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Footlong Frenzy

Several franchises have followed Subway's Footlong footprints, offering their own footlong products. How do they measure up?

This story appears in the October 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You'd have to look long and hard to find a fast-food promotion as successful as Subway's $5 Footlong, which during the past two years has not only helped franchisees weather the economic turmoil, but was also recognized as one of the Top 10 New Products of the Decade by Ad Age. Since then, Subway has filed for trademark protection of the term "footlong," but that hasn't stopped a footrace of imitators. Footlong hot dogs, subs, cheeseburgers, they're all out there. Armed with a tape measure and a healthy appetite, we compared them, foot by foot.

Subway's $5 Footlong1. Subway's $5 Footlong

On the menu: Eight footlong subs (Meatball Marinara, B.L.T., Spicy Italian, Tuna, Cold Cut Combo, Black Forest Ham, Oven Roasted Chicken and Veggie Delite)

Launch date: The footlong began as a promotion in March 2008 and has been on a roll ever since.

Knife and fork? No. But you'll need extra napkins to tackle the Meatball Marinara.

Tale o' the tape: As promised--12 inches, stem to stern

Price: Gotta ask?

Calories: Varies. Our Meatball Marinara weighed in at 1,160.

Taste: Seven pingpong-ball-size meatballs and tomato sauce layered across a foot of fresh-baked real estate proves there's more to Subway's success than an alliterative hook and snappy jingle. Ordered to go, the sub was still piping hot 15 minutes later at our desk. (Hint: Have it toasted, which helps it stay crisp.) Forks down, no one does it better.


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