Subway Loses an Inch and Credibility

How many inches are in a foot? Eleven, according to a Subway customer in Australia and others who have posted similar photos of the "footlong" sandwich. The initial photo received more than 100,000 likes on Facebook, yet Subway was slow in responding.


It's unclear why Subway corporate didn't address comments on its Facebook page, but Subway Australia did post this response:

Subway Australia


The company seemed to try a different approach in this statement to The Huffington Post:

"As you know, all of our sandwiches are made to order, and our bread is baked daily in every one of our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that our products are consistent and have the same great taste no matter which Subway restaurant you visit.

"We have seen the photo you referenced of a Subway sandwich that looks like it doesn't meet our standards. We always strive for our customers to have the most positive experience possible, and we believe this was an isolated case in which the bread preparation procedures were unfortunately not followed."

Nice try, but this doesn't seem to address the many photos of 11-inch Subway sandwiches.

In a response to ABC News, Subway corporate reinforced the concept of the "footlong" not being a real measurement: "Most countries, such as Australia, follow the metric system so the term Footlong can only be used as part of a trademark." However, the spokesman did acknowledge, "Our global standard for a SUBWAY Footlong sandwich is 12 inches regardless of the restaurant's location."

The metric-system defense seems to contradict this 2008 commercial, clearly stating that a "footlong" is 12 inches.

The company probably want the whole issue to just go away. On its Twitter feed, Subway is promoting its role in The Biggest Loser and, still, the "footlong":

Subway tweet

Discussion Starters:

  • Some theorize that Subway's toasted bread shrinks, causing the final product to be only 11 inches. Do you buy this argument? If you think it has credibility, should Subway have incorporate this information into its statement? How could this have helped or hurt the company's position?
  • What should Subway do on its Facebook page and Twitter feed to regain credibility?
  • What if the company is skimping on its sandwiches? What would be an appropriate response in this case? What are the downsides of admitting this?