Size Really Does Matter For Subway

If you recently purchased a foot-long sub from Subway that fell short, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is currently evaluating potential claims from Subway consumers who purchased a footlong sub, only to find that it measured less than 12 inches.

As the Associated Press is reporting, lawsuits are already pending against the popular fast-food chain after two New Jersey men leaked a photo that showed the company’s famed footlong subs may actually be only about 11 inches long.

Subway has more than 38,000 stores around the world, and the missing inch or so in each sandwich quickly adds up to immense profits. The New Jersey men are suing for compensatory damages and are asking Subway to change its practices. Compensatory damages are awarded in amounts necessary to replace what was lost, and nothing more.

The lawsuit was inspired by a recent viral photo of a subway foot long sandwich with a ruler on top of it, showing that the sandwich was something less than 12 inches. The picture was posted on Subway’s Facebook page, asking for a response, and quickly circulated throughout Facebook, Twiiter, Instagram, and the like.

At the time, Subway issued a statement saying the term ‘Subway Footlong’ is a registered trademark, meant to be a descriptive name, and not intended to be an actual measurement of length. The company went on to say that each loaf of bread baked in its restaurants cannot be assured to be 12 inches every single time, as proofing processes vary among each franchise.

The plaintiff’s, John Farley and Charles Noah Pendrack, took it upon themselves to measure the company’s inaccuracies, buying footlongs from 17 different shops. All of them came up short. Their lawyer went on to compare the situation to McDonald’s quarter-pounders, which are advertised as weighing exactly a quarter-pound before being cooked.

Subway’s five dollar foot longs have been a staple of American culture for years. Anyone who watches television can sing you the jingle. The plaintiffs are asking that Subway either ensure that each sandwich measures a full 12 inches or stop advertising them as footlongs.

With more than 38,000 stores, mostly owned by franchisees, Subway is the world’s largest fast food chain (McDonald’s trails by only about a thousand). In Singapore, a country of less than 300 square miles, Subway has 79 stores. Germany boasts 778 Subways, one located inside an old windmill. The chain recently opened its 1000th store in Asia, and has significant plans for international growth, even projecting its number of international franchises to exceed its domestic ones by 2020.

Its success is, in part, due to its masterful marketing campaigns (see: Jared). The Five Dollar Footlong played a major role in fueling Subway’s recent growth. It was just three years ago, in 2010, that Subway finally surpassed McDonalds as the world’s largest fast-food chain. The Footlong campaign emerged six years ago, and was a simple one – a jingle of just a few notes – but its subtlety is what made it genius, and unbelievably successful. Subway turned the idea of a sandwich for five dollars into a brand, and rode high on the profits for nearly seven years, until now. In the commercials, actors hold out their hands one foot apart to show exactly how big the five dollar sandwiches are.

The gesture, it seems, is misleading, as is the Footlong brand. If the New Jersey plaintiffs are allowed to proceed, the case may evolve into a class-action lawsuit. Subway generated $16.6 billion in revenue in 2011, and it is unclear what amount the plaintiffs will be seeking in compensatory damages. Product liability attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently evaluating false advertising claims involving Subway footlong subs.

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