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Subway Café
Milford, Conn.
Co-founder and president: Fred DeLuca; co-founder: Dr. Peter Buck
Locations: 50

Subway is developing an upscale version of its sandwich chain, designed to let the brand continue to enter “non-traditional” spaces including office buildings, hospitals and airports.

Subway Café differs from traditional Subways in its European-inspired décor and the addition of hot and cold flavored coffee drinks and baked goods to its menu.

Cafés feature a lounge area with upholstered chairs and coffee tables, warm wood tones, slate floors and soft lighting. Instead of Subway’s traditional wallpaper art depicting New York’s present-day subway system, an etched acrylic mural depicts New York City’s subway system as it was at the turn of the century.

Company spokesman Les Winograd says management considers Subway Café a test, an option currently only offered to a limited number of franchisees with appropriate locations. The idea was developed in partnership with the landlord of a Washington, D.C., office building who wanted to include a restaurant but “with a few extras that most quick-service chains didn’t offer,” says Winograd, emphasizing that Subway Cafés are being designed as “places for people to relax before heading back to work. They have a richer experience and maybe fonder memories.”

There is no set timetable for Subway to make Cafés a standard option for franchisees. “It all depends on participation and interest in the field, as well as customer feedback,” Winograd says.