A former Subway franchisee says he's created a trove of videos containing brand secrets that, if revealed, could cost the company millions.
On Sunday, a video created by Arun Singhal, a former Subway franchisee from Melbourne, appeared on YouTube, uploaded under a pseudonym. Singhal reportedly attempted to blackmail Subway into paying him $35 million for not releasing this and other videos full of insider information on the sandwich chain.
The video discusses Subway's "secret recipe to deceive customers," focusing on the chain's heavily-hyped healthy offerings. Singhal says that, while sandwiches' calorie-counts and grams of fat seem low in advertising material, the true nutritional data when you consider bread, cheese, spreads and toppings are quite a bit more.
Coming off as the "healthy choice" in fast food is key to Subway's image. But, are Singhal's secrets the multimillion-dollar game-changer that Singhal says they are? Subway does, after all, provide all nutritional information on its website.
Unsurprisingly, there is more backstory to the video than a health-conscious former franchisee hoping to spread the word. At the core of the disagreement is Singhal's split with Subway.
Singhal claims he lost $350,000 investing in his own Subway franchise, which he reports was unfairly closed in April. According to Singhal, he lost his life's savings after being misled by the franchisor. Reportedly, his contract was canceled after breaking his franchise agreement. Following this, Singhal began threatening to reveal company secrets, demanding that Subway pay him $35 million to keep the videos private.
Subway subsequently filed an injunction order against Singhal. The injunction, filed by Subway Australia, covers the recently released video. Singhal says the video was leaked by someone else from his stolen laptop, according to The Age, an Australia-based news publication.
"It is disappointing that a former franchisee from Australia would attempt to exploit the Subway brand for money and cause harm to our hard-working franchisee owners," a Subway spokesperson said in a statement. "The vast majority of our franchisees are satisfied with the Subway brand."
Since Subway already had an injunction in place against Singhal, the sandwich chain will likely take the former franchisee to court over his video. Unless Singhal has more secrets ready to be leaked, it seems likely the franchisee will only lose more money in his multi-million blackmailing attempt.