The Subway restaurant chain in Puerto Rico has begun expanding its concept with the addition of the first of nine co-branded concept stores that incorporate partners Acai Express, Mama DeLuca’s, and Red Mango, company executives confirmed.
The first 2,400 square-foot megastore opened about a month ago in Arecibo, following a $1 million investment, said Rosa Rodríguez, business director for Subway.
“We decided to expand the offer in our stores and create alliances so that the consumer can have different options in a single establishment,” she said.
“This new concept allows us to offer them a variety of excellent foods and increase the business possibilities for our franchisees,” she added.
Two more stores are currently under construction in Carolina and Bayamón, with one of them slated to open before year’s end. The other six megastores, which are still under development and whose locations have not been defined, will open in 2021.
“Knowing all of the challenges that we’ve all faced, 2021 is the year to improve the quality of our offerings, and one way to do that is with the new mega stores, and move forward with product innovation,” said José Vázquez, vice president of Subway in Puerto Rico.
“We’re also expanding the way we serve our products, through the drive-through and delivery alternatives. Puerto Rico is the chain’s global leader in the number of restaurants with drive-throughs,” he said, noting 83 of the island’s 167 Subway restaurants have them.
Subway restaurants in Puerto Rico are operated by franchisees, of whom between 10 and 15 are already planning to remodel their locations following the chain’s “fresh forward” concept that includes the integration of a new pasta station — an idea developed by the Subway’s local management team.
That conversion could entail an investment of between $50,000 and $80,000 per restaurant, plus another $10,000 for the pasta station.
Subway’s pasta creations — which are made-to-order based on the customer’s choices of the pasta, sauces and proteins — were available on a limited basis at a number of restaurants over the past year and are now being fully integrated into the menu after widespread customer acceptance, Vázquez said.
“Since we decided to bring the pasta menu to Puerto Rico, they have become favorites of our consumers. What began as a pilot project for some franchisees is already another gastronomic alternative for those who visit our restaurants,” said Vázquez.
The local Subway chain sells a volume of 2,000 units per hour in its restaurants and generates about $95 million in sales in the local economy, executives said.