Skip to content

Diatribe: Subway Restaurants … Where A Foot Doesn’t Always Equal Twelve Inches.


SubwayI like a good sandwich as much as the next person.  I also like a “cheap lunch” … so, I’ve been known to eat at a Subway Restaurant.  I’ve never understood their peculiar napkin policy but I’ve always found Subway to be one fast-food restaurant that can be relied on to be consistent in quality from one location to another.

Since finding itself in the middle of an “eleven inch controversy” last Wednesday, Subway has responded to claims that its Footlong sandwich is one inch too short by explaining that “Footlong” is only a name and not a measurement.  Last Tuesday Matt Corby of Perth, Australia, took a photo of his sandwich beside a tape measure.  The photo showed that his Footlong sandwich was clearly eleven inches long.  He posted the photo on Subway Australia’s Facebook page request “subway pls respond”.

Their response alleged that “footlong” is merely creative license and does not designate measurement.

“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. The length of the bread baked in the restaurant cannot be assured each time as the proofing process may vary slightly each time in the restaurant.” – Subway Australia Facebook via BuzzFeed

The Subway Australia Facebook post has since been deleted.

The following 2008 commercial clearly references the measurement of the sandwich.

Subway elaborated on the unusual explanation by insisting that “Most countries, such as Australia, follow the metric system so the term Footlong can only be used as part of a trademark.”  Really?  Even in countries that use the Metric system, a “foot” still equals twelve inches.

After Corby’s photo went viral, Subway customers from around the world shared more photos to prove that their sandwiches also came up short.  As many as four out of seven Footlongs purchased by the New York Post in the NYC region were found to measure only 11 or 11.5 inches in length.

Of course, I usually have no tolerance for false advertising but in this situation I’m perplexed.  There are 38,181 Subway restaurants in ninety-nine countries around the world each baking its own bread and my limited experience with bread baking has led to an understanding that bread dough rises with a seeming will of its own.

That being said, I won’t be surprised if Subway begins using a modified disclaimer in their advertisements as a result of this week’s controversy.

What do you think?  Does that last inch really matter?

UPDATE 01/23/13New Jersey men sue Subway for selling them short sandwiches.


Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page and click “Follow.”  Buttons for Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are there, too!

Copyright © 2013

From → Diatribes

  1. Subway uses the AOL measurement method. (Grindr for the younger readers)

    If the goal is for 12 inches, and they are being honest about the inconsistencies of making by hand and baking bread, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that almost as many would be bigger than 12 inches. I haven’t read where bigger than expected subs are being found.


  2. Depends on what you are measuring and who’s doing the measuring. Men have been rounding up for years. :>)


  3. It is getting so difficult to keep track of my outrage over fast food restaurants. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt because, well, there isn’t an extra inch in my brain for worrying about this. Besides, I always get the smaller ones and they are delicious!


    • Many things seem to be coming in smaller packages lately. Instead of raising prices, manufacturers are decreasing portion size. I’ve noticed it the most in breakfast cereals. The problem that I have with Subway is, now that they’ve been challenged, their insistence that “Footlong” isn’t the same as “foot long”.


  4. Unless they’ve changed their signage, or signage varies by location, the last time I was in a Subway, the menu board listed 6 inch, and 12 inch sandwiches. By that, a “Footlong” is a foot long. Although, I asked a young female clerk in Florida for the advertised 12 inch tuna, and got back a drawl that asked me, “Is that like a footlong?” Yes, sweety, and tell your friend over at Taco Bell, that the “Empanada” listed on the menu board, is the apple pie.


Please LIKE and Share.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: