Last year, the pizza industry braced for a battle with the sandwich chains. Subway and Dunkin Donuts were just two of the sandwich sellers who announced plans to add pizza to their menus.

At least one pizza chain is taking the fight to Jared and his gang this year. Domino’s is going toe to toe with Subway with its introduction of Oven Baked Sandwiches.

By adding sandwiches to its menu, Domino’s saw an opportunity to build traffic when pizza sales have traditionally been slack, especially at lunchtime. The company rolled out the sandwiches in all of its 4,000 U.S. stores last September.

“The strategy with oven-baked sandwiches was multi-faceted,” Brandon said during the company’s year-end 2008 conference call with investors.

“First and importantly, we wanted to ensure that we got all of our stores open for lunch to open up in the daypart,” he said. “We’ve successfully achieved that, and obviously, sandwiches have put us in the lunch business in a material way and that’s been great. The second thing that we wanted to accomplish with sandwiches was to create something that could provide us the ability to attract new customers and generate traffic activity in our stores.”
Domino’s isn’t pulling any punches in promoting its new line. Last September, the company gave free Oven Baked Sandwiches to 1,000 people named Jared, a direct jab at the well-known Subway spokesman. More recently, Domino’s CEO David Brandon participated in a commercial where he used a pizza oven to burn a cease-and-desist letter the company had received from Subway regarding ads that claimed customers chose Domino’s sandwiches 2-to-1 over Subway.
“Everything’s better when it’s oven baked,” Brandon says while placing the letter in the oven.