Days after two men filed a lawsuit contending Subway was skimping on its footlong sandwich size, the company said it regrets “any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers”.
Subway will “ensure that every SUBWAY® Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide”, according to a statement released by the company.
Subway also told Eater.com it has “redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve”.
The news comes as two New Jersey men sue the company for selling so-called footlong sandwiches that are closer to 11 inches in length rather than 12. John Farley, of Evesham, and Charles Noah Pendrack, of Ocean City – want compensatory damages and a change in Subway’s practices.
The suit, filed in Superior Court in Mount Holly, may be the first aimed at the sandwich shops after an embarrassment went viral last week when someone posted a photo of a footlong and a ruler on the company’s Facebook page to show that the sandwich was not as long as advertised.
At the time, the company issued a statement saying that sandwich lengths can vary a bit when franchises do not bake to the exact corporate standards.
But Stephen DeNittis, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, says that’s no excuse and the missing bite is worth about 45 cents per sandwich. He is seeking class-action status and is also preparing to file a similar suit in Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia.
Stephen DeNittis said he’s had sandwiches from 17 shops measured – and every one came up short.
“The case is about holding companies to deliver what they’ve promised,” he said.
Even though the alleged short of a half-inch or so of bread is relatively small, it adds up, he said.
Subway has 38,000 stores around the world, nearly all owned by franchisees and its $5 footlong specials have been a mainstay of the company’s ads for five years.
Stephen DeNittis said both John Farley and Charles Noah Pendrack came to him after reading last week about the short sandwiches.
Subway should either make sure its sandwiches measure a full foot or stop advertising them as such, he said.
He points to how McDonald’s quarter-pounders are advertised as being that weight before they are cooked.
Subway said it couldn’t comment on pending or ongoing legal action but the company responded to international criticism that their footlong sandwiches only appear to be 11 inches long shortly after the controversy arose.
But their reply didn’t win them any new fans, as they claimed that the word footlong is a “registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub’ and ‘not intended to be a measurement of length”.
A man in Australia started uproar on January 15 when he posted a photo on the company’s Facebook page of one of its footlong subs next to a tape measure showing the sandwich as just 11 inches.
Countless lookalike pictures appeared all over the Internet and more than 100,000 people “liked” or commented on the original, which had the caption “Subway pls respond”.
Subway, the world’s largest fast food chain, did so with a comment on the original query, posted by Matt Corby from Perth, Australia.
The statement began: “Looking at the photo doing the rounds showing a slightly undersized sub, this bread is not baked to our standards.”
Then Subway went on the offensive, claiming that a footlong sub wasn’t necessarily meant to be exactly a foot long in the first place.
“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 and every time as the proofing process may vary slightly each time in the restaurant.”
Subway have since removed the statement but, as Buzzfeed pointed out, this was at odds with previous Subway advertising.
The company has suggested in past promotional material that the footlong sub will measure a foot in length, such as a popular 2008 “Hula” advert.