After years of the oh-so-familiar “Subway, Eat Fresh” jingle, together with its green-outlined logo, the eatery’s recent switch to a new branding aesthetic certainly does take a little while getting used to.
Swapping out the white-green-yellow logo for a solid, brighter green-yellow one and omitting the “eat fresh” motto entirely first saw Subway outlets in the US taking on a redesigned front dubbed “Fresh Forward” in mid-2017, which was subsequently rolled out across the world.
And now there’s a bigger change coming – after almost seven months of wait, the local chapter of the popular American sandwich chain has finally gone Halal, as it has announced that MUIS has issued Halal Certification to all 131 restaurants here.
*There’s actually a 132nd outlet here at Wisteria Mall that is still in the process of undergoing certification, as it only opened recently.
From September 1, 2018 onwards, these restaurants will begin to display the Halal certificate awarded by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, (MUIS), the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, with other slight changes in tow.
So far, the branches at Clementi Mall, Heartbeat@Bedok, Jurong West, National University of Singapore, and Wisteria Mall have welcomed the branding change, which sport a more brightly-lit and spacious interior that’s accompanied by digital big-screen menus, and increased consumer-staff interaction in the form of lower, more tucked-in glass covers at the ingredients selection area. With everything improved to be bigger and brighter, next up on the list would be to reach out to a wider community, which in Singapore’s sense, means making Subway accessible to those of the Islamic faith.
Coupled with a revised list of products, the move will see stores undergoing a ritual cleansing by MUIS, and hiring at least two Muslim employees each. Alongside increased flexibility for more members of the Muslim community to hop onboard, this also brings about a greater sense of convenience – prior to this, the nearest Halal-certified Subway fix would be in Malaysia, which, well, definitely wouldn’t work for a quick bite.
The franchise’s decision to reach out to a wider community is thus a sensible and encouraging one, especially in a diverse, multicultural nation like Singapore. However, there’s the issue of maintaining food quality to consider as well, now that the products used in menu options have been replaced as follows:
|1. Chicken Ham||From ham to chicken ham|
|2. Subway Club||From ham to chicken ham|
|3. Subway Melt||From ham to chicken ham|
|4. Breakfast – Chicken Ham, Egg & Cheese||From ham to chicken ham|
|5. Cold Cut Trio||Changed to Halal-certified product|
|6. Meatball Marinara Melt||Changed to Halal-certified product|
|7. Steak & Cheese / Roast Beef||Changed to Halal-certified product|
|8) Italian B.M.T||From pork pepperoni to beef pepperoni
From pork salami to beef salami
From ham to chicken ham
|9) Chicken Bacon Ranch||From bacon to chicken bacon|
|10) Breakfast – Chicken Bacon, Egg & Cheese||From bacon to chicken bacon|
|11) Breakfast – Chicken Sausage, Egg & Cheese||From sausage to chicken sausage|
For the consumer, the concern is more than well-warranted. Of course, the changes have inevitably resulted in a difference in taste, but that, fortunately, is sufficiently well-matched in flavour such that it remains only subtly noticeable.
In a recent food tasting invitation, the chain introduced the new menu items to us, and the swap from ham to chicken ham introduced minimal palate differences, barring perhaps the slightly more tender texture. Meanwhile, the chicken bacon took on a slightly different texture than its salt-cured pork counterpart.
When mingled in with other toppings though, the sandwiches taste almost identical to the original recipe and aside from the die-hard sandwich connoisseur, who can tell the two apart. As for the occasional consumer. it’s not quite likely. For the most part, the Subway Melt will still taste like the Subway Melt from last year, with selected menu items either going narrowly tamer or stronger in flavour, depending on one’s tastebuds and preference.
After 20 years of history in Singapore, Subway in Singapore is finally headed down the halal route. It’s better late than never though, and hopefully the team’s choice to broaden their offerings would encourage more Halal options in the local F&B scene.
Oh, and how can we forget: Hearty congratulations, Subway!