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Shane Bracken, Subway Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. /Subway

Subway ANZ chief marks first year with big, bold moves

He led the brand through some strategic partnerships that has never been done before.

A series of big, bold moves outlines Subway Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Shane Bracken’s first year at the helm, having joined the company at the pivotal moment of its brand transformation journey which saw Subway reinvigorate its Eat Fresh slogan to mean more than fresh ingredients.

In a quick interview with QSR Media, Shane shared that his passion was always in the quick-service restaurant industry. He was fascinated and driven by food and innovation, which fueled and guided most of the direction of his 25-year career.

“After joining the Subway team in 2022, a big focus of mine was driving brand growth and franchisee profitability. Suitably, this was a large component of my former senior leadership positions at Kerry Taste & Nutrition and Detmold Packaging, two of Asia Pacific’s and ANZ’s major QSR and Packaging companies and has fuelled my strategic direction at the helm of Subway,” Shane explained.

His first year saw him lead the business through several monumental milestones such as securing Subway ANZ’s largest partnership deal with Football Australia that spawned memorable campaigns such as the SubDog, an April Fool’s Day prank that was turned into an actual menu and the launch of Subway’s BIGGER-ER campaign, an advertisement that saw the brand partner with comedic duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee that poked fun against famous burger brands, something Shane said that Subway has never done before.

Subway ad proving that their 'footlongs are really that big'. /Subway

“These fundamental changes have allowed us to act like a big brand. We’ve been able to be part of important conversations, have a presence in key cultural moments and make bold moves.  We’re becoming relevant again, some are saying iconic, and to do this we’ve had to listen to what our guests want and need.  As a result, these changes have brought about consistent growth from incremental sales and delivered stronger franchisee profitability than ever before.  I’m proud to say we’ve never been in a stronger position for Subway as a brand,” Shane said. 

Leveraging trends

“To remain at the forefront of the latest developments and trends, we must be fluid. We can’t be stagnant,” Shane said.

Subway’s BIGGER-ER campaign wasn’t just something the brand came up with to go viral but it was also to emphasise the value of Subway’s menu by showcasing its size against its burger competitors.

Subway BIGGER-ER ad on the streets. /Subway

“Looking to technology, as a brand, our digital transformation will be a continuous one to ensure we are wherever our guests are. We’ve seen huge success from platforms such as third-party delivery, the Subcard loyalty program, and the Subway app allowing more convenient ways of ordering,” Shane said.

The restaurant of the future

When asked what will primarily be the main challenge for QSRs, Shane said it is losing sight of that very concept.

“The challenge here for businesses will be keeping up with guest expectations; to be quicker whilst maintaining reliability and quality, to offer a consistent guest experience across the growing number of brand touchpoints and finally, creating restaurant experiences that meet the changing behaviours and needs of customers,” Shane explained.

Currently, Subway is thinking about the restaurant of the future. “In such a fast-paced environment, we need to constantly evolve our in-restaurant experience to keep up with consumer needs, technology and trends. As such, we’re looking at how our restaurant architecture, materials and systems may need to change to become more sustainable, environmentally friendly and efficient. For Subway, we are investing in technology and digital platforms, refreshing our restaurants and exploring alternate ways to make ordering Subway, more convenient and better value for our guests.” 

Looking forward, Shane said they plan on doubling down on purposeful campaigns and partnerships whilst honing in on digitisation, community engagement, and sustainability.

“As for our internal goals, we want to become an employer of choice. Culture is so important to us and something that is carried out by everyone from our Sandwich Artists right through to our franchisees, field teams and head office staff,” Shane said.

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