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Five Dollar Footlongs: the History of Subway’s Game-Changing Promotion

It’s hard to imagine Subway without Five Dollar Footlongs, but it was just 2008 (almost 35 years after the brand began franchising) when the sandwich franchise introduced its now-ubiquitous promotion nationwide. A combination of lucky timing and infectious marketing made the chain’s sub sandwiches earn a place in the ranks of America’s top fast food items.

Subway's Five Dollar Footlong Promotion dates back to 2004

The origin of the $5 footlong sandwich traces back to 2004, when an owner of two Subway franchises within the Jackson Memorial hospital in Miami, FL noticed that sales were slow on weekends. Stuart Frankel began selling foot- long sandwiches for $5 on weekends and saw that sales shot up almost immediately without him having to sell the subs at a loss. It was perfect timing: the promotion started just as the economic downturn hit Florida’s economy, and frugal consumers raised his sales volume. The $5 footlong deal became so popular that two other nearby Subway stores started offering it.

In another stroke of luck, the $5 footlong sandwich deal grew in popularity at the same time the nationalSubway franchise was searching for a new ad campaign to replace the decade-old Jared Fogle commercials, as well as competing with other fast food chains' dollar menus. In March 2008, Subway began offering the Five Dollar Footlongs as a short-term promotion to end in May, but since it was so successful, Subway made it a permanent staple of its value menu in one form or another.

The advertising campaign for Subway’s Five Dollar Footlongs wasn’t luck, but sheer campy genius. The first commercials were nonsensical and highly literal, but drilled “$5” and “one foot-long” into customers’ brains. The jingle, “five, five, five dollar foot long…” was an instant hit as the commercials repeated the phrase as many times as could be crammed into a thirty second spot. A lesson in viral marketing: the commercials were so fun and catchy that they spawned various internet parodies and fans’ versions. The purposely low-brow TV commercials and infectious jingle may have been as instrumental to the success of Subway as the $5 deal itself.

The Franchise Site & Franchise Location Selection Worksheet

Identifying the major traffic patterns, the availability of parking close by, the cost of utilities, the rent per square foot and various other aspects are just a few of the factors to consider when locating your franchise site.

Overcoming Franchise Funding Fears

You want to dip your toe into the waters of business ownership and have decided to jump into a franchise. Maybe you’ve zeroed in on which franchise is right for you or perhaps you’re still exploring the options. Whatever you decide, you’ll need a way to finance the venture, and that can be intimidating. Getting a business loan can be tricky… even as the economy begins to heal. If you’ve got money, banks and credit unions will line up to loan you even more. If you don’t have money? Well, take heart—here are some alternative funding options that can put you at the helm of your own franchise:

What Does a Franchise Search Look Like

People often start off their search for franchises and aren't really sure what they want. They might know a facet of what they want, but they're not certain about everything they need to look into or think about. I thought it might be helpful for anyone interested in opening a franchise to get an idea of what everyone else is looking for. How the typical search goes before they connect with a franchise. What type of franchises people are typically looking for. And the most common reasons why people want to open a franchise.