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Size Does Matter: Subway is Settling Small Sandwich Suit

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The jingle is as memorable as it is incredibly annoying. Beginning in 2008, Subway franchises began offering $5 Footlongs, accompanied by a national advertising campaign. The idea that Subway offers foot-long sandwiches is central to the fast food purveyors’ marketing campaigns and reputation. But some discerning consumers noticed that the sandwiches were a little smaller than they expected–and sued Subway over this clearly debilitating issue. The case was originally filed in 2013, but Subway just announced a proposed settlement that will involve it measuring the sandwiches it gives to consumers in order to guarantee that they’re receiving all the food they’re paying for.

The settlement involves nine named plaintiffs, who argued that Subway was shortchanging them with both its 12 and six-inch subs. The lawsuit claimed that the footlong subs were really only 11.5 inches long, and the six inchers were actually 5.75 inches.

Horrifying, I know.

Based on those claims, the customers decided to serve the sandwich franchise chain a lawsuit for deceptive marketing, as well as the claim that they were charging customers for more food than the customers were actually receiving.

The results of the settlement are multi-faceted. For one, the plaintiffs will each get $1000. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s roughly 200 $5 Footlongs! Additionally, Subway will be making some changes to its policies. For example, every one of its franchises will have to use a “measurement tool” on each sandwich to make sure that they’re living up to size guidelines. The corporate offices will also be making sure that they amend training materials, as well as clear up policies that “allowed for a small tolerance in the size of a Footlong sandwich.” If the franchise owners don’t live up to those policies, they may lose their licenses to operate a Subway branch.

While the settlement isn’t fully set in stone–there’s going to be a final hearing in January–it’s pretty much certain that we’re all now guaranteed appropriately-sized sandwiches at Subways across the nation.

I’m proud to be an American–a nation where we can sue a major corporation over the fact that our fast food is a fraction smaller than we expect it to be. That’s true freedom.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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