Subway’s Major Sandwich Giveaway Was a Huge Disappointment, Customers Say – Eat This, Not That


The metro is very advertised 1 million sandwich giftswhich took place across the country yesterday, left throngs of disappointed customers, according to first-hand accounts that have cropped up on social media.

The last time Subway gave away this much free food was around this time last year, and while this campaign would not have gone as planned due to weak demand, the chain had the opposite problem this year.

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America’s largest sandwich chain has been working on the biggest menu update in its history for a year now, dubbing the effort the “Eat Fresh Refresh” campaign, a top-down re-examination of everything on the menu . On this basis, the last Metro Series unveiled a whole new line of sandwiches and a whole new way to order – by the count and without personalization.


To promote these new pre-made sandwiches that require no choice, the chain announced that one million free sub-giveaways would take place “nationwide” on July 12.

But if it sounded almost too good to be true, that’s because it was. As customers learned when they tried to grab one of the free sandwiches from the new Subway Series menu, there were several caveats to the deal – some completely predictable albeit inconvenient and others totally unexpected and frustrating.

Subway goers across the United States weren’t thrilled to learn the promotion was running and not be eligible to receive a free sandwich.

Several gaffes came together to create a bottleneck of customers at Subway restaurants, many of whom ended up leaving empty-handed.

For one thing, the timeframe for the giveaway was somewhat limited. Sandwiches were free between 10am and noon, which is also a weird time for lunch.

However, many customers were unaware of the restrictions or the fact that only the first 50 guests per location will receive a free membership.

Additionally, some franchises didn’t even participate in the promotion, leading many sites to turn away customers.

Franchisees refusing to participate in promotional giveaways at Subway is nothing new, as these often end up being financially unsound decisions for operators.

Last year, Subway compensated the ingredients for the one million subscriber campaign, but not the cost of labor, as one West Coast operator told us who spoke to us under the guise of ‘anonymity. “They were charging $1.60 per sandwich, which is the cost of the ingredients, but the cost of labor and all other costs were the responsibility of the franchisees,” the source said last year.

For its part, the chain says this year’s competition was a “huge success”, adding that although participation was voluntary, thousands of restaurants took part.

The chain also said that some locations ended up doubling the number of sandwiches they offered to ensure guests received one and that “initial numbers indicate (they) far exceeded the promotion of the last year”.

Amber Lake

Amber Lake is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! and holds a journalism degree from UNF in Jacksonville, Florida. Read more