Who doesn’t love a good just-for-kicks pseudo-holiday? Luckily for quick-service restaurant industry consumers, there’s plenty of them strewn throughout the year to celebrate, including National Sandwich Day every November 3rd. With the one day event falling on a Saturday this year, Cincinnati-based sub sandwich franchise Penn Station knew a standout promotion was the best way to drive traffic and introduce new customers to the brand for the first time.
To separate themselves from other major chains on National Sandwich Day while still creating value for its franchisees, Penn Station offered any six-inch sub for just $3.99 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time. The promotion was enacted at all 310 locations across 15 states, sparing fans of Penn Station’s grilled, made-to-order sub sandwiches from the dreaded caveat of “at participating locations only.”
Known for its East Coast-style subs, both grilled and cold deli-style, fresh-cut fries hand-squeezed lemonade and chocolate chunk cookies baked daily, Penn Station focused on price changes instead of menu changes. The celebration gave customers both new and old an added incentive to indulge in the chain’s renowned Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich (or any other Penn Station classics) at a promotional price point during peak sandwich-eating hours.
“The fact that National Sandwich Day was occurring on a Saturday posed an interesting challenge for us,” Penn Station Director of Development and Franchising Greg Goddard said. “We wanted to celebrate our customers while still providing value for our franchisees. It can be tricky executing promotions on the weekends, so we took what we learned last year, refined our plan and made sure all of our franchisees were thoroughly prepared.”
The planning and attention to detail leading up to National Sandwich Day is no surprise given the brand’s emphasis on investing in franchisee success. Because all but one of Penn Station’s locations are franchised, the brand is uniquely focused on supporting business operations and unit-level economics for its franchisees. One way in which the brand used franchisee feedback from last year’s National Sandwich Day was to modify its approach in 2018 by adding two hours to the beginning of the promotion. This year’s promotion ran from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time; it ran from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in 2017.
This focus and involvement paid dividends for franchisees across the Penn Station system on National Sandwich Day despite the complicated weekend execution of such a popular promotion.. The brand saw a spike in system-wide sales.
“Overall, National Sandwich Day was a huge success for us,” Goddard said. “Not only did we see a spike in comparable sales, but we received great feedback from franchisees across the system about how smoothly everything ran and how much traffic they experienced thanks to strong marketing and operational guidelines. We’re really pleased with the results.”
Penn Station’s franchisee-focused decision-making in every aspect of its business creates value throughout the entire system and continues to give franchisees, their customers and the brand a reason to celebrate, National Sandwich Day included.