There is, in the fast-food world, a long history of super-fans who take their love of the chain to the next level.
Earlier this year, Devin Durbin became the ninth person to tattoo an image of Taco Bell’s Beefy Crunch Burrito on his body after the Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get Free Report-owned chain debated what entrees to bring back. KFC’s Double Down also has a strong base of fans who clamor for its return (and regularly tattoo it on themselves.)
After giving nine fans who tattooed its logo on their bodies a lifetime of free food in 2022, the privately-owned Subway chain is now upping the ante and doing the same for a fan who legally changes their name to “Subway.”
Subway Wants You to Have a New Identity
“Subway is looking to reward its biggest fan with free subs for life if they legally change their first name to Subway,” the chain said in a press release. “To do this, fans need to go on Subwaynamechange.com between August 1 and 4 and commit to make the legal name change if selected.”
(One does not actually have to do this until Subway reaches out naming you as the winner but chickening out will also lead to disqualification and a new winner being drawn.)
“Subway will select one lucky winner to earn free sandwiches and assume an iconic new identity,” the chain said further. It promises to reimburse the legal and processing costs in order to “make it effortless to become Subway and enjoy a lifetime of delicious subs.”
The “lifetime of free food” promotion mirrors the elusive Gold Card that McDonald’s (MCD) – Get Free Report handed out to a very select few people since the 1980s. Famous holders of the card giving one access to free McDonald’s food for a month, a year or even a lifetime include Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mitt Romney — during the 2022 holiday period, the chain also gave away two McGold cards offering two McDonald’s meals a week for the next 50 years.
Why Are We Hearing So Much About Subway Right Now?
Subway’s own lifetime promotion comes at a time when the chain is desperately trying to reinvent itself and craft a new future.
As rumors of a potential sale continue to swirl, the chain unveiled its new “Deli Heroes” menu earlier this summer — bringing new meat slicers costing roughly $6,000 each to Subway stores was an $80 million investment but allows it to serve freshly-sliced meats alongside competitors such as Arby’s and Jimmy John’s.
After downsizing from 27,000 locations in 2015 to approximately 21,000 in 2023, the chain has been on a wider mission to modernize stores and promote a “Subway Series” sandwich line that steers customers away from customization to speed up the order line.
Another experiment has been the $15 Footlong Pass “sandwich subscription” that gives holders 50% off subs for a selected month.
All these strategies appear to work as, at the end of July, Subway reported its 10th consecutive month of same-store sales increases as well as a 9.3% increase in sales in the first half of 2023 and a 17.8% increase in North American sales and 11.1% increase in worldwide sales for the same time period.