Why You May See Subway In A Vending Machine Soon

Sometimes it seems like no matter where we go, we're within walking distance of a Subway restaurant. In fact, the sandwich chain's franchises are so densely peppered throughout the U.S. that comedian John Oliver just called out Subway about its business practices, arguing that the huge number of locations makes it hard for franchise operators to actually make a living.

In 2017, Subway was the largest restaurant chain in the world — with more locations than McDonald's, per CNBC — but apparently it isn't done expanding yet. The brand is currently focusing on broadening its "grab and go" strategy, according to Restaurant Business. So far, this has been tested in several different ways. At Love's Travel Stops, for example, customers can buy pre-made Subway sandwiches from coolers in the overnight hours when the actual restaurants are closed. Now, the company wants to make its pre-made sandwiches available in airports, convenience stores, and other locations where people on the go might need a quick meal. How will the chain do it? By trying out the humble vending machine.

Subway is already testing vending machines

Trevor Haynes, the president of Subway North America, divulged to the "A Deeper Dive" podcast from Restaurant Business that the company has already started testing out sandwich sales in vending machines. Right now, they're being distributed at certain U.S. airports, like Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. According Haynes, the strategy is going well so far. "Consumers come out there, they're buying them," he shared.

Reddit users have already posted a couple of different pictures and videos of Subway vending machines in different locations. One showed a Subway vending machine in Singapore, which was emblazoned with the words "Fresh Subs at your finger tips" and "Grab & Go." Inside were drinks, subs, and salads. Interestingly, the vending machine was located in a Subway restaurant. Another Reddit post showed a Subway vending machine filled with sandwiches and chips in an undisclosed location. If the current testing goes well, who knows, maybe Subway vending machines will soon be just as ubiquitous as the restaurant's full-service locations.