Subway India: Customers Offered Sauce as Free Cheese Slice Taken Away

Fri Aug 11 2023
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MUMBAI: Subway sandwiches in India would no longer be available with the option of a free slice of cheese following its menu changes that analysts believed to be more about cost-cutting than just a matter of their taste.

With almost 800 locations, the American restaurant brand Subway is one of the largest in India. The cheese slice in most sandwiches is now an additional 30 rupees ($0.40), but a free “cheezy” sauce is provided in its place.

International fast-food companies operating in India are pressured to reduce costs while maintaining consumer satisfaction due to rising pricing for components, notably dairy products.

In India, where its franchisee has openly expressed concerns over a 40 percent increase in the price of cheese during the fiscal year that ended in March, Domino’s promotion pricing for its least expensive pizza is merely 60 US cents.

Recently, many Subway and McDonald’s locations in India have also removed tomatoes from their menus due to quality concerns, resulting from a 450 percent price increase that sent costs to record highs. To help with the scarcity, India has resorted to importing tomatoes from Nepal.

The Everstone Group’s Culinary Brands, which oversees the supply chain for all 800 venues and is the master franchisee for about 200 of them, claimed that the cheese sauce currently provided free at Subway India, which is now offered free at Subway India, was “developed for qualitative reasons alone.” There is no doubt that not everyone likes the qualitative change. One disgruntled consumer, Sumit Arora, posted on X, the social media website that supplanted Twitter, that Subway has “replaced the cheese slice with liquid cheese blend… You just lost a loyal customer.”

According to a manager at a Subway restaurant in New Delhi, the new cheese sauce costs Rs400 a kilogram. According to market rates, a kilogram of cheese slices usually costs roughly Rs700. Mayur Hola, the marketing director for Culinary Brands, claimed that a cheese slice “can be added on at a small cost.” “We do not comment on ingredient costs… Simply put, this is an improvement to our subs.

In response to a question about the Subway move, Karan Taurani, a consumer discretionary analyst at India’s Elara Capital, claimed that higher cheese, grain, and vegetable prices have forced eateries to develop “innovative” tactics. In contrast to a general price increase, he continued, “It is a means of placing inflationary pressure on the customer.

In India, a Subway sandwich is between 200 and 300 rupees ($2.4 and $3.6), and the once-free cheese slice is now priced up to 15% more if the consumer adds it. Subway spokespersons did not answer an inquiry for comment. This week, the Indian central bank increased its 5.4 percent projection for inflation for the current fiscal year, blaming pressures from rising food costs.


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