Subway Wants To Expand Its New 'Smart Fridges' To More Places

The next time you're craving Subway, your experience may look a little different. The fast food joint has always been known as a place to go for quick sub sandwiches and the chain posts up in a range of convenient locales, from hospitals to Walmarts, but the brand is making things even more convenient with new "non-traditional" offerings while also finding a solution that could be more profitable for the company. According to a recent press release, Subway is already seeing a rebound in sales following a lackluster performance during the pandemic, and leadership is looking for more ways to drive profit growth.

One way to do this? Offer some of its menu items without the Subway sandwich line or employees. In 2020, Subway introduced Subway Grab & Go, a vending machine that distributes Subway sandwiches. The subs are made in a nearby brick-and-mortar franchise location and delivered same day to non-Subway locales, like gas stations and airports. 

While this offering won't allow you to create the absurd number of combos you can make at a traditional Subway, it just might cure your Subway craving in a flash. However, this year, Subway took this concept to the next level with its new smart fridges, and they are doing well enough that Subway is rolling them out to more cities.

Subway's smart fridge may be coming to a city near you

PR Newswire reports that Subway first debuted its Smart Fridge in September 2022 on the University of California San Diego campus. Just like with the Subway Grab & Go model, employees at a local Subway franchise make sandwiches daily and distribute them, but with the new smart fridges, the franchises aren't just taking the sandwiches to some random convenience store. Instead, the sandwiches are stocked in a Subway-owned smart fridge that uses Artificial Intelligence and language processing to provide a more robust customer experience.

Just how smart are these fridges? You can talk to the fridge and it will answer questions you have about the various menu items available. The weight-sensor shelves take note of what you've chosen and then charge you accordingly with no need for cash. A UV-C light sanitation system cleans the fridge after every single use. 

Some reactions, though, have been less than complimentary. One Twitter poll found that current Subway customers were not in favor of what is essentially a Subway vending machine, smart or not, with more than 70% giving a "nay" to the concept. The negative response could be because, as one user replied, "Their bread tastes weird. So does the lettuce."

While Subway hasn't revealed where exactly these fridges will be installed next, the press release did promise smart fridges would be coming to "places like airports, college campuses, and hospitals." It's just part of how Subway is trying to crush it right now.