Franchises

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You
Image credit: Subway | Facebook
5 min read

With more than 44,000 locations across 110 countries, Subway is the world’s largest fast-food franchise. Since its birth in 1965 as a small sub shop, the sandwich king has grown into a corporate giant, one with an interesting history, to say the least.

Here are 20 surprising facts that you probably didn’t know about Subway.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway serves 5,300 sandwiches every minute.

Subway serves 5,300 sandwiches every minute.
Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images

Subway serves about 5,300 sandwiches every 60 seconds, which is roughly 320,000 sandwiches every hour.

Or think of it like this: 7.6 million subs every day, Business Insider reported in 2014. That’s enough to feed every person in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago combined.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

There are 38 million options to choose from.

There are 38 million options to choose from.
Image credit: Subway | Facebook
The possibilities are endless when choosing what to add to your sub. There are nearly 38 million total combinations available on the menu.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway uses 16 acres of lettuce every day.

Subway uses 16 acres of lettuce every day.
Image credit: Norman Posselt | Getty Images

In a 2013 tweet, the sandwich chain wrote: “Subway uses 16 acres of lettuce per day… How many football fields is that?”

If you’re curious, the answer is approximately 12.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

The “BMT” was named after an actual subway.

The “BMT” was named after an actual subway.
Image credit: Subway | Facebook
Subway’s classic “BMT” sandwich, which now stands for “Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest,” was originally named after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway was started by a 17-year-old boy.

Subway was started by a 17-year-old boy.
Image credit: Subway | Youtube
In 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca created Subway with a $1,000 loan from a family friend, Peter Buck.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway hosted a fashion show.

Subway hosted a fashion show.
Image credit: Subway | Facebook

Subway made its debut in the fashion industry in 2013, when it launched “Project Subway,” a New York City fashion show and competition challenging up-and-coming designers to create Subway-inspired designs.  

In 2014, designers were instructed to create garments “inspired by vegetables found at Subway restaurants.” In the year prior, the task was to create pieces out of sandwich wrappers, napkins and gift cards.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

“Subway” has multiple meanings.

“Subway” has multiple meanings.
Image credit: Subway | Facebook
Translated into Mandarin Chinese, Subway means “taste better than others.”
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

A sub used to cost $0.49.

A sub used to cost $0.49.
Image credit: Subway

The first Subway shop opened by the teenage entrepreneur was called “Pete’s Super Submarines” in Bridgeport, Conn.

On average, a sub would cost $0.49 to $0.69. The shop sold 312 subs on opening day.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

All Subway franchises smell the same.

All Subway franchises smell the same.
Image credit: Subway | Facebook

What makes all subways smell the same?

Although it remains a mystery, it’s hinted that the smell comes from the bread: each store bakes its own bread by thawing it before baking it behind the counter. Supposedly, the “caramelization smell of the sugar has something to do with it,” but it’s unknown what truly makes Subway's smell so unique.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway has more restaurants than McDonald’s.

Subway has more restaurants than McDonald’s.
Image credit: Scott Olson | Getty Images

Subway is the world’s largest fast food chain. With nearly 44,000 restaurants in 110 countries, it has more locations than McDonald's.

Subway employs more than 410,000 people.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

There was an elevated shop for construction workers.

There was an elevated shop for construction workers.
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images
During the reconstruction of 1 World Trade Center, Subway created a mobile sandwich shop for construction workers. Because elevator time was too slow for workers to go up and down the massive building during a 30-minute lunch break, Subway lifted a shop that would elevate higher and higher as construction continued.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

The Subway diet actually works.

The Subway diet actually works.
Image credit: David Lodge | Getty Images

Jared Fogle, Subway's now infamous former spokesperson, lost 245 pounds eating Subway sandwiches every day.

Fogle ate a six-inch turkey sandwich for lunch and a foot-long veggie sub for dinner. His secret? He never added cheese or mayo to his sandwiches.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway was sued for selling 11-inch “foot-long” subs.

Subway was sued for selling 11-inch “foot-long” subs.
Image credit: Matt Corby | Facebook

In 2013, Australian teen Matt Corbey took to Facebook to publish his disappointment with his 11-inch “footlong” sub after he measured a sandwich.

Corbey’s post sparked controversy. A class action suit was filed shortly after by people complaining about 11-inch sandwiches. Just this year, the case was settled: Subway agreed to institute practices to ensure its footlongs are actually 12 inches and paid $520,000 in legal fees and $500 to each of the 10 individuals who filed suit.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway bread used to share an ingredient used to make yoga mats.

Subway bread used to share an ingredient used to make yoga mats.
Image credit: D-Ozen | Getty Images

The company may have been fooling us all with its “Eat Fresh” slogan.

Although it is FDA-approved, the ingredient azodicarbonamide, a chemical commonly used in yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather, was found in the sandwich chain's bread products. Subway phased out the ingredient by mid-2014 after a backlash.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

There’s not much difference calories wise between Subway and McDonald's.

There’s not much difference calories wise between Subway and McDonald's.
Image credit: Tetra Images | Getty Images

A 2012 study conducted by UCLA and other research centers found that kids and young adults (ages 12 to 21) consumed roughly the same amount of calories eating a meal at Subway or McDonald's. They ultimately overate at both. Calorie counts were based off of the nutritional information provided on each company’s website.

The study also revealed that on average, McDonald’s sandwiches tend to be less caloric than Subway’s (572 vs. 784 calories).

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway has a secret menu.

Subway has a secret menu.
Image credit: Subway | Facebook
Subway has a secret menu that offers surprisingly gourmet options for a fast food franchise. From an eggs florentine flatbread to a chicken cordon bleu sub, a number of items are available that you would never imagine being served at a Subway.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

You can get free Subway when it rains in Los Angeles.

You can get free Subway when it rains in Los Angeles.
Image credit: Sean Pavone | Getty Images
Although poor weather is rare in southern California, pop into a Subway on the occasion that it does rain and you’ll get a free six-inch sub or hot soup when you purchase a foot-long sub and a large soda.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

A New York church serves Subway sandwiches.

A New York church serves Subway sandwiches.
Image credit: Subway

In Buffalo, N.Y., you can head over to Sunday morning service and pick up a footlong sub while you’re there.

The Rev. Darius Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church opened up the franchise in 2003 to provide job opportunities and feed the hungry.

20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway replaced ham and bacon with halal meat at some locations.

Subway replaced ham and bacon with halal meat at some locations.
Image credit: Subway
Due to a strong demand from Muslims in the U.K. and Ireland, Subway removed ham and bacon from 185 of its stores across the countries -- replacing those products with halal meat.
20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You

Subway broke a Guinness World Record.

Subway broke a Guinness World Record.
Image credit: Subway | Twitter

In 2015, Subway broke the Guinness World Record for “Most people making sandwiches simultaneously.”

At its annual convention in Las Vegas, 1,481 people -- including employees, vendors and suppliers -- made sandwiches at the same time.
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  • 20 Subway Facts That May Surprise You
  • Subway serves 5,300 sandwiches every minute.
  • There are 38 million options to choose from.
  • Subway uses 16 acres of lettuce every day.
  • The “BMT” was named after an actual subway.
  • Subway was started by a 17-year-old boy.
  • Subway hosted a fashion show.
  • “Subway” has multiple meanings.
  • A sub used to cost $0.49.
  • All Subway franchises smell the same.
  • Subway has more restaurants than McDonald’s.
  • There was an elevated shop for construction workers.
  • The Subway diet actually works.
  • Subway was sued for selling 11-inch “foot-long” subs.
  • Subway bread used to share an ingredient used to make yoga mats.
  • There’s not much difference calories wise between Subway and McDonald's.
  • Subway has a secret menu.
  • You can get free Subway when it rains in Los Angeles.
  • A New York church serves Subway sandwiches.
  • Subway replaced ham and bacon with halal meat at some locations.
  • Subway broke a Guinness World Record.
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