What to Eat Now That Subway's $5 Footlong is Gone

A look at how the deals of other fast-food chains stack up against each other.
A collage of fast-food logos

Americans who have come to rely on Subway's $5 footlong deal to fill their bellies without emptying out their wallets mourn the impending loss of the value-priced sandwich, as Subway CEO Trevor Haynes announced in an interview with USA Today that the company will no longer require franchisees to continue the promotional pricing.

While customers aren't likely to greet the announcement with much joy, it's a different story for the owners of individual Subway stores, many of whom felt the $5 footlong deal was devouring their profit margins. Last December more than 400 franchisee owners filed a petition with Subway when they learned the sandwich company planned on bringing back the $5 footlong deal in January of this year (the original promotion ran from 2008 until the end of 2014).

Other fast-food franchises also engage in the balancing act of value pricing, which is supposed to bring in more customers but at the cost of profits per discounted item sold. McDonald's offered its Dollar Menu from 2002 to 2014, and reintroduced a similar "$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu" at the beginning of this year. Taco Bell, Wendy's and other national chains also compete for the frugal and hungry customer with their own variations of value promotions, as seen below.

RestaurantDeal NameExample of Deal
McDonald's$1 $2 $3 Dollar MenuTriple Cheeseburger ($3), 2-pc. Buttermilk Crispy Tenders ($2), Sausage Biscuit ($1). Click here for full menu.
Burger KingKing Meal DealA combination of two of the offered sandwiches (Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, and Chicken Jr.) and a small fries and drink for $3.49. Click here for full menu.
Taco BellBoxes and CombosA Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch, two Crunchy Tacos and a medium fountain drink for $5. Click here for full menu.
Wendy's4 for $4A Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, 4-Piece Chicken Nuggets, small fries and a drink for $4. Click here for full menu.

The price of fast-food items matters more than ever, with Americans now spending more money on dining out than cooking at home while middle-class customers struggle to pay for basic necessities like food and shelter. For them, along with everyone else, their food options just got a little more expensive.

James Ellis

James Ellis is a Staff Writer for ValuePenguin, covering credit, banking, travel and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote for Newsweek, Men's Health, and other nationally-published magazines.

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