom reported that Subway offered Protein Bowls that consisted of the usual meats, cheeses, and vegetables one would find in a Footlong, but without any bread. According to Eater, people didn't waste time to bust Subway on its new bowls, with attention being paid to a bowl that seemed to be made entirely out of cold cuts.

Maybe it's only a matter of time until Chipotle releases its own submarine sandwich in return.