Subway Sandwiches Not Measuring Up

Can I get an 11-inch turkey sub?  Not quite the same ring as the famously fresh Subway Footlong.

For 45 years, Subway has promised fresh food as a healthy alternative to high calorie meals served at alternative fast-food restaurants.  Offering two sizes, the six-inch and the famous footlong, Subway has ranked as one of the top fast-food restaurants year after year.  The Nations Restaurant News released their “Top 20” list of chains that earned the most profits through 2010, and Subway ranked at Number 2 with $10.6 billion in profits.  With trends in the United States shifting to healthier lifestyles, it is no wonder that Subway has flourished, especially in the last decade.

Just a few weeks ago however, Subway’s Footlong sandwich came under fire and had people pulling out their rulers on their beloved sandwiches.  An Australian posted a photo on social media of his sandwich with a tape measure showing that the sandwich was just 11 inches long.  Plenty of backlash erupted.  Several people have even come forward suing this restaurant chain due to their deceptive advertising.  Subway has responded to the photo and the lawsuits saying more effort will be taken by the stores to ensure that sandwiches measure up.

For years, the Footlong sandwich served at Subway has been on of the most popular items on the menu.  It became even more cherished in 2008 when Subway released the “$5 Footlong” campaign.  Depending on the day of the week and the flavor, a footlong could be purchased for $5.  This generated huge revenues for Subway and orders for the larger of the two sub sizes.

The question is then, is an inch really a loss when it comes to the size of a sandwich.  When Subway has promised in the name of their sandwich that it will be a certain size, it just may.  Many other sandwich shops stick to the small, medium and large scale, but Subway offered actual inches to stand apart from the other restaurants.  Time will tell whether anything comes of the lawsuits.  Beside assurances, time is probably the best indicator to encourage people to put their rulers away.

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5 Responses to Subway Sandwiches Not Measuring Up

  1. Rachael McBride says:

    In the grand scheme of things, losing an inch of a sandwich (when the consumer already has another 11 inches to eat) is not the end of the world. However, when an international corporation like Subway makes a promise to its customers — backed by a widespread advertising campaign — it must deliver on that promise in order to maintain its credibility. After all, who doesn’t think of the catchy “5 dollar footlong” jingle when looking at the menu? For such a successful marketing strategy, the company must be able to provide the full 12 inches it guarantees.

  2. Kayla Pologa says:

    I love this topic, Clare! Not only because it is no doubt a big “crisis” if you will for the company, but the fact that the claims are so nonsensical. Who honestly has time in their lives to measure if their sandwiches are truly 12 inches or not?

    That said, I actually heard about this first on the ever-popular (at least in my mind) morning radio show, Johnjay and Rich. By no means are they NPR or a “reliable” news organization, but I think they brought up something with which Subway’s PR team could angle their retort. Most people who are going to Subway are either trying to choose the healthiest option of fast-food out there, or they’re trying to lose weight.

    So arguably, the loss of the inch of bread could offer their customers an advantage to their weight loss. Less eating means more pounds lost, right?

    I also found an interesting article on Forbes which cited this fact from a report in The New York Post: Leslie’s (one of those suing Subway) attorneys estimate that 25 percent of Subway’s revenues come from selling footlong subs, totaling $2.85 billion a year. Do the math; those 1/2 to 1-inches of dough consumers aren’t getting totals $142.5 million of illicit earnings. So really, it is in Subway’s best interest to ensure that from this point forth, their sandwiches are the advertised length.

    With that, I see this issue as an opportunity for the company. Sure, they may have some schmoozing to do for the customers with whom they have lost face, but in the end, I believe that they will regain their popularity and trust firmly restoring the franchise to its pre-scandal glory.

  3. Danielle Chavez says:

    From an advertising standpoint, Subway should have been more careful than to market a product that may not always measure up. However, I still think the overall concept of the $5 footlong is a great marketing tool. Honestly, does one inch of sandwich really matter that much?

  4. Montserrat Camacho De Anda says:

    This is so funny! My brother works at a Subway and one day he came home and he told me that this was happening, which is something that I was not aware of at the time and I immediately started laughing. I thought it was kind of ridiculous that someone had actually measured a sub with a ruler and informed the world about it. I think that deceptive advertising is bad, but suing a company for an inch of a sub, really? I’m pretty sure, Subway shops across the globe do not spend their time measuring their buns when they come out of the oven and they probably never thought someone would do it either. I mean if they all pretty much look the same, I really doubt they will be going around the sandwich shop with a ruler.
    On the other hand, I think Subway’s approach to this issue was good, saying that they will pay more attention to the size of their bread is definitely what needs to be done. Hopefully, they come up with a smart way to measure their bread.

  5. Chad Koch says:

    The people who are suing are doing so because of an inch of bread? Sounds like America to me. One of the most obese nations in the world would have people who are angry about not getting more food. These people need to think about the bright side when getting a sandwich that is only 11 inches, less calories!

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