LBN Examiner 04/04/2021


Nearly half of Americans changed their sports viewing habits as progressive political messaging took over sporting events, according to a new poll. The YouGov/Yahoo News poll released Monday showed that about three times as many Americans who started watching more sports in the midst of social justice messages actually watched less, Yahoo Sports reported. About 11 percent of poll respondents said they watch more sports on TV because leagues and athletes are embracing political advocacy. However, more than one-third (34.5 percent) said they were watching less.

The majority of poll respondents, 56.3 percent, said their sports viewing was not altered by political or social messaging. When broken into political parties, 13.7 percent of Democrats said they watched more sports and 53 percent of Republicans said they watched less. About 8.7 percent of independent voters said they watched more sports following the change to social justice messaging and 38.6 percent watched less.


An upscale Detroit restaurant’s Facebook post reminding guests to dress up and not smell like marijuana generated mixed reactions. The post laid out the dress code for Caucus Club Detroit — business casual at a minimum, and said, “If you smell like marijuana don’t even think of stepping inside.” George Sboukis said people’s dress and behavior are more relaxed because of the pandemic. “It was a reminder with a little bit of sauce just to get people’s attention. I don’t mean any harm by it,” Sboukis said. He said the restaurant is a fine dining establishment where people dress up.

“We’ve had people celebrating their 50th (anniversary) last week, the week before that. They’re getting dressed up, they’re putting on an evening gown, their earrings, their best suit. They’re coming out to celebrate and they expect to be surrounded by like-minded guests,” Sboukis said. He added that he’s gotten complaints from other diners about guests who reek like pot. “It’s so pungent, some of the guests have commented, ‘It smells like you’re seated next to a dead skunk,’” he said. Some people said they should be able to dress comfortably if they are spending their money at a business, while others said to just dress up. One person called the post racist. Sboukis disagreed.

“I have to tell you I’m really offended by that both personally and as a citizen. For starters to try and insinuate that any group of people is incapable of following a code, is in itself a racist statement,” he said. “If you scroll through the social media, you’ll also notice a big hole in my family — my adopted son died two years ago this May. He was 21. He’d be 23 now, and he died in a car accident. He was African and Greek descent, and he was, that’s my family.” Sboukis said the post was about getting back to the way things were before COVID-19. “We want to get back to feeling good about ourselves and a big part of that is getting dressed up and going out,” he said.


After 85 years of cheap hospital bills, moderate stock earnings and maturing “Christmas funds” (whatever that means), Hasbro now plans to bring Monopoly into the increasingly “woke” 21st century.  The game-maker has decided to update its 16 Community Chest cards, which featured outdated prompts such as winning a “beauty contest,” actually receiving a “tax refund” or the now-rarely seen “bank error in your favor.” In their place are more contemporary cards that evoke community service and social awareness. Swaps could include a reward for “shopping local all week,” rescuing a shelter pet or helping tend the community garden. But Hasbro wants players to decide which to include via voting.  “Since Monopoly became a household name more than 85 years ago, the world has changed and embraced a new sense of community — particularly after the unprecedented year of 2020,” said Anne Leonhardi, a marketing director at Hasbro.

“With community being more important than ever before, this year is the perfect time to give fans across the country the chance to show what community means to them through voting on the new set of Community Chest cards,” Leonhardi said in a statement. Other scenarios include rewards for visiting with an elderly neighbor, patronizing the school bake sale or donating blood. One may even be praised for being a good friend: Video chat them on a “tough day” and you could call on that friend later to “get out of jail free” — because, yes, Monopoly knows how that game is played.


Mexican officials condemned the weekend killing of a would-be candidate for mayor in a small town in the southern state of Oaxaca. Ivonne Gallegos Carreño was planning to run for mayor in the small town of Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca before she was gunned down in her car on Saturday. Analysts said Monday 18 pre-candidates have been killed so far in the run-up to the June mid-term elections. They were killed before they opened formal campaigns. The consultancy firm Etellekt said in a report that killings have come mainly in violence-plagued states like Veracruz, on the Gulf coast, and Guerrero, on the Pacific. But isolated killings have occurred in a half-dozen other states. While motives vary in cases that have been solved, politicians in Mexico face threats from drug cartels, political rivals and corrupt police. Mexico’s National Women’s Institute said in a statement that “violence against women cannot be allowed or tolerated in a democratic system.”


A Minnesota suburban theater canceled its production of “Cinderella,” citing that the cast had too many white actors. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres announced on its website that the production of “Cinderella” was not aligned with its current diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Instead of recasting the production to include more people of color, the theater opted to nix the production entirely.  “After careful consideration and with our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has made the decision to cancel our upcoming production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” the theater said.

“Our hope in beginning the production process again with a new title will allow us to put into practice an intentional process based on the work we have been doing towards equity and inclusivity.”  In the same statement, the theater announced that it will invite and pay for a [black, indigenous, or person of color] to analyze the makeup of the cast and how to make the show adequately “anti-racist.”  “We believe this new process will allow us to tell the story in a rich way and allow us to live out our commitment to identity-conscious casting and becoming a more intentionally anti-racist theater,” the statement reads. 


It turns out you don’t have to live in “the city that never sleeps” to be an American suffering from sleep deprivation. A new study reveals less than one in 10 people (8%) actually feel fully rested after sleeping. A survey of 2,000 respondents finds that, on average, Americans only get five hours of sleep every night. More than six in 10 people (61%) cannot remember the last time they felt truly well-rested. Just over one in five (22%) say they can “never” get enough sleep, while 79 percent are satisfied with their sleep. Americans who say they don’t get enough sleep are likely to be more introverted (29%) and blame stress for keeping them awake at night (68%). They are also more particular about falling asleep only if they’re in the right conditions (64%) and would even give up an hour of morning productivity if it means getting more sleep (32%). Meanwhile, Americans who say they do get enough rest at night are likely to be extroverts (22%) and less likely to allow stress to prevent them from sleeping (55%). They also care less about their surrounding conditions when going to bed (61%) and would rather not give up that hour of productivity (14%).

As far as what keeps them up at night, the majority of Americans (61%) have no problem agreeing that the vicious political and pandemic news cycles have caused them to lose sleep over the past year. Commissioned by LIFEAID and conducted by OnePoll, the study also reveals 69 percent of all Americans wish a lack of sleep was taken more seriously than it currently is by society. On average, 61 percent of Americans struggle to fall asleep three times a week. However, nearly four in 10 people (39%) refuse to take any sleeping aids to help. The top reasons they don’t take any sleeping aids include not trusting them (42%), not wanting to become dependent on sleep meds (40%), and being afraid of negative side-effects (34%). “The past 11 months have given all of us plenty of highly stressful reasons to stay awake at night. Coupled with factors like working from home or even unemployment, homeschooling and the loss of our usual exercise routines, our individual circadian rhythms and the quality of our personal sleep are all over the map,” says LIFEAID Beverage Co. co-founder Orion Melehan in a statement. “Now, there’s Daylight Savings and World Sleep Day, and it’s clear the importance of getting a good night’s sleep is more important than ever before.”

  ***The control of major media by one political party is a dangerous threat to the country, a federal judge warned in a blistering dissent that called for courts to revisit libel laws that generally protect the press from being held liable for their reporting. Amen!


America’s bald eagle population has quadrupled since 2009, thanks to conservation efforts. The birds — which can have a 7.5-foot wingspan and can dive at up to 99 mph — are now 300k+ strong.


The Fed chairman, Jerome Powell:


The LBN Examiner is read in all 50 of the United States and in 26 foreign countries by influencers of all types — from Nobel Prize winners to billionaires from acclaimed journalists to professors at Harvard, Yale and Stanford from US Senators to winners of the Academy Award. 84% of our readers find the Examiner “fearlessly independent” and “unbiased: which is why it is so indispensable to read weekly – especially in the times in which we live.

Now you can invite your friends and family to sign up to receive the LBN Examiner for free (if you’ve got the guts) —–

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on car and airplane sales. Between travel restrictions and reduced domestic mobility, dealerships and major manufacturers in both sectors have seen some of their biggest dips since the Great Recession. But out on America’s waterways, another mode of transport has thrived…

Boats are booming
According to a report by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), sales of boats and related marine gear hit $47B in 2020 — a 9% bump from 2019, and a 13-year high. Per Boating Industry, all types of big-boy water toys saw a bump in 2020:

· Freshwater fishing boats and pontoons: 143k units (+12%)
· Personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Sea Doo): 82k units (+8%)
· Wake boats: 13k units (+20%)

Who’s buying?
Experts say this trend has largely been buoyed by first-time boat buyers, many of them on the younger side — a demographic that hasn’t historically been the industry’s strong suit. As it turns out, boating enthusiasts aren’t as niche of a community as one might expect. Per NMMA:

· 100m Americans report going boating every year, making it one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the US.
· 61% of boaters earn <$75k in household income/year.
Collectively, these boaters make up a $12B/year industry — and ~4.3k boat dealers exist to cater to their needs.

Why boats?
Boats weren’t the only form of recreational transport to spike last year: Bicycles, RVs, and electric scooters all sold like hotcakes. But boats in particular seemed to benefit from a perfect storm of more flexible remote work schedules, travel restrictions, and timing (boating “season” is generally considered to run from April to October, which coincided with 2020 lockdowns). The only people having more fun than the boaters themselves are the people who bought boat-related stocks last March.
MarineMax, the largest boat dealer in the US, has seen its stock jump from ~$8 to $58 per share since March of 2020.


Andrea Maikovich-Fong, a psychologist in Denver, said she sees a lot of patients anxious about a return to “normal.” “There are a lot of people walking around with a false sense of security, who are a lot more comfortable than they were a year ago,” she said.


84% of readers in all 50 of the United States in 26 foreign countries find the LBN Examiner to be “fearlessly independent” and “unbiased”.

Now you can invite your friends and family to sign up to receive the LBN Examiner for free (if you’ve got the guts) —–


It turns out the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” may be more accurate than people think. Psychologists at the University of Miami say the longer negative emotions linger in the human brain, the worse it is for your mental health. Suppose you drop your breakfast on the way to work and it splatters all over your clothes. Later that day, a colleague comes up to say hello, not knowing about your rough morning. Do you grumble a reply, still thinking about your lousy day, or greet them politely? The study finds those holding on to negativity longer in their amygdala may impact their long-term psychological well-being. The amygdala is the almond-shaped structure on both sides of the brain’s cerebrum which evaluates stimuli and supports emotion and memory.

“One way to think about it is the longer your brain holds on to a negative event, or stimuli, the unhappier you report being,” says lead author and Ph.D. candidate Nikki Puccetti in a university release. “Basically, we found that the persistence of a person’s brain in holding on to a negative stimulus is what predicts more negative and less positive daily emotional experiences. That in turn predicts how well they think they’re doing in their life.” “The majority of human neuroscience research looks at how intensely the brain reacts to negative stimuli, not how long the brain holds on to a stimulus,” adds assistant professor of psychology Aaron Heller. “We looked at the spillover—how the emotional coloring of an event spills over to other things that happen. Understanding the biological mechanisms of that is critically important to understanding the differences in brain function, daily emotions, and well-being.”


Dr. Jane Goodall, along with along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.


LBN Examiner Disclaimer: 1.) The LBN Examiner accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. The LBN Examiner is not associated with any commercial or political organization and is transmitted via the web for the sole benefit of its subscribers. 2.) Unfortunately, computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses.

LBN Examiner 3/29/2021


As Americans start to receive the latest round of stimulus checks, a new analysis reveals that about $4.38 billion will also go to illegal immigrants. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 2.65 million illegal immigrants have Social Security numbers that allow them to receive stimulus checks. This group of illegal immigrants can be described as “aliens temporarily present without status,” according to Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies. “These individuals are in the country illegally and could be required to leave. Yet, under the current system, they are still given work authorization and Social Security numbers,” he said. They include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status recipients. In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued 882,000 work authorizations and Social Security numbers to other illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2020, the analysis states. These include asylum applicants, as well as those applying for adjustment of status and suspension of deportation, among other categories.


Once they took out Dumbo and Pepe Le Pew, it was only a matter of time until the language police doubled down. An elite school in Manhattan has advised the school “community” — that means not just the staff but students and parents — to stop saying “mom” and “dad,” or even “parents,” advising them to instead say “grown-ups, folks, or family.” The Grace Church School, which charges $57,000 for students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, put out a 12-page guide addressed to the school community that bans a slew of words, phrases and even ideas.

“The goal of this guide is to provide the community with more inclusive language that is aligned with the mission of Grace Church School,” reads the guide. “While we recognize hateful language that promotes racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination are already addressed in our school handbooks, we also recognize that we can do more than ban hateful language; we can use language to create welcoming and inclusive spaces. This guide addresses ways we can remove harmful assumptions from the way we interact with each other.”

“Families are formed and structured in many ways. At Grace Church School, we use inclusive language that reflects this diversity,” the guide says. “It’s important to refrain from making assumptions about who kids live with, who cares for them, whether they sleep in the same place every night, whether they see their parents, etc.”


HBO host Bill Maher suggested that the United States is “entering an era of re-segregation that’s coming from the left” during a Friday night “Real Time” conversation with Democratic data scientist David Shor. Shor, who worked on former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and is currently head of data science at progressive nonprofit OpenLabs, was making the case that since most Americans do not agree with leftist values, Democrats should instead focus on issues most people “agree with us on” in order to win elections. “We seem to be entering an era of re-segregation that’s coming from the left,” Maher said, responding to a comment by Shor about the “geographic sorting” of liberals trending to urban areas. “I mean, on many college campuses, there are separate dorms, separate black dorms, graduation ceremonies, stuff like that. How will that affect elections in the future?”


When is the best time to have breakfast every morning? According to a new study, you shouldn’t wait too long. That’s because eating breakfast before 8:30 a.m could reduce one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, researchers say. The study by Northwestern University researchers shows that people who have eaten before 8.30 a.m. had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance. The finding won’t be welcome news to those who follow intermittent fasting, a popular dieting strategy that typically requires one to wait until about 10 a.m. to eat. Instead, enjoying your first snack of the day early on may be better for you, regardless of what time you stop eating.

“We found people who started eating earlier in the day had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance, regardless of whether they restricted their food intake to less than ten hours a day or their food intake was spread over more than 13 hours daily,” lead study author Dr Marriam Ali says in a statement. “These findings suggest that timing is more strongly associated with metabolic measures than duration, and support early eating strategies.” Insulin resistance happens when the body does not respond as well to insulin produced by the pancreas, and glucose is less able to enter the cells. People with insulin resistance might be at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Both insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels affect a person’s metabolism, or the breaking down of food to proteins, carbohydrates or sugars, and fats.


Can a slice of bacon a day lead to dementia later in life? Researchers from the University of Leeds say eating just a small amount of processed meat each day significantly increases the risk of mental decline. Their study of nearly 500,000 people in the United Kingdom finds consuming 25 grams daily — about two crispy strips of bacon — raises dementia risk by 44 percent. These products include bacon, sausages, canned meats, and cured items like salami. On the other hand, study authors reveal eating unprocessed red meat may actually lower the chances of developing the disease. Consuming 50 grams of meats like beef, pork, and veal contributed to a 19-percent decrease in dementia risk. The team discovered the connection while examining the link between eating meat overall and dementia onset. The condition affects between five and eight percent of all adults over 60 years-old, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common variety. “Worldwide, the prevalence of dementia is increasing and diet as a modifiable factor could play a role,” lead researcher and PhD student Huifeng Zhang says in a university release. “Our research adds to the growing body of evidence linking processed meat consumption to increased risk of a range of non-transmissible diseases.”


When you’re being investigated by the United Nations for a brutal murder, it’s probably best not to threaten to kill the person doing the investigating. But, according to Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur who was tasked with investigating Jamal Khashoggi’s slaying at the hands of Saudi government agents, that’s exactly what happened to her. Callamard told The Guardian that, in January 2020, a senior Saudi official threatened to have her “taken care of” if she didn’t stop asking difficult questions. She wasn’t at the meeting, but the comment was made in front of other UN officials at an official event in Geneva. Asked how the comment was perceived by her colleagues, Callamard told the newspaper: “A death threat. That was how it was understood.” Callamard’s report, published in June 2019, concluded that there was “credible evidence” that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was behind Khashoggi’s murder, which she deemed to be an “international crime.”


Wolfe Herd, 31, is the youngest woman ever to take a U.S. company public. She is the founder of Bumble.


Laura Scudder created the first modern bag of potato chips in 1953. Previously, they were sold out of wooden barrels or scooped from behind glass counters.


Airline: Virgin.
Airport: Heathrow.
App: Instagram.
Bag: My old Prada fanny pack.
Bedtime: 9:30 P.M., with my bathrobe on.
Bike: Beach cruiser.
Birthday: Spent in the Bahamas with my posse.
Breakfast, weekday: A chocolate-and-kale protein shake.
Breakfast, weekend: Poached eggs, sourdough toast, and a double espresso.
Car: Range Rover.
Children: My three boys.
Cocktail: Vodka or tequila on the rocks, but not at the same time.
Cocktail appetizer: Sliced cucumber and caviar.
Couple: My aunt Alice and uncle Albert.
Date: Somewhere in Paris with my husband.
Diet: Eating intuitively without processed foods.
Dinner, weekday: Fish, vegetables, a grain, and vodka.
Dinner, weekend: Burger, no bun, fries, and a martini with three olives.


  The LBN Examiner is read in all 50 of the United States and in 26 foreign countries by influencers of all types — from Nobel Prize winners to billionaires from acclaimed journalists to professors at Harvard, Yale and Stanford from US Senators to winners of the Academy Award. 84% of our readers find the Examiner “fearlessly independent” and “unbiased: which is why it is so indispensable to read weekly – especially in the times in which we live.

An ultra-Orthodox man wears three masks over his face while celebrating Purim amid coronavirus restrictions in Jerusalem. *THINK FREELY – BE INDEPENDENT – MAKE UP YOUR OWN (DAMN) MIND: READ LBN EXAMINER


Witness here:


  In February, global food prices rose 2.4% for their ninth straight month of increases. While there’s never a good time for food to get more expensive, one year into a crushing pandemic definitely counts as worst-case.  Adjusted for inflation, prices are at their highest point since 2014. Cereals/grains, vegetable oil, and sugar have especially spiked in recent months (see the chart above from GZERO Media, whose geopolitics newsletter is a favorite among Brew writers). Over the short-term, consumers in wealthier countries typically remain insulated from price increases. But if prices stay inflated, that Aldi receipt may start resembling a Whole Foods haul as companies pass down costs by raising prices, shrinking portions, and cutting back on promotions.  General Mills and Conagra, the parent of brands including Chef Boyardee, have floated price hikes for 2021.  The pandemic pushed an additional 13+ million Americans into food insecurity, but the situation is even worse in the world’s poorest countries. In the past, spikes in food prices have contributed to social unrest (think 2011’s Arab Spring).


  Super-star model and brand spokesperson Emily Ratajkowski, along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.


“I hadn’t finished saying no yet!”


LBN Examiner Disclaimer: 1.) The LBN Examiner accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. The LBN Examiner is not associated with any commercial or political organization and is transmitted via the web for the sole benefit of its subscribers. 2.) Unfortunately, computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses.

LBN Examiner Special Report 3/24/2021


In 2008, Subway introduced a tantalizing deal: For just $5, one could purchase any “footlong” (12-inch) sandwich. The promotion was a smash hit with cash-strapped customers during the recession — and its jingle (“five-, five-, five-dollar footlong…”) became the company’s calling card. Within a year, foot traffic skyrocketed across the franchise’s thousands of locations. Revenue from $5 footlongs alone topped $3.8B. It was, according to many industry analysts, one of the most successful promotions in the history of American cuisine. But the deal wasn’t so hot for Subway’s franchisees. Eager to grow at all costs, Subway refused to let the promotion die. As inflation drove up the cost of doing business, the $5 footlong became financially unsustainable for many of the independent entrepreneurs who owned the company’s eateries. This is the story of a promotion gone very right, and then very wrong. But it’s also a parable about the oft-conflicting goals of small business owners and large corporations.

The father of the $5 footlong 
Twenty years earlier, in 1988, an enterprising fellow named Stuart Frankel bought his first Subway franchise in Miami. A tell-it-like-it-is New Yorker, Frankel had migrated to Florida with his wife in the ‘70s. After stints running a drug store and a video outlet, he decided to try his hand at slinging sandwiches.
Stuart Frankel in the early 2000s
At the time, Subway was a relative newcomer to the scene. LA unched in 1965 by 17-year-old Fred DeLuca, Subway settled on a franchising model in 1974, leasing out the right to use its branding to individual shop owners across the US. By 1988, the business had expanded to 2.2k shops and $360m in annual sales. And like many franchisees, Frankel saw an opportunity to claim a stake in the fast-growing chain. Over the next decade, he built several Subway shops in South Florida, including two near a bustling hospital. Business was good, but he felt he needed some kind of differentiator — a gimmick to take things up a notch.

One day in 2003, inspiration struck. “I sat down with my manager and said we’re going to try something different,” he said in a recent interview. “Every Saturday and Sunday, we’re going to sell all our footlongs for $5 each instead of $6.” He slapped up a few crude signs in the window, not expecting much. Within the first 2 weeks, Frankel saw his sales jump from $14k to $23k per week — more than 4x what the average Subway shop brought in. Frankel gradually grew his local empire to 10 Subway shops and implemented his $5 promo at other locations with similar success. Other Subway owners adopted it and saw sales swell by 35% to 50%+. All the while, Frankel kept scrupulous records of the positive impact the deal had on metrics like foot traffic and revenue, which he passed along to corporate. Nobody listened.
But in 2008, the top brass at Subway started to pay attention. After witnessing one shop’s sales double in one day after integrating the $5 footlong promo, a Subway development agent named Steve Sager informed Subway’s execs that it might be worth testing on a national level. Frankel was invited to join the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust (SFAFT) — a board of franchisees who decide what to do with the chain’s ad dollars — and the $5 footlong was brought up for vote. In the meeting, the idea courted serious backlash. “The company was skeptical the $5 footlong could make money,” said Frankel. “To be frank, they thought I was a fucking idiot.” Eventually, the board reluctantly agreed to a pilot test. On March 23, 2008, just a few months before the US economy spiraled into a recession, the $5 footlong made its national debut.

$5 footlong mania
The promotion came along at the right time for Subway. Over the previous decade, Subway’s marketing team had put all its chips on Jared Fogle — a college kid who claimed to have lost 225 pounds by subsisting on a diet of subs. Fogel and his oversized pants had been an inescapable presence in commercials and ads. But the food business was undergoing a seismic shift toward value. “Cheap food was all people were eating during the recession,” Jonathan Maze, the editor-in-chief of Restaurant Business, told us. “You had a large percentage of the population trading down to lower-end restaurants.” McDonald’s had recently seen massive success with its Dollar Menu, and Subway wanted to switch its national advertising focus to affordability.

After initially testing weekends only, Subway rolled out the $5 footlong promo as an everyday price point at locations across the country. “It pushed Subway to the stratosphere,” Maze said. In the 2008-09 fiscal year alone, the $5 footlong promo generated $3.8B in sales — more than the entire annual revenue of franchises like Arby’s and Domino’s Pizza. For most of Subway’s franchisees, the promo was mutually beneficial. Promotions are typically loss leaders — that is, the promotional item itself is sold at a loss in the hopes that ancillary sales will make up for it.

But two things made the $5 footlong financially viable at the time:

1.     Cheaper labor, food costs, and rent in 2008 meant that franchisees could still make a profit on the reduced price.
2.     A huge spike in customer volume during this time offset the thinner margins on the sandwiches. As other restaurants and chains suffered, Subway franchisees saw a 25% average uptick in sales. “All of a sudden, customers who’d pay $3 for a 6-inch were paying $5 for a footlong,” said Frankel. “Traffic went up, sales went up, profits went up.”

While the $5 footlong promotion was only intended to be temporary, Subway execs began to question whether they should ever phase it out. As months of boosted metrics continued, Tony Pace, the company’s ex-marketing head, was insistent on running it “as long as it made economic sense.” “If you had a brand that represented nearly $4B in sales,” he told BusinessWeek in 2009, “would you plan an exit strategy for it?” The promotion stayed put for several years in various forms. But in the background of the $5 footlong’s runaway success, bigger problems were brewing at the sandwich giant.

A footlong of discontent
For years, Subway had doubled down on expanding its footprint, encouraging new franchisees — largely recent immigrants enticed by the chain’s relatively low franchise startup cost — to open some 5k new stores. Touting an “anywhere and everywhere” approach, Subway soon overtook McDonald’s as America’s largest restaurant chain. Subway restaurants popped up at gas stations, truck stops, and even churches. And Subway’s development agents — the folks tasked with this expansion — often opened up new stores too close to each other, cannibalizing franchisee’s profits. “If you’ve ever noticed 2 Subways seemingly next door to each other, the reason is because Subway is happy to get 2x the exposure until one goes out of business,” said Kenny Rose, the CEO of the franchise investing firm FranShares. To understand why this is the case, it’s important to take a quick step back here and explain Subway’s business model.

For franchisees, Subway is appealing in that it boasts the lowest relative entry cost of any major franchise: The average total investment to launch one only runs $140k to $342k, compared to $1.3m to $2.2m for a McDonald’s. In return, Subway makes money from taking an industry-leading 12.5% cut of its franchisees’ weekly gross sales. Expanding the number of stores at all costs drove up overall gross sales in the short term, but it proved to be detrimental to independent operators. Coupled with the rising costs of rent, labor, and food, the increased local competition made the $5 footlong untenable for many franchisees. Around 2012, Subway quietly phased out the promotion, and footlong subs returned to a $6 price point.

But the saga didn’t end there
For nearly 5 years, Subway abandoned the $5 footlong campaign. And in the interim, a series of unrelated issues hampered business:

· In 2013, an Australian teenager launched an international uproar when he measured a footlong sandwich at just 11 inches; a class-action false advertising lawsuit ensued, resulting in an eventual $525k settlement and weeks of bad press.

· In 2015, Jared Fogle — the company’s long-time spokesman, was sentenced to 15.5 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

· In 2016, the company posted a net decline in locations for the first time in its 40+-year franchising history.

Subway’s overzealous expansion strategy — and increased competition from Jimmy John’s and Jersey Mike’s — led to massive store closures, falling profits, and a 25% decline in foot traffic. So, the company resurrected its famous promotion. In 2017, the $5 footlong made an unexpected comeback in the form of a $4.99 deal.  This decision was met with uproar from franchise owners, who claimed the promo made it impossible to make a profit. The unit economics proved their case: Even the cheapest option, the turkey sub, barely broke even.

In the face of opposition, Subway discontinued the offer in 2018. But less than 2 years later, it was back on tap again. In January of 2020, Subway hired former Burger King CEO John Chidsey, who’d previously led efforts on a $1 double cheeseburger promotion at Burger King. During a time when many franchisees saw a 40-80% decrease in sales due to COVID-19, the promo was reinvented again — this time, as a $10 deal for 2 footlongs. Though Subway didn’t force its franchisees to participate, many felt pressured to do so, since the chain’s contract stipulates that an agreement can be terminated for nearly any reason. “There was — and still is — a lot of retaliation for not stepping in line,” one long-time Subway owner, who asked to remain anonymous, saud. “You’re allowed to do what you want, but there are consequences if they think you’re hurting the brand.” Nonetheless, some franchisees revolted, filing a complaint with the FTC that they were being “bullied into honoring a promotion that is unprofitable.”

Just 2 weeks into the planned 11-week promotion, the $5 footlong was laid to rest for a third time. For Subway, it was the cap to a terrible year: In 2020, the ailing franchise closed an estimated 10% of its 22k units, drawing questions about the long-term future of its operations. Since 2012, Subway owners have seen their average annual sales dip from $482k to $417k per store — a significant decline in what is already a slim-margin business.

Will the $5 footlong return again?
Hustle’s requests to comment on this story. But Maze, of Restaurant Business, seems to be bullish on the prospect. “That thing is never going to die,” he said. “It’s going to come back in some different form, at some point in time.” Frankel has a different take. “There’s no way in hell they bring it back,” he said. “It’s done.” The father of the $5 footlong, now 70, says the only recognition he ever got from the sandwich chain for his $3.8B innovation was a plaque from corporate thanking him for his service. He’s since sold all but one of his Subway shops — and he’s long since abandoned the idea that made him famous in franchisee circles. “I haven’t accepted a $5 footlong coupon in 6 years,” he said. “We have a sign in the window telling people we don’t do it anymore.”


For only $300 per press release – you’ll have five (5) feature-rich press releases we will write and distribute through our award-winning P.R. Prime service

Your story will reach – *Radio, *Television, *Newspaper, *Magazine and *Internet with the use of our world-class Google Analytics search tool.

And best of all – they come with a complete, 100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE.

If for any reason you are not stratified, you will receive a prompt, no questions asked refund! 

Interested? Visit:
You can use them anytime during the next 12 months.

LBN Examiner Disclaimer: 1.) The LBN Examiner accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. The LBN Examiner is not associated with any commercial or political organization and is transmitted via the web for the sole benefit of its subscribers. 2.) Unfortunately, computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses.