Subway expects its move into delivery with Just Eat will open up new peak dayparts away from its traditional walk-in busy periods, MCA has learnt.

Subway UK marketing director Sacha Clark told MCA she anticipates mid-afternoon and evenings, non-traditional peak times for walk-in customers, to become peak times for delivery, which is more impulse and necessity driven.

She was speaking after Subway UK announced a trial with Just Eat to launch delivery at initial 31 stores, before extending it to 500 by the end of the year.

Clark said Just Eat was chosen as the delivery provider because it had the scale and capabilities to meet Subway’s 2,500-store footprint.

After trialling minimum order values, she said the trial stores are currently charging customers a £2.50 delivery charge.

Individual franchise operators had been offering delivery on ad-hoc basis, through Just Eat and other providers, but the launch of the trial in June was the first time it has been centrally managed by Subway.

Clark said: “We always intended to get into delivery, but needed to find a partner that matched our footprint of 2,5000. The service requirement is quite big, so we need partner with the right facilities, or who could grow with us, so we knew fulfilment would be robust from customer point of view.

“Delivery is an expectation from a customer point of view. They are demanding convenience – to them when they want it. It’s incredibly important we get it right which is why we’re doing a phased approach.

“Just Eat have scale and capacity of growing with us, so when we grow to more stores, the service is spot on.

“Delivery is a natural extension of what we do, I wouldn’t describe it as innovation. It’s another mechanism to ensure purchasing for customers is seamless, and fits their busy lives.”

On the initial findings from the trial, Clark said: “It’s quite early days, but franchise feedback has been very positive.

“You can get immediate feedback from customers on the app and web, so you can make adjustments in real time. The amount of insight and data has been unprecedented from a marketing and commercial communications point of view.

“We hope to soon have a more granular overview, and start to have conversation around adding additional stores.”

On expectation of delivery for Subway, Clark said: “I’m expecting a broadening of dayparts and occasions. From consumer point of view, it’s on demand, and extends traditional dayparts outside of set lunch.

“I would expect peak times to be what we would consider non-traditional, outside 12-2. Evenings, late afternoons. Delivery is very much on impulse, out of necessity, and those occasions tend to be outside usual occasions.

She said there were conversations being had around extending and enhancing delivery menu, giving customers some additional incremental benefits, with possible bundled offers.