ORLANDO, Fla. – In 2017, Florida Native Bryan Dickey started a Twitter account named “Are Publix Chicken Tender Subs on Sale?” (@PubSubs_on_sale)
“That first Tweet was just ‘yes.’ The idea behind it was, I knew there was popular demand for people wanting to know when the chicken tender subs were on sale, so I created an account to let them know,” Dickey said.
Five years later, the account has grown to over 44,000 followers.
“This is blowing my mind, I never thought we’d have this many followers,” Dickey said. “It’s for the people. I grew up in Florida and I feel like the chicken tender sub is a staple of the community.”
So what is the Publix Chicken Tender Sub? Publix’s crispy fried chicken strips cut into pieces and put on a loaf of freshly baked Publix bread with your choice of cheese and toppings. Seems simple, right? So what’s up with all the hype that has people standing in lines to get that Pub Sub? That’s up for debate depending on who you ask. (If you’re a fan, let us know why you love Publix Subs in the comments below.)
“I grew up on Publix subs. In my opinion, the Publix chicken tender sub should be the official food of Florida,” said Dickey.
Publix seems to be a Florida staple for many. Some getting Publix tattoos, while others throwing Publix-themed parties.
Dickey continues to post each week if the Chicken Tender Sub is on sale. If the answer is ‘no,’ he posts which sub is on sale that week, sometimes getting the information before it’s available to the public.
“I can’t reveal how I get that information. Sometimes it’s internal sources that work at Publix. Sometimes it’s digging through weekly ads, but there are some tricks on getting the weekly sale before most people. You’ll have to follow my Twitter account to easily stay up to date,” Dickey said.
As the Twitter following grew, Dickey said he found opportunities to make money.
“I made my own custom merchandise about a year and a half ago. I’m pretty in tune with the Publix audience and made stickers and hats and shirts and Publix got wind of it and shut it down pretty quickly,” Dickey said.
In August 2020, he received a cease and desist letter for unauthorized Publix-branded merchandise from an attorney representing the grocery store chain. Months later, Dickey came up with a new idea to potentially profit from his Twitter account.
“I was going to offer a VIP text message club to where followers can pay 99 cents a month to have first access to the sales. Publix got wind of that and shut that down as well,” said Dickey. “It’s a little discouraging. Last year, when I got shut down for the second time, I really felt, like, threatened. This could cost me a lot of money and a lot of legal trouble just for doing something that’s positively impacting Publix and fans of the chicken tender sub.”
Dickey received a second cease and desist letter from Publix’s attorney in February 2021. Dickey said he only made a few thousand dollars and with lawyer fees, ended up losing money. He then took a step back from the Twitter account altogether, going social media silent in March.
“I thought about it for a few weeks and said, ‘I just need to get back to the mission of why I started this in the first place. It makes people happy.’ People affirm that love on social media. They tell us all the time they love sharing it with their friends and it brightens their day. I read back through messages, and it inspired me to keep it going, whether I can make money with it or not,” said Dickey.
He’s back at it and said he has no plans to monetize the social media accounts. Although he was born and raised in Florida, Dickey doesn’t even live in the Sunshine State anymore.
“I live in Nashville now. There’s a Publix here, but it’s not nearly as popular,” said Dickey.
He said he will continue to pass along the all-important Pub Sub sale information. Even helping followers with sub-related questions they submit, like ‘how to fly with a Pub Sub without it getting soggy’ and ‘best ways to reheat the chicken tender sub.’ A popular sub Dickey said, brings a diverse community together.
“When people are in line to get that chicken tender sub on sale, people are just excited and it doesn’t matter what your political background is or what your interests are, we’re all here for the same reason to get that chicken tender sub we love,” said Dickey.
If you didn’t know, Publix has new sales on subs in Florida starting Thursday and the sales run through Wednesday. Right now, the Boar’s Head Turkey Subs are on sale for $6.99 and will run through Wednesday, January 26, 2022.
We asked Dickey if he’s discussed any plans for a partnership with Publix and he said the grocery store chain has never reached out to him about those opportunities, but he is open to the idea. He said he is working on a charitable initiative that may involve raising money and donating Publix Subs to charities that help feed the hungry.
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