It’s not simply TikTokers who’re questioning Subway Restaurants’ “Eat Fresh” slogan.
The big sandwich chain — which recently has been getting mocked on social media for beef that appears like “cat food” — is now coming underneath assault by retailer operators who’re demanding better-quality produce, The Post has realized.
According to franchisees, the restaurant chain that when drew a petition to cease making its bread from yoga mat materials has been delivering meals to most of its shops simply as soon as per week — ensuing typically in soggy lettuce and flaccid cucumbers.
“It is vacuum-packed, but the reality is it’s not fresh,” griped a franchisee of the lettuce, which, he lamented, additionally arrives pre-shredded. “If I have it for seven days, it is more like 15 to 20 days since it was picked,” he mentioned.
“How ethical is it for them to say ‘Eat Fresh’?” mentioned the franchisee who owns a number of Subway shops.
Added one other franchisee: “The freshness all depends on how careful the restaurant is with food storage. If your refrigerator is good, if you shut the refrigerator door when you leave, there is only a slight difference between lettuce you get at the beginning of the week and at the end.”
Such complaints come as sagging gross sales, worsened by the pandemic, have prompted some Subway franchisees to hunt permission to purchase their very own lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, in addition to proteins like tuna.
As The Post reported final month, a bunch of Subway franchisees on April 19 wrote a letter to Elisabeth DeLuca, the widow of the chain’s founder, demanding a slew of modifications they claimed would increase gross sales.
“Franchisees should have the right to source fresh vegetables every day and offer higher quality ingredients when they are available,” the letter mentioned.
The company has to this point denied the request, citing quality-control and pricing points. All of Subway’s meals is at the moment managed by America’s largest restaurant chain by way of its Independent Purchasing Cooperative in Miami.
“To maintain the consistency and safety of products, it is an industry standard to require franchisees to purchase food items from approved suppliers only,” Subway informed The Post.
Subway says complaints by the nameless franchisees behind the April 19 letter aren’t consultant of most retailer operators.
“We serve freshly made sandwiches, wraps, bowls and salads and stand behind the quality and freshness of our food, while complying fully with all laws on advertising,” a Subway spokeswoman mentioned.
Subway declined to say how typically it delivers meals to its shops, however sources say the overwhelming majority of eating places are restricted to once-a-week deliveries for every little thing from lettuce and tomatoes to pre-packaged rooster and beef.
“High volume stores like those located in airports, malls, and major downtown cities are the ones that get two deliveries of vegetables a week,” one franchisee mentioned.
Food trade sources say once-a-week deliveries aren’t unusual within the fast-food area. But Subway’s weekly schedule comes because it seeks to compete with rivals like Chipotle Mexican Grill, which delivers thrice per week to most places and supplies entire heads of romaine lettuce to be chopped by retailer staff — not by headquarters.
“I don’t think once a week is a big deal, but remember Subway is positioning themselves as Chipotle,” one meals trade govt mentioned.
Subway previously let franchisees supply their very own produce, a observe that one former New York City retailer proprietor admitted can result in issues.
“I walked over to Chinatown and usually got better stuff at lower prices, but some franchisees bought whatever veggies were on clearance and there was no consistency,” the franchisee mentioned of his days as an operator within the Nineties.
“Once Subway established a purchasing cooperative, the prices were fixed under contract, and the quality is consistent,” the ex-operator added. “You don’t always get the best price, but in times of drought or bad weather the supply remained much more predictable than buying locally.”
Subway retailer operators are additionally elevating eyebrows over new bread the company launched in current weeks, which Subway insists can keep recent for eight hours after being baked as a substitute of simply 4 hours.
Several franchisees mentioned they didn’t know what was within the new dough to make it last more, and questioned if Subway was bringing again substances it had eliminated in 2014 when it was uncovered for utilizing a chemical in its bread that was typically present in yoga mats.
“Regarding your question about the new bread,” the Subway spokeswoman mentioned, “while we can’t unpack all the details just yet, we can confirm that fresh and exciting changes are coming for Subway fans. We look forward to sharing more with you soon.”
The franchisee gripes come as TikToker @Travis2official has amassed thousands and thousands of followers with posts allegedly exposing the company’s behind-the-scenes meals preparation. The first put up on April 3 confirmed viewers what he claimed was Subway’s beef, pulling out what seemed to be a brown brick of pulverized meat wrapped in plastic packaging. He dumped the contents right into a bowl and crumbled it up with a gloved hand.
“Just to let y’all know how subway steak looks. Behind closed doors,” the video was captioned.
Many viewers reacted in disgust, likening it cat meals. “Wouldn’t even feed that to my dog,” one viewer posted.