HANGING SUBMARINE RAISES HARVEST FOODS SANDWICH SALES

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Harvest Foods here has taken unused space overhead and created an opportunity to merchandise its giant submarine sandwiches.The retailer has hung a plastic replica of its 5-foot sub from the ceiling over the service deli by lengths of brass chain."Hanging up there, it doesn't take up needed space on the deli counter, and yet it sure gets customers' attention," said Kathy McDade,

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Harvest Foods here has taken unused space overhead and created an opportunity to merchandise its giant submarine sandwiches.

The retailer has hung a plastic replica of its 5-foot sub from the ceiling over the service deli by lengths of brass chain.

"Hanging up there, it doesn't take up needed space on the deli counter, and yet it sure gets customers' attention," said Kathy McDade, Harvest's deli merchandising director. Large, diamond-shaped danglers hanging beside the fake subs give customers this information: "5-foot hero sandwich for your parties, $29.95."

Since the 54-unit chain launched the plastic sub sandwiches in 15 stores earlier this fall, sales of its real 5-foot subs rose 10% companywide and nearly quadrupled in those units.

"Those stores that had been selling maybe six a week are now selling 20," said McDade. Encouraged by such success, the company has ordered replica subs for 15 more stores and eventually plans to have one in each of its 48 full-service delis.

"We hung the first 15 up at the beginning of football season to take advantage of tailgate parties," she said, adding that one store got an order for 12 5-foot subs one morning for a party that afternoon and was able to fill the order thanks to thaw-and-sell submarine loaves.

Last year the company found a supplier of 5-foot loaves of fully baked, frozen and boxed bread. "We'd had big subs for years, but we didn't sell many and didn't make that much on them because they were very labor intensive," said McDade.

"We used to bake the loaves in-store from French bread dough and we needed a day's notice," she added. Now, associates can make up 5-footers relatively quickly," McDade said.