Subway franchisees fight for fresher food, more deliveries

It’s not simply TikTokers who’re questioning Subway Restaurants’ “Eat Fresh” slogan.

The large sandwich chain — which currently has been getting mocked on social media for beef that appears like “cat food” — is now coming beneath assault by retailer operators who’re demanding better-quality produce, The Post has discovered.

According to franchisees, the restaurant chain that when drew a petition to cease making its bread from yoga mat material 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 stated.

“How ethical is it for them to say ‘Eat Fresh’?” stated 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 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.

 Subway store
Some Subway franchisees have sought permission to purchase their very own lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, in addition to proteins like tuna.
SOPA Images/LightRocket through Gett

As The Post reported final month, a gaggle 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 enhance gross sales.  

“Franchisees should have the right to source fresh vegetables every day and offer higher quality ingredients when they are available,” the letter stated.

The firm has up to now denied the request, citing quality-control and pricing points. All of Subway’s meals is at present 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 advised 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 stated.

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 all the pieces from lettuce and tomatoes to pre-packaged hen 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 stated.

Food business sources say once-a-week deliveries will not be unusual within the fast-food house. 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 offers complete 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 business government stated.

Subway restaurant sign
Subway says complaints by the nameless franchisees behind the April 19 letter aren’t consultant of most retailer operators.
Christopher Sadowski/New York Po

Subway previously let franchisees supply their very own produce, a follow 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 stated of his days as an operator within the Nineteen 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 corporate launched in current weeks, which Subway insists can keep recent for eight hours after being baked as an alternative of simply 4 hours.

Several franchisees stated 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 stated, “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 tens of millions of followers with posts allegedly exposing the corporate’s behind-the-scenes meals preparation. The first submit 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.

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