Subway India has decided to discontinue offering a complimentary cheese slice with their sandwiches, a change attributed by analysts to cost-cutting rather than taste preferences. The popular American chain, with approximately 800 outlets in India, now charges an additional 30 rupees ($0.40) for a cheese slice in most sandwiches but compensates by providing a free “cheezy” sauce instead.
The adjustment in Subway’s menu is largely in response to the escalating costs of ingredients, including dairy items, which has prompted fast-food chains across the globe operating in India to find ways to reduce expenses while maintaining customer satisfaction. Another notable change is the omission of tomatoes from the menus of numerous Subway and McDonald’s outlets due to soaring prices, with some outlets turning to imports from Nepal to address shortages.
The “cheezy” sauce, now offered as a replacement for the free cheese slice, was introduced for quality reasons, according to Everstone Group’s Culinary Brands, which oversees the supply chain for all 800 Subway outlets in India. Although this change is intended to enhance the overall quality of the subs, some customers have expressed dissatisfaction, including one individual who criticized the replacement of the cheese slice with a liquid cheese blend.
A Subway store manager in New Delhi disclosed that the new cheese sauce costs Rs400 per kilogram, while market rates indicate that cheese slices usually come at around Rs700 per kilogram. Mayur Hola, the marketing head at Culinary Brands, stated that the option of adding a cheese slice at a nominal cost remains available, emphasizing that ingredient costs are not typically commented upon. This alteration in Subway’s offerings is seen by analysts as a way for restaurants to manage the impact of elevated prices for cheese, grains, and vegetables on their customers, without implementing a blanket price increase.
The cost of a Subway sandwich in India typically falls between 200 and 300 rupees ($2.4 to $3.6), and with the elimination of the free cheese slice, the addition of which will now incur an extra charge, the overall cost for customers could rise by up to 15%. Although requests for comments from Subway’s spokespersons went unanswered, India’s central bank recently raised its inflation projection for the ongoing fiscal year to 5.4%, citing pressure stemming from food prices.