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Footlong-Gate: Subway Apologizes for Sandwiches Not Measuring Up

Facebook Photos, Lawsuit Give Chain a PR Headache

By Published on . 4

Apparently size really does matter.

At least when it comes to a footlong sub. It may not be as bad as the crisis Taco Bell had to deal with when it was accused of using little actual beef in its ground beef, but Subway has had its own set of PR headaches this week with the revelation that its footlong subs aren't always a foot long.

It all started on Jan. 16, when Australian Matt Corby posted a photo to Subway Australia's Facebook page of a sandwich he'd just bought, asking why that footlong sub was actually only 11 inches long. Not long after, others began inundating Subway's Facebook page asking for an explanation. Even as late as this afternoon, Facebook users were posting images of their lacking-in-length sandwiches.

Subway Australia responded to Matt Corby's question and said that the bread "was not baked to our standards," but then added: "With regards to the size of the bread and calling it a footlong, 'SUBWAY FOOTLONG' is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length," adding that the length of each bread cannot be assured each time as the "proofing" process may vary.

That response sounded like a cop-out to some. BuzzFeed's Copyranter pointed out on Jan. 18 that the chain's ads have gone to great lengths to talk about the length of the sandwiches. Stephen Colbert, also had some fun with the incident in a segment on Jan. 17, calling the issue a "corporate scamwich."

But Subway faced more PR headaches this week when a lawsuit was filed in New Jersey against Subway for not delivering on its foot long promise, according to the Associated Press, asking that the company either ensure that its sandwiches measure a full foot, or stop advertising them as foot-long sandwiches.

Subway did not comment on the lawsuit when asked by food website Eater, but issued the following statement: "For 47 years, customer satisfaction has been our top priority. We regret any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers. We freshly bake our bread throughout the day in our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide, and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every SUBWAY Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide."

Subway did not respond to a request for an additional comment for this story by press time.

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