We managed to speak to Samad Shariff, the country director of Subway to find out more about its latest offering and himself.
Samad Shariff shared that Subway offers convenient flavourful options that are healthy, affordable and made fresh to order, with an ever-evolving menu that doesn’t only feature sandwiches, but also includes some tasty sides and add ons such as our delicious freshly smashed avocados and tasty mushrooms (if you didn’t know it already) – in addition to all of our Sub options being available as wraps or salads.
With the launch of its latest offering, the spicy buffalo chicken sandwich, we were left wondering about how new flavours are introduced by its chain of restaurants; and who better to inform us on Subway than Samad Shariff. In the process, we also find out about the country director himself, and what made him work with the international chain.
What drew you to work for Subway?
Well, Subway is a globally recognised brand, and it’s an honour to be entrusted to oversee a business of this magnitude on a very large scale. As an individual, one of the things I enjoy most is bringing people together and helping them see how their individual responsibilities can make an impact on the bigger picture. Subway has enabled me to exercise this passion of mine and spearhead the teams across Southeast Asia and lead them cohesively to make an impact and drive Subway’s growth in the region.
It’s been a very rewarding journey to experience the brand’s growth in Southeast Asia. Despite pandemic mandated lockdowns, we’ve still managed to grow and open more restaurants and have helped our franchisees become more profitable. We’ve also continued building relationships with our partners and developed new flavours to keep enhancing the guest experience.
Tell us more about the Spicy Buffalo Chicken offering.
Besides the fact that it’s an overall well-rounded and tasty flavour, with juicy chicken tenders smothered in a delicious buffalo sauce, it also represents a great opportunity to take something diners here loved, and make it better. When we first introduced the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sub in 2018, we were told that it was tasty, but not spicy enough!
After months of research, tastings and recipe tweaking, we were excited to reintroduce the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sub with a new and improved recipe that is spicier than ever. Packed with flavour, the new Spicy Buffalo Sauce is the perfect balance of tang and spice for an irresistibly indulgent treat. It’s best paired with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cucumber, offering a healthier and fresher alternative to the classic dish.
Talk us through the process of coming up with new Subway options.
In markets like Malaysia, localisation is key to winning locals’ hearts. With a culture that is heavily driven by communal meals and traditional flavours, there is so much inspiration to be drawn from the delicious everyday meals, festive dishes and seasonal celebrations. If we want to remain successful in positioning Subway as a bold and innovative brand that helps Malaysians ‘Taste Good, Feel Good’ with fresh spins on classic American subs, we must continue to innovate on local favourites.
For example, we also introduced a Rendang Sub in response to the market’s growing demand for locally-curated flavours. From internal tastings and restaurant taste tests, the Rendang Sub underwent in-depth and intensive research to successfully and satisfyingly deliver the familiar Rendang flavour to guests.
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In addition to our focus on localisation, we also have the more adaptive approach, where we take internationally popular flavours and adapt them to the local palate, i.e the Spicy Buffalo Sub.
What else can fans of Subway look forward to?
Well we’re constantly innovating to offer new and improved ingredients and flavourful menu items that complement our traditional favourites. And Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines, making it a very exciting market; there’s a lot of room to experiment with local flavours to create new delicious and exciting Subs. Whether it’s the bread (like the new garlic bread option) we’ve been baking fresh daily for more than three decades or new flavours added to our fan-favorite sub combinations, Subway’s evolving menu options will definitely excite new and returning guests.
(Hero image: Subway Malaysia; Featured image: Yew Kwang/CEO Magazine)