Is This the End of Subway's $5 Footlong?

Miami is an expensive city, but there's always been an inexpensive way to keep hunger at bay: the $5 Subway footlong.

Large enough to share or to save half for another meal, the footlong sandwich has long been a culinary savior for students, workers, and budget-friendly individuals. And because guests can "run it through the garden" with fresh veggies, it's also been one of the most healthful fast-food options around and one of the few places vegans and vegetarians could grab a meal in most cities.

Now the demise of the Subway footlong could be near.

In an interview with USA Today, Subway CEO Trevor Haynes shared that the sandwich promotion might be phased out after the company gave franchises the option to stop offering it.

Haynes said many franchisees complained about the footlong's low profit margins compared to other options on the menu. The company, with about 44,000 locations worldwide, took the comments to heart, allowing each individual restaurant owner to offer the footlong for $5 or discontinue the promotion. According to Subway's website, the company doesn't own any of its restaurants. Instead, all locations are owned by more than 21,000 franchisees in more than 100 nations across the globe.

Though Subway has had significant growth since it started as a single sandwich shop in 1965, the privately owned company has endured turmoil the past few years, including the retirement of its longtime CEO, Suzanne Greco, and the arrest and conviction of former company spokesman Jared Fogle. He is serving a 15-year, eight-month sentence in a Colorado federal prison after he pleaded guilty in 2015 to distributing child pornography and traveling for paid sex with girls.

In a grab to evolve into a new phase for the company, Haynes has proposed offering a $3.99 six-inch sub. Anyone with basic math skills can figure out that's not the same deal as 12 inches of meat and cheese for five bucks.

The company launched a line of wraps earlier this year. In a March 2018 release, the company stressed that these wraps, which contain the same amount of meat and cheese as six-inch subs, are "a meal, not a tiny snack" — possibly referring to several fast-food chains, such as Wendy's, that market inexpensive wraps as snacks.

Subway is also offering watermelon and passionfruit agua fresca and is testing paninis in California.

That's all well and good, but Subway's $5 footlong has long been an affordable way to snag a generous helping of meat and vegetables. Its demise will be a game-changer for students and workers on a tight budget.

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