Global sandwich chain Subway prides itself on its army of sandwich construction engineers, better known as sandwich artists, responsible for the assembly of all your Subway subs, good, bad, and indifferent. If you buy into the image of Subway's advertising, the sandwich artists all love practicing their art for customers, but the reality is there are several items on the Subway menu that Subway employees hate when you order. Or, their inside expertise behind the scenes gives them some special insight into why you should never order these sandwiches, no matter how hungry you are or how intense your cravings become.
Fortunately, the institutional knowledge of which Subway menu items the smart and considerate Subway patron never orders isn't locked behind the Subway vault with the smell of freshly baked bread. It's all over the various social media platforms, as you can see by taking a look at the list below. There has even been at least one example of Subway no-nos making it into the mainstream news. Read on, and eat fresh with a relatively clear conscience.
Double Meat Meatball
A typical Subway sandwich can accommodate the classic "double meat" order with few complications, they just pile the extra meat on the bread and proceed normally. But a purported sandwich artist on Reddit answered the call for most annoying sandwiches to make behind that famous glass counter, and the answer seemed pretty straightforward: "When I worked there, it was double meat meatball subs. It always turned out to be a mess and it was hard to close," the poster wrote.
Given the shape of a meatball, it makes sense that a meatball sandwich with twice the amount of meatballs would be a challenge even for a seasoned sandwich artist. Flatbread meatball subs also seem to have posed a challenge for those responsible for wrapping up the sandwich and getting it past the cash register with its structural integrity at least superficially intact.
It's doubtful that there are too many nutritionists or doctors out there who would endorse the idea of a double meat meatball sub in the first place, so it might be best all around to just stick with the recommended serving size for your meatball fix at Subway.
Few experiments on the Subway menu have gone as poorly as the line of Subway melts from a few years ago. In 2021, Subway launched a line of new melts, including a ham & cheese melt, a classic tuna melt, and a steak & cheese melt. They looked pretty good in the advertising photos, but according to this thread on Reddit, all was not well in Meltland within the Kingdom of Subway.
"Been to like 4 different subways and not a single one put the cheese on both sides until I finally spoke up. They just toast it in a paper bag, no melt/panini press. Comes out scorched or cold, no in between," read the original post, which came from the point of view of a Subway customer. But replies from redditors purporting to be Subway employees told more of the story. "That's because the pictures are false advertising. I was trained to put all the cheese on one side just like a normal sandwich. That's what's in the official Subway handbook for the melts. I don't understand why the advertisements show them with cheese on both sides when that's not the case," said one.
Subway melts appear to have been phased out as quickly as they were phased in, but if you happen to come across a location still offering them, you can be sure the employees are definitely not hoping you'll decide to try one for size.
Everyone remembers the trend of the Subway diet, which let health-conscious customers trim their waistlines by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches (it seemed to make sense at the time). Many dieters balk at the idea of stuffing so much bread into their faces no matter how healthy the sandwich toppings may be, and for them there's the Subway salad menu. The idea is simple: any Subway sandwich can be more or less directly converted into salad form. Extra veggies, no bread — what could go wrong?
According to this amusing Reddit thread, quite a bit. "Subway Sandwich Artists of Reddit, why do you get so angry when I ask for a salad?," asked the OP. "This happens in every Subway I've ever ordered a salad at. Eye rolling, annoyed stance, passive aggressive attitude. What's so bad about making a salad?"
One of the first replies seems to make logical sense, whether or not it came from a Subway employee. "Actual answer: because everything comes in sandwich-sized pieces, and now they have [to] go out of their way to cut everything up into salad-sized pieces. Source: I am a recovering sandwich artist."
Other replies clarified the issue with ordering salads at Subway, and it essentially comes down to a disruption of rhythm. Anyone who's ever worked a job preparing food for long lines of customers will tell you that rhythm is everything, and the process of making salads just doesn't fit smoothly with the familiar and comfortable sandwich artistry. There are chain restaurants out there that specialize in salads, and they might be a better option for those of us looking to eat fresh without bread getting involved.
Bulk Orders With No Advance Notice
This is more a matter of basic restaurant etiquette than an issue specific to Subway, but a deleted viral video from a Subway employee in 2021 and reported by Yahoo does provide a helpful illustration of why making huge bulk orders with no advance notice is always a bad idea.
The employee took to TikTok to share an order made by a customer that came to $462. To make matters worse, the order was placed at 2:30 in the morning, which is definitely not a good time to be ordering 50 Subway sandwiches, regardless of the reason.
A typical Subway restaurant is not open at 2:30 in the morning, but really any order of such size falls under the category of catering and should be provided with at least a day's notice, as one commenter on the video reportedly pointed out: "That's catering and needs a 24-hour notice."
Anything With Chicken
While most of the items featured here have earned the ire of Subway employees for various reasons, this one is actually a no-no that's more for the customer's benefit than that of the sandwich artist. A Reddit AMA from a purported Subway employee included the disturbing revelation that chicken at Subway might not be as fresh as most of the other meat options: "Avoid: Chipotle Chicken & Teriyaki Chicken (Why? Chicken is given a two-day shelf life, once in the counter. However these two bypass this and get four days, and can get a little stinky)."
Just to keep the atmosphere here from becoming too bleak, that same Redditor also has a positive endorsement for the other Subway meats: "I'd recommend anything else, subway (at least my subway) is very strict on quality control and dates. Steak is probably the freshest, and safest."
It's possible that Subway has upped their freshness standards for chicken sometime in the years since this exchange took place. But if you're a stickler for eating fresh, you may want to go with steak over chicken on your next Subway voyage.
One of the distinguishing features of Subway is its literally transparent ordering process, where customers can see every stage of their sandwich's assembly from bare bread to a wrapped, loaded and ready to go cylindrical meal. An unsparing Business Insider from 2018 discussed the scourge of lowered standards plaguing Subway at the time, and a former Subway employee by the name of Jessica Gunn was quoted: "About half of the vegetables we used were far from fresh. I've personally tasted the ingredients by themselves and they DO NOT taste how you'd normally expect them to."
Another employee painted an even bleaker picture of Subway veggies: "A lot of the lettuce we receive is often near-expiry and is already turning brown even though the bags are vacuum sealed. The same goes for tomatoes. Often they are delivered and within a week are mushy and rotting."
It bears repeating that these employee statements came from 2018, and your local Subway has had plenty of time to get its act together since then (and the company went through a significant overhaul in 2021). The most nutritious Subway sandwiches all come loaded with veggies, but it's still smart to give them at least a cursory eyeball inspection before you have them piled high on your sandwich of choice.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.