Next Stop for Subway: Italy

NEW YORK Subway is introducing a chicken parmesan sandwich, which will be available in stores Sept. 26.

The breaded chicken product, developed with help from Tyson, will be a permanent menu item. If successful, it has the potential to spawn other extensions, said Ian Sapelli, project manager at Subway in Milford, Conn.

Those include using the chicken “fritter” in other sandwiches, as well as making dipping sauces for the Kids’ Pak menu. Other Italian offerings may also follow, including a garlic bread meatball sub.

Ads, via independent agency MMB in Boston, play up the lengths to which people will go to get their hands on the new sub. These include climbing out a window and leaving a fancy restaurant to go to Subway.

The “fresh toasted” item, which uses ovens installed last year, will be advertised through mid-November, and possibly extended to Jan. 1, depending on consumer reception. It costs $3.69 and $5.69 for a six-inch and foot-long sub, respectively.

Ron Paul, president of Technomic in Chicago, said he expects to see more new sandwiches. “New items are what’s going to drive the sandwich category; we’re well beyond turkey subs,” he said. Subway sales grew 10 percent last year to $6.27 billion, per Technomic.

Ad spending was not disclosed. Subway spent $335 million on paid media last year, and $215 million through July 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.