Drink Fresh? Subway Tests Out Coffee Concept


The coffee wars have a new combatant: Subway.

As Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s go after Starbucks, a Washington-area franchisee is testing a Subway café concept. While it’s a relatively small step for the sandwich chain, the coffee push could pose a big threat if Subway ever decided on a rollout.

According to Ron Paul, president of Technomic, Subway could quickly become a player in the coffee wars based on the convenience factor alone. The chain has nearly 22,000 U.S. locations — far more than any other fast-food chain. “Trial would be pretty high,” he said. “They’re going to be a value player, and it’s surely going to have an impact.”

However, Subway isn’t viewing this as much more than a test. “Starbucks created a huge market for that type of product,” said Alan Warmund, president of mid-Atlantic development at McLean, Va.-based Subway Development Corp. of Washington, which has more than 1,000 Subway locations. “If the store is open for breakfast, you have to have a great coffee product.”

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