It’s always easy to poke fun at Subway, the fast-food chain where sandwich “artists” hold sway and where earworm-worthy jingles rule the day (remember the $5 footlong song?).
And now, it appears that Subway’s ever-popular tuna sandwich may not even contain, um, tuna? A lawsuit is making that very claim. Deep-dive investigations have followed suit. (Subway didn’t respond for immediate comment when MarketWatch reached out.)
But if you ask me, this is a momentary distraction. Subway will survive in the long run because it beats the competition in so many ways. As a gourmet type, I generally bypass chain offerings, with a few rare exceptions: Wendy’s chili, McDonald’s fries, Sonic’s drinks and pretty much all things Subway. Not that I consider Subway’s fare gourmet. Anything but. But Subway serves decent food at a decent price. Let me offer five reasons why I return again and again…
But if you ask me, this is a momentary thing. Subway will survive in the long run — and return to prosperity — because it beats the competition in so many ways. As a gourmet type, I generally bypass chain offerings, with a few rare exceptions: Wendy’s chili, McDonald’s fries, Sonic’s drinks and pretty much all things Subway. Not that I consider Subway’s fare gourmet. Anything but. But Subway serves decent food at a decent price. Let me offer five reasons why I return again and again…
Ah, the bread
Sure, comedian Jim Gaffigan has riffed brilliantly on Subway’s bread (“Ah, the smell of bread that was just baked in a dirty dishwasher…”). As far as I’m concerned, that scent is an intoxicating, yeasty one, a smell that tells me I’m in a place where actual baking (or at least parbaking) is going on. (Where do most fast-food chains do their baking? In an industrial factory, I gather. I much prefer the Subway way.
You can see your food being prepared
Again, lots of folks make knocks about the whole “sandwich artist” concept. But I’ll take it over having faceless workers preparing your burger out-of-view. When you think about it, Subway was doing the Chipotle thing before Chipotle was, letting you shape your meal, ingredient by ingredient. And a fine, fine thing it is.
And you can indeed eat fresh (and healthy)
Subway really lets you pile on the veggies — not just the usual lettuce, pickles and tomatoes, but also crisp cucumber slices (my favorite), spinach leaves, olives, banana peppers, jalapeño slices and…well, you get the point. Put it all together and you can have a sizable, satisfying and, yes, fresh-tasting sandwich while still keeping calorie counts ridiculously low. It’s the smart concept of Volumetrics (this is provided, of course, you order a lean protein — say, ham or turkey — as the base of your sandwich). I also like the fact you can add more flavor to the mix with low-calorie condiments — say, red-wine vinegar and light mayo.
While the $5 Footlong is no longer a staple of the Subway lineup, there are other deals to be had, such as discounts when you purchase a second sandwich or combo offerings that include chips and a drink at a reduced cost. I often find that a perfectly good Subway meal, with beverage, is way cheaper than a Chipotle burrito itself. No one is pretending that Subway is in the charity business, but I appreciate that the chain has remained committed to keeping prices in check.
Two words: Subway tuna
Who cares what goes into this seafood delight? It’s delicious no matter what. And sometimes all you want in life is a tuna-salad sandwich (which, last I checked, is not an item offered on other fast-food chain menus). When it’s stuffed with all those veggies — again, cucumber slices! — the Subway tuna is as good as lunch gets.
This story was updated on June 23, 2021.