Has Subway Been Shorting Their Customers for a Long Time?

Subway is in a controversy with their foot-long sub not quite being a foot long in length. Some of these sandwiches have been measured at slightly less than 11 inches and some a good half inch less than 12. Regardless of the length, if they don’t measure at least 12 inches long, they are technically not a foot long.

Is this a big deal? Do regular Subway customers really care that some or most of their foot-long sandwiches don’t measure up as advertised? Will Subway take a PR hit for this? If so, will it have a lasting effect on the bottom line?



Obviously, the foot-long sub name has been branded for more than several years. When someone orders that sandwich length at Subway, are their conscious or less subtle expectations consumers have? Mind you, most customers won’t take their 12 inch sandwich home and measure it but with this latest controversy, more of their customers may begin to wonder if they are receiving something a little less than advertised.

Subway must have know that this issue would eventually come to light – especially in the social media world. Apparently an Australian customer posted a photo on Subway’s Facebook page of the foot-long sub measured at 11 inches. Could Subway have been more proactive with this issue? In other words, regularly sampling various stores to ensure their sandwiches measure up figuratively and literally to the corporate standards? Did no one in their corporate office or any franchise owners realize that sooner rather than later that their subway length may be questioned at some Subway restaurants?

In terms of pricing, if all Subway restaurants go back to serving an actual 12 inch sub, will the prices increase on this particular length? Will there no longer be foot-long subs for $5? A cynic might say that Subway was able to continue to occasionally reduce their foot-long sub price to $5 because of the shrinkage. I don’t know how you can prove that and I don’t necessarily subscribe to that theory. I do know that some candy bar manufacturers years ago would address the increase in doing business by reducing the size of the product or increasing the price or in dire situations, do both. Moving forward, considering Subway should be extremely conscientious about the sandwich length, price may be the only commodity that changes.

Again, you had to figure this would come to light eventually – especially if this had occurred at more than a few Subway restaurants. Measuring the length of their sub sandwich is quantifiable – most people could do with a tape measure or ruler. It’s not the same as gauging how much cheese is added to the Wendy’s burger or how much chicken a Chipotle customer receives when ordering a chicken burrito. I would suspect, moving forward, Subway may consider taking these lengths seriously. Subway would be well served to heed this negative feedback to ensure this controversy does not occur again – especially in the short-term until customers have well forgotten this latest gaffe by Subway.