Subway expands digital team by acquiring Vancouver-based online ordering platform

Perhaps best known for its $5 footlong sandwiches, restaurant chain Subway is delving into new business territory with the acquisition of a division of Vancouver-based online order-taking platform Avanti Commerce.

The 20-person team, formerly known as Cardent Software, will join the Subway Digital Group first announced on June 9. The stated mission of the division, Subway CIO Carman Wenkoff explained to, is to deliver personalized digital service to its customers.

The Cardent team, which has worked with Subway to customize Avanti’s ecommerce platform since 2011, should be able to help with that. According to Subway, it will now be dedicated to helping Subway expand its e-commerce and omni-channel platforms. No terms of the deal were disclosed in terms of the price of the acquisition. The remaining portion of Avanti that was not acquired by Subway will continue to operate and sell its ecommerce platform globally.

Subway is making this move “to strengthen our core capabilities around a strategic platform, which allows customers to make remote orders and engage with the brand outside of our restaurants,” Wenkoff told in a phone interview. “The ultimate strategy is to leverage the e-commerce platform as an omni-channel platform, so no matter what door you come through, you have the same customer experience.”

The Cardent team will remain located in Vancouver, according to a press release. The rest of Subway’s Digital team is based in Milford, Conn. The restaurant chain also plans to add five new positions to the Vancouver office, part of plans to hire between 50-150 total positions to the Digital division over the next few years. Wenkoff says hiring for those positions will begin immediately. The Vancouver and Milford teams will stay connected using tools like Skype for Business and Yammer, he says, alongside regular in-person visits.

The first project the teams will work on together is an in-restaurant kiosk program. Subway Digital and Accenture were invited to Avanti’s Vancouver office earlier this year, according to a blog post on Avanti’s website. The visit included working on a “deep-dive technical diligence.” Subway has been using Avanti’s platform for online ordering via the web and mobile apps, and was exploring the capabilities of in-store and drive-through kiosks during the visit.

Subway will use the team to customize its own software, not offer software services to other restaurants, Wenkoff says. “At the end of the day, we’re still a sandwich shop.”

Avanti was founded in 2012 and advertises that it can service restaurants located anywhere in the world with its e-commerce platform. Aside from Subway, Taco Del Mar is another restaurant chain using its service.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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