INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -- Subway's slogan is "Eat Fresh" -- but order the Grilled Chicken Breast and Baby Spinach Salad, and you'll get defrosted, precooked chicken strips that have been mechanically branded at a factory to look like they're hot off the grill. Which isn't quite the same thing.
Americans love grilled chicken, a low-fat protein source recommended by everyone from Atkins to the American Heart Association. But fast-food restaurants shun actual grilling like the plague. Rather than install expensive equipment and pay for a dedicated chef, most chains outsource the cooking to giant processors such as Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride, and Keystone Foods.
And the brave new world of industrial grilling is a wee bit different from firing up the Weber in your backyard. First, naturally low-fat, low-sodium chicken breasts are submerged in a giant "tumble marinator" and saturated with a hearty brew of salt, oil, sugar, chemicals, and fat. Burger King's Tendergrill fillet contains added chicken fat and more than 30 other items. McDonald's Grilled Chicken fillet has up to 20% "solution" by weight. The chicken in Panera Bread's Chicken Salad Sandwich includes beef extract, for extra chicken-y goodness.
In a typical factory, the fattened-up breasts are dumped onto a conveyor belt moving at about nine inches per second, where a crack squad of sous chefs lovingly positions each breast on its own patch of real estate. This process, known in the trade as "spreading," is the sole personal touch on a 100-foot-or-so automated cooking line. Next, the evenly spread breasts roll under a press and into a long stainless-steel "impingement oven," which bakes the chicken with jets of hot air. Convection cooking, as opposed to actual grilling over an open flame, provides the highest "yield," retaining the marinade and maximizing the weight of the final product.
To create the "appearance that the product may have been cooked on a backyard grill, "the newly baked chicken fillets are often branded with char marks," explains Jan **, director of marketing at FMC FoodTech, a manufacturer of industrial cooking equipment. The company's CM-40 II Charmarker uses red-hot branding wheels to burn grill marks onto the surface of chicken breasts as they emerge from the oven. FMC's Charmarker can work a lot faster than a short-order cook, grill-marking a row of breasts in about a second, before they hit the freezer. (A Subway spokesman says the char-marking "enhance[s] the appearance and appeal of the product.")
Char-marking is a big business. Pilgrim's Pride runs 45 lines in 10 factories to produce 2 billion pounds of cooked chicken per year. Asked whether it char-marks for fast-food chains, vice president of marketing Dan ** says, "They don't really like us to name names, but we do 9 of the top 10, all except McDonald's."
In fact, the only chain we could find that actually grills chicken in the restaurant is Chick-fil-A, whose Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich is the rare fast-food offering that approaches the nutritional benefits of home-grilled chicken breasts. As for the rest, well, it's not exactly diet food. But it does look terrific.
CHASE, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- For a well known organization that prides itself in serving fresh food and friendly customer service, I am very disappointed how I was treated particularly from a blonde employee named ** at the Chase Subway in BC. From the beginning of our interaction, ** was very unfriendly. She did not greet me, or even smile and it was obvious she did not take any pride in her work. She continued to be disengaged through the sandwich making process. I became really concerned when I noticed that the turkey to be placed on one of the sandwiches looked spoiled. There was a dark green spot on it larger than the size of a loonie that appeared to be mold.
When I brought this to her attention, she was agitated and snapped at me that she did not know what it was and in an exaggerated "huff", she grabbed the metal container of turkey and took it to the back, brought another container of turkey back, and slammed it into the slot of the serving area. After seeing the spoiled turkey, I decided to change the meat on the sandwich as the sandwich was for my toddler, and I was concerned about him getting food poisoning. I requested that she remove the turkey from the sandwich and put ham on. She ripped off the turkey and threw the ham on the sandwich obviously irritated.
Despite her disrespectful behavior, I thanked her for making the change. She then replied "You are NOT welcome." I was uncertain if I correctly heard what she had said so I asked her, "Did you say you are not welcome?" She replied "Yes! You are NOT welcome!" I then asked her if she was serious or being sarcastic. She replied "I am very serious. You are WAS my product!"
With that, I left the Subway, not purchasing any of the 3 sandwiches I had ordered, because of the horrible service I had received and the questionable quality of the food. I told the girl I would be calling her boss. Her response, at the top of her lungs was "Go ahead, **! I am the ** boss!"
I take great exception to being treated this way. I was not rude or unpleasant during this interaction at any point. I should not have to justify myself or worry about Subway's loss of revenue from having to throw out spoiled product. In reality, rather than only the rotten turkey meat being discarded on my sandwich, the bun and cheese should also have been disposed of because of cross contamination. At no point during this situation, did I see ** wash her hands despite touching spoiled meat. This really makes me question the safe food handling and storage practices at the Chase Subway.
This girl obviously does not understand the seriousness of this situation, she was willing to serve rotten turkey to a customer. My 3 year old could have become seriously ill which would have landed this Chase Subway a MUCH greater loss that the two pieces of rotten turkey! This is unacceptable and this girl as well as this Chase Subway need to be dealt with immediately. I look forward to hearing a response from the Subway organization informing me as to what actions will be taken to address this situation.
KAPOLEI, HAWAII -- I don't work there anymore but the owner never came to the store. Not once when I was there so they didn't know what was going on. The store hadn't been treated for bugs either for as long as I was there, so they had a lot of small roaches in the back. Luckily I never saw it in the food..but still. Sometimes I saw other employees just using their hands to refill the meats or food products. They didn't sanitize any of their equipment, I've worked for another Subway and they always sanitized everything so I was put off from the idea.
The spray nozzle they used to wash dishes was covered in mold before I cleaned it. If it was the beginning of the month (when the inspector comes) the manager would just write over labels to show the current date. Some other co-workers found mold on the veggie patties. They never took their temperature logs. Their sandwich unit was even broken and didn't cool the food enough and they had to put ice on the bottom although sometimes there wasn't even any ice. I know for a fact it didn't cool enough, because the cheese would get really stuck together.
Their walk-in refrigerator was leaking badly. They had 2 huge bins collecting the water on the top shelf. The shelves are also rusted inside. I think the manager expected us to empty those bins because one time she complained about no one emptying them except her and someone else. I don't know how she was able to manage to get those huge bins down without hurting herself. Sometimes when they are in the middle of preparing food and a customer comes, they just leave the food out in the open for an unlimited amount of time (like if more customers come in). It could be hours and the food is just sitting out.
One time they were making us serve reddish looking lettuce. We would also often run out of a product. Often in the morning, they cooked too much bread and they expect us to use the old bread the next day when it's hard. And even when they burnt bread, they expected us to use it. We would only get our work schedule one week at a time. One week I barely got my schedule at all, I called for my schedule and she said she'd get back to me but never did. I didn't know when I worked for a few days. I can't even remember how I found out when I did work. Some of my coworkers would not speak in English to each other even though they know how to speak it.
I was not fully trained to be a shift leader but they still gave me the responsibility and did not raise my pay for it either. When the inspector found things wrong with the store, it seemed like management was blaming the employees when everything listed was the manager's responsibility. There was also bad communication in the store. We were told a promotion was over then a week later, a few employees were told it was still ongoing. By then we had already told customers that it was over. So those employees still gave out the promotion but the employees who did not know it was still going didn't, causing confusion.
When new employees were hired, they were not even trained. They had to pretty much work off of the video they watched and what other co-workers did or helped them to do. One of my co-workers burned her hand at the store. Due to lack of communication. Usually when bread is finished baking, they put it in the bread cabinet to cool. But this time, the manager placed it in the back where the cooled bread is usually put. We had run out of a bread in the front so she went to the back to get more, and just grabbed it and her plastic glove was burned to her hand. Of course she dropped the pan and screamed.
She told the manager and the manager said there were no witnesses and made her continue to work until her shift was over. She couldn't even feel in her hand and she had to hold back from crying. She wanted to fill out an accident report but the general manager (above the regular manager) also agreed that there are no witnesses so it's pointless. Supposedly the store is being under surveillance the whole time but I guess they did not get that.
Although I was not there when it happened, she showed me her burnt hand and told me what happened. Another co-worker did not see her burning her hand but she saw afterward when she still tried to make people sandwiches while trying not to cry with her very red hand that could barely do anything. I would like to report them to the Department of Health, maybe even Department of Labor (if any of this breaks those laws) but I'm not too sure what the laws are and where and how exactly to report them. I am probably forgetting some things.
ST PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Subway has long advertised a "Oven Roasted Chicken Breast". Fact is, there is no oven roasting anything in a Subway.... it's processed chicken with seaweed and other additives... pressed with fake grill marks put on it... It's then run through a cycle in a microwave... total BS spin by Subway.
First of all, let me tell you a little about me! I'm an over-the-road truck driver I don't make a lot of money and have to live on a budget while on the road. That is why I used to eat at Subway! I don't anymore, and let me tell you why! I stopped at the Subway in the Pilot Truck-Stop in Clear Lake IA. On 07/07/2010 at 8:00 pm and ordered a Foot Long Tunafish on white with extra cheese, price was 5.99. I gave the clerk a 20.00 dollar bill to which the clerk gave me change for a 10.00 dollar bill (4.01). When I called the clerk on his mistake, he said I only gave him a Ten (10.00).
An argument ensued. The bottom line is he gave me the manager's phone number, who I called immediately and left a message! The manager called me back the next day and said that indeed the clerk had made a mistake and when counting out the register they found my Ten (10.00) dollars. She said she would send me my Ten (10.00) dollars, so I gave her my address. After two weeks I called her back and told her I hadn't received my money yet! She said she would resend the money. It is now 09/10/2010 and have yet to receive my money. This is why I will never eat at Subway ever again!!!
NEWTON, NEW JERSEY -- I have worked at Subway for almost 3 years, and I've read the majority of these reviews. I can't disagree with the fact that some of the employees are downright rude, because I don't work at those Subways to see it happen. But I can say that the most of these complaints are pitiful and it is almost pathetic that people waste their time going online to complain about them!
First, the people that make your sandwiches do JUST that. We do not control the prices, the quantities, the rules, anything along those lines. We are there to make the sandwiches, period. It is absurd that someone would attempt an argument with a sandwich artist, when whatever you're arguing about is beyond our control! But heaven forbid we were to tell you it's out of our control, because then you'd go through the roof.
Secondly, walking into Subway and immediately treating your server with rudeness, is going to result in rudeness back! Is that really THAT hard to grasp!? Subway workers have A LOT of things that need to be done in addition to helping the customers and it is difficult to accomplish all of these things since the owners completely short staff us to save money. When someone comes in and I say to them "Hi there, what can I get for you?" the last thing I would like to hear is "YEAH I NEED 3 SUBS.” That's just a tad rude, don't you think? How about "Hello, yes I'd like..." It is not that hard.
Another thing that completely baffles me is how do people not think its unbelievably rude to talk on your cell phone while placing your order?! Its another thing if you are ordering for the person on the phone. But honestly, I couldn't care less who went where, what time Johnny needs to be picked up from soccer, when the wash needs to go in the dryer.
WE DO NOT CARE! All we'd like to do is to make your sandwich as quickly and efficiently as possible to move onto the next customer waiting longer than necessary because you are not paying attention to your sandwich. I could really go on and on, but I'll stop there in hopes that at least a few people will read this and possibly have a little more respect and realization next time they decide to order Subway food.
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY -- I stopped by our local Subway restaurant to redeem our free cookie coupons that expired on that day. We had 3 coupons: one for me and one for each of my two children who were with me in the car...the youngest child had fallen asleep in the car and my older child waited with him in the car in case he woke up while I ran inside the restaurant to get our cookies.
The Subway employee first scrutinized the coupons carefully, went into the back room with the coupons and finally returned to say that she could not honor all 3 coupons since the coupon stated "one per customer". I explained that my youngest child, age 2, was sleeping in the car which was clearly visible through their front window. I asked if it was really necessary to wake him up and bring him inside. She was adamant that she would only give me 2 cookies, even though there were 3 coupons and 3 people.
I got my older daughter out of the car; however, this employee who I later found out was a shift manager, would not honor the 3rd coupon. I asked again if I really needed to wake my sleeping baby, and she threw all three coupons back at me and said "NO cookies for you today...I was going to give you 2 but now I give you none." Shocked that we were arguing over 3 cookies, I informed her that I would be filing a complaint for the way I had been treated at this restaurant.
She was now refusing to honor ANY of the 3 coupons. I understand that rules are rules, but she could clearly see my son sleeping in the car less than 30 feet away. I feel that this Subway restaurant simply didn't want to honor the coupons, period. I now understand why Chick-Fil-A and McDonalds are so much busier than Subway restaurants...they understand how to be compassionate and accommodating to their customers, especially moms with young children like me. I will not visit this store again.
So Subway, miserable Subway, everyone complains about Subway... obviously it's the end of the world right? We just can't get through the day without putting in a complaint about Subway. So anyway customers want to know why Subway employees are so rude right? And employees want to know why customers are so mentally impaired right? Well I can explain. The problem starts with the employer/owners hiring in minimal employees to work for minimum wage...why? Because that's less people they have to pay for work, which means these few employees are working 12 hour shifts everyday of the week...
On that note one Subway owner at least owns 2-3 stores so they feel sending their employees back and forth between stores are a GREAT way to avoid 40 + overtime. These employees are run into the ground working for pennies without seeing the light of day... No benefits + barely any customers tip their tip jars when they clearly work harder then the average server. I'd personally rather tip hard work over a hustler's smile any day.
From what I have witnessed customers are 90% of the problem. Seriously, you don't need a college degree to order a Subway sandwich. It's not rocket science. For example a customer is holding up a Subway line because he has 7 sandwiches but only informs the employee of one instead of making things simple accomplishing all 7 at the same time. If this were too hard or a problem for the employee to remember/ accomplish 7 sandwiches at once, which most have probably been there for years staring at the line up with the bane image burned into their brain..
There's no way they'd still be employed. Subway is not McDonald's nor is it a 5 star restaurant (Prissville) but apparently it's the Soup Kitchen considering everyone orders 7-10 sandwich's per person in the middle of lunch rush, Have phone orders gone out of style?
Not to mention half of those customers don't even know what the 7-10 people at home want on their sandwiches. "Cheese sir? Oh ugh let me call back...okay American. Veggies sir? oh ugh let me call..." [snip] after 5 times of that I'd lock myself in the cooler too. Write it down on paper NOT TEXT (what's wrong with you) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE YOU STAND IN LINE. So it's not only employees who need to clean up their act. It's also the customers. Honestly it can be looked at through both sides of the glass. We all have effect on each other.
APACHE JUNCTION, ARIZONA -- I visited Subway located inside the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Apache Trail in Apache Junction AZ on July 1st 09. I couldn't believe the rude behavior of the "customer service" representative behind the counter named **. I stood waiting to be served and I saw she was leaning and relaxed in the back (I thought she was socializing). After calling for service with no response, I stepped behind the counter so she could see me. She came out very angry, shooing me away, griping that I had no business standing where I was behind the counter.
Her attitude provoked me to respond by telling her that she should be in front waiting on customers instead of back there chit chatting. Her response was filled with the worst 4 letter words that you could hear while telling me she was on a break eating. She went on to tell me that it was none of my business whether she was eating or talking and it went on. I couldn't believe her behavior and mentioned I would be speaking to the manager. Her response was "Want the number"?
She didn't let it end there. As I went through Wal-Mart shopping, she was spotting me and pointing me out to her co-worker and laughing. She had an obvious disregard for being reported and now I know why. I have called headquarters several times and filed a complaint. I was always told they would forward to the owner of that store and will get a response in 3-5 days. Never have I gotten a response.
After several attempts - they gave me the # to the regional office and I have also called several times and left messages for a call back explaining my situation. Again, no return call. I can see now why this girl ** was very confident in behaving barbarically - there is no accountability and she obviously knew it.
I am very frustrated with the Headquarters, Regional offices and the owner of that Subway (I know he has received several of my messages) because I have been a business owner and also in customer service. Although I don't necessarily believe in "the customer is always right", I do believe that as a customer service representative - a person should always maintain a professional demeanor.
Not sure if it's the day and age or if it has something to do with the area (I come from New England where customer's being treated with respect has always been the policy), but I do want to take this opportunity to express my disappointment in Subway at the executive level for hiring such rif raf. Shame on the owner of this subway - ** has no business in customer service.