Fast Food Frustration

One thing that frustrates me is when a company takes your business for granted. Lately, Jaime and I have been getting Subway before our show. They had the $5 footlong special going on.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve just had one annoying experience after another at a pair of local Subways. I attempted to call Subway to let them know, but apparently they don’t have a corporate phone number. So I tried to email them, but apparently they limit you to 3,000 characters. Is there some sort of limitation that prevents them from receiving or comprehending more than 3,000 characters, or have they randomly set a limit on customer comments?

Anyway, here’s the bulk of the email I tried to send. I don’t expect anything to come of it, but having put forth the effort to type it, and having Subway disallow any comments exceeding 3,000 characters, I figured I might as well post it here.

I went into my local Subway today, as I do most Wednesdays. I am disappointed with my experiences lately with this Subway, along with the downtown Savannah Subway, for several reasons.

First, today’s experience. A couple of months ago when Subway began heavily advertising that most sandwiches cost $5, I started getting the BMT instead of the Spicy Italian. Today, I went in planning to order two BMTs for $5 each. Unfortunately, the Subway was out of pepperoni. So, I ordered two Subway Clubs instead. I got to the checkout, and was told my total was $4 more than expected (40%!) because the special ended Sunday. I just saw the $5 footlong commercial on Sunday, and it didn’t mention anything about it being the last day for the sale. The employees didn’t mention anything about the special ending.

At the Subway, there were NO signs stating that the special ended, and no signs in the days leading up the the end of the special alerting customers when the special was to end. NONE. When you increase your price by 40%, even if it is after a sale, and especially after an extended sale that was heavily marketed, you need to let people know. Placing a simple sign at the start of the line that states that the “$5 for most footlongs has ended” should be a common courtesy to your customers. They could even use it as a great marketing opportunity, saying the special ended, but try one of these great subs instead.

I was not the first person, judging by the reactions of the Subway employees, to complain about the 40% price increase with no notice. I asked why there wasn’t a sign, and was told that no sign had been provided. When I asked why they didn’t make a sign to put at the front of the line, I was told that hand-written signs were not allowed (although they used hand-written signs when they ran out of cookies).

When you know what you want at Subway, there is no need to look at the menu. Had I known that the $5 footlong special for all sandwiches had ended, I would have ordered a different sandwich. Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to get the sandwich that I wanted, the Spicy Italian, because Subway was out of pepperoni, as ridiculous as that seems considering there is a huge sign encouraging you to add pepperoni to any sandwich, and that this Subway literally shares a sidewalk with a grocery store that sells pepperoni.

That is the second issue. Both Subways that I go to are perpetually out of at least one ingredient. This week, the Subway I went to had no pepperoni. The week before, the downtown Subway had ONLY white or wheat bread, and no Monterey Cheddar, Italian Herbs and Cheese, or any other type of bread. The week before, they were out of lettuce. It seems that every time I go into a Subway, they are out of a key ingredient. In fact, some Subways have certain ingredients that other Subways do not, like mozzarella cheese.

This makes no sense. Management should be trained to order proper amounts of supplies, and to bake appropriate amounts of bread. If they fail to order or prepare proper amounts of supplies, a system should be in place so that Subways can temporarily borrow ingredients from other stores. As a last resort, certain ingredients should be purchased locally. If none of these avenues are available, then a SIGN should be posted– even if it violates some arbitrary rule about hand-written signs– so that customers have an option to go elsewhere instead of having a negative Subway experience.

The last issue is that both of these Subways seem perpetually understaffed. Half the time I attempt to get a sandwich from Subway, I never even make it in the front door. When I see more than three people in line, and I see only one employee, I know that it is going to take at least ten minutes to get a sandwich. There are faster options.

I am not the only person who does this, either. If you happen to have a line form behind you while you are having your sandwich prepared, you can literally watch people walk up to the door, see the line, see that there is only one employee, and then leave.

Why does Subway not require that there be at least two employees staffing the counter at all times during the dinner rush, between 5PM and 8PM, and that all ingredients be fully prepared and restocked prior to that time? Long lines lose customers. Understaffed stores have long lines. The direct correlation is that understaffed stores lose customers; it is bad business.

Anyway, I doubt anyone will actually read this, but sometimes just putting your thoughts down can be a beneficial experience. I’ll still go to Subway, just not as often, and probably not for a while so as to give them time to fix their problems (not that I expect them to change anything based on a stupid blog post, but sometimes companies stumble into improvement, or realize that quality has diminished and self-correct).

That is all. :)