Subway is adding more than 20 new menu items in a bid to win back lapsed customers — but it won’t be tweaking the tuna.
The “Eat Fresh Refresh” slated for July 13 — which the struggling sandwich chain said Tuesday is the largest menu update in its 55-year history — won’t replace, upgrade or otherwise alter its “premium 100% tuna” — digging in further against a report last month that said lab tests found no identifiable tuna DNA in its sandwiches.
“While many of Subway’s core protein choices were improved as part of the Eat Fresh Refresh, one ingredient that doesn’t need an upgrade is the Subway high-quality, premium tuna,” the company said in a statement on its website.
“Subway sources tuna from leading global food suppliers that have a reputation for working diligently with food safety and quality experts to ensure consistent, high-quality products at every stage of the supply chain. The 100% wild-caught tuna remains a fan favorite among sub lovers.”
The defiant statement comes after the struggling fast-food giant was hit late last month by a New York Times investigation that tested the tuna used in its sandwiches and found no tuna DNA. The story followed a January lawsuit in which two customers in California alleged Subway’s sandwiches used fake tuna.
Subway has consistently pushed back against the allegations, saying on its website that “DNA testing is simply not a reliable way to identify denatured proteins, like Subway’s tuna, which was cooked before it was tested.”
Subway said its new menu revamp, for which all locations will shut down for a full day on July 12 to prepare, includes six new or returning sandwiches, four revamped signature sandwiches, two new baked breads — Artisan Italian and Hearty Multigrain — and 11 new ingredients to existing menu items.
“We wanted to give our guests more new and improved flavors,” Subway’s North American president, Trevor Haynes, said in a statement. “Our new culinary team is delivering monumental updates to the entire core menu … to excited new and returning guests.”
As part of the menu revamp, Subway said it updated its app and is adding a bevy of new “flashy” spokespeople for a new advertising campaign, according to a CNBC report.
The chain has meanwhile faced a revolt from franchisees who have complained about onerous new rules, including requirements to keep their stores open during snowstorms. Franchisees have long complained about promotions that were too expensive or ineffective.
The restaurant’s late founder, Fred DeLuca, was also the subject of a scathing report that claims he was frisky with store owners’ wives. That’s on top of other scandals including the one surrounding former spokesman Jared Fogle, who is serving a 15-year sentence for child pornography.