Foot-long sandwich maker Subway is going through a multi-million-dollar global transformation, refreshing all aspects of the food brand.
The quick service-style restaurant chain has changed its menus, implemented new branding and company logos and is in the process of refurbishing the interior "look and feel" of its 250 New Zealand stores.
Part of the transformation includes updated store decor, new staff uniforms and menu signage and the rollout of USB charging points and free WiFi to its network of stores, in an attempt to stay relevant amid years of declining sales worldwide.
"Subway is undergoing a major transformation, not just here in New Zealand but globally to provide a fresh experience for our guests," Chris Churchmichael, Subway country director of Australia and New Zealand, told the Herald.
"We're responding to requests that our Kiwi guests are asking."
In August last year, Subway began its rebrand by introducing new breads, sauces and fillings to its menu in a bid to increase sales as part of a drive to "boost convenience". This included a partnership with UberEats for home delivery at 100 of its restaurants.
Subway was now focused on the refurbishment of existing stores to make them "vibrant next-generation restaurants" to improve the experience, Churchmichael said.
New Zealand and Australia were one of the first markets to undergo the brand transformation around the middle of last year. It conducted a six-month trial of its new menu seeking feedback from guests and in January implemented it in all stores.
It will roll out more new menu items such as panini breads in coming weeks.
The company has now refurbished 13 restaurants in New Zealand and expects to complete a further 50 - about 20 per cent of stores - by the end of the year.
Subway, which operates in over 100 countries including in Australia, the United States, Canada and Britain, combined has more than 40,000 stores.
Subway has been battling a shrinking business for years and has been forced to close hundreds of stores overseas as a result of plunging sales. Its struggles are tied to overexpansion, which ultimately led to the closure of 500 stores in the US this time last year.
In 2017, Subway's store count fell by more than 900 locations - it lost almost three times as many locations as it did the previous year, Business Insider Australia reports.
Subway would not provide any figures or financial information about the performance of its business in New Zealand.
The company opened its first New Zealand store in 1995 and says it serves 14.5 million Kiwis each year.
Churchmichael said he was happy with "the performance" of the brand in New Zealand and it would continue to grow its store count in this country.
"We're in a good place in New Zealand," he said.
"Growth is a product of being innovative and guest led so we will continue to grow the business in New Zealand. Guests are loving what they are seeing and as a consequence of that I'm confident we'll continue to grow in New Zealand."