Wawa Kicks Off Hoagiefest with a Menu Twist

Industry leader taps associates for limited-time hoagies

By 
Aimee Harvey, Managing Editor, Technomic

wawa meatball sub

WAWA, Pa. -- Wawa convenience stores are back with its popular, limited-time Hoagiefest promotion, and it’s using store associates to generate buzz around the menu. Offering its hallmark hoagies at a reduced price of $4.99, Wawa is getting the word out via social media and the Wawa app, which customers can download to access Hoagiefest-themed games, specials and rewards.

In addition to its usual hoagie varieties, Wawa is pushing nine unique sandwich builds crafted by its own employees. Dubbed “Associate Recipes,” these specialty offerings include Spicy Chicken & Pepperoni, Raging Roast Beef and One Spicy Meatball. Nearly all of the Associate Recipes hoagies feature either chicken or beef, along with signature toppings, such as Wawa’s creamy chipotle and cheddar-cheese sauces.

And then there are colossal options such as the Wacky Wildwood, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink construction that layers beef, breaded chicken strips, pepper jack cheese, cheddar-cheese sauce, lettuce, roasted peppers, jalapeños, pickles, hot peppers, sweet peppers, Old Bay seasoning, creamy chipotle sauce and ranch dressing, all on a white roll.

Numerous menu trends are at play with this "wacky" sandwich angle. First, the odd-yet-complementary flavor synergy of hot and sweet peppers, multiple cheeses, seasoning blends and contrasting condiments is a draw for a younger customer base that craves taste experimentation. At the same time, the robust pile-on of different proteins adds to the value equation for certain consumers who simply want to get more food for their money.

But perhaps most importantly, Wawa’s tie-ins with Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook help position Hoagiefest into a competitive space that elevates it beyond just a conventional, low-priced menu deal. Its mobile-app HoagieQuest game, online sweepstakes and special offers work together to create excitement around the promotion. The engagement level between the brand and the customer is strengthened through its broad use of social media, as Wawa employs several platforms to promote Hoagiefest as cool, quirky and a summertime favorite.  

And in a roundabout way, Wawa is also tapping into the entertainment value of secret menus and employee menu hacks, giving associates the opportunity to create novelty preparations that push menu boundaries. By marketing employee-created sandwiches, Wawa is personalizing Hoagiefest, illustrating that even its workers enjoy getting in on the fun of flavor customization.

Click here for a look at some of the recipes.

Aimee Harvey By Aimee Harvey, Managing Editor, Technomic
View More Articles By Aimee Harvey