25 Alarming Confessions From Subway Employees

September 23, 2019

Subway employees are named sandwich artists for a reason. They’ll make your order look like a masterpiece and create any kind of sub you’d want. Want a pickle-only sandwich? You got it. How about a tuna fish flatbread with olive oil, cucumbers and black olives? Yes, they will make it. While it’s part of their job to make sure weird sandwich orders come to fruition, it’s not the only thing Subway employees have to do — it’s also part of their M.O. to keep a lot of secrets about how Subway runs their business… until now.

When you search on Reddit, you can find a lot of Subway employees “confessioning” about their job. While a lot of these confessions are no-brainers, a few of them might make your jaw drop to the floor. Good news is: It’s better to know the truth, just in case you’re thinking of snagging one of their yummy subs or drool-worthy cookies (because who can really deny those, right?). The bad news is: You may never want to eat at a Subway again—and that’s completely okay. While the relationship might be over for good (RIP) at least you know what’s really going on at this fast-food joint. Because at the end of the day, don’t you want to eat fresh? We know we do.

Are you prepared to find out exactly what goes on behind-the-scenes at a Subway? Scroll below with caution, and read these confessions to get the full deets.

1. A manager would keep food long past their expiration date.

Nope. This is awful.

“I used to work at Subway. My manager at the time was really conscious of food costs—to a fault. Most commonly was changing the expiration dates of food so it wouldn’t have to be thrown out. This may not be a huge deal for a couple [of] days, but food would last a couple [of] weeks. He would also take lettuce in a pan and put it back into the bag.”

Oh, it gets worse.

“Finally, he kept frozen (unbaked) bread for over a year. It was so old that the yeast had died, causing the bread to not rise. He was fired after I got fed up and blew the whistle to the franchise owner.”

2. Employees are required to “cook” the prepared meats.

This means even microwaving them. Gross.

“The worst was probably Subway. We did rotation by changing the labels on the bins. Everything comes in bags and the steak is about the most disgusting smelling thing ever in large quantities. We weren’t allowed to not toast the prepared meats, even if customers didn’t want their sandwiches toasted. Probably to kill all the E. coli.”

Their boss even fired them for going to a funeral.

“I also once found a [moldy] tomato and tried to throw it out. My boss told me to slice it anyway and I watched in dismay as it was added to a sandwich. But that was just one chain and the owner fired me because I took a day off to go to my great-grandfather’s funeral. Probably skeevy people all around.”

3. Sometimes the tomatoes are not properly washed.

Examine the tomatoes before you order.

Who needs tomatoes anyway?

“I will never eat at a Subway again after working there: They don’t wash the tomatoes. They go right from that crate they come in from Mexico, with all the dirt all over them, into the slicer. Then they use that slicer to slice your deli meat without cleaning it first.”

4. Nothing is fresh.

Eat fresh? No, not exactly.

Guess their marketing is all a lie?

“I worked at Subway: NOTHING was fresh. Everything was frozen, even the lettuce was precut in a bag in the freezer. The meat, same deal, the bread was in little frozen dough balls. I don’t understand how they can say ‘eat fresh.'”

5. The wheat bread is not as healthy as you think.

Even when you try to eat healthily, they’ve found a way to mess it up.

Oh, this is bad.

“I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but don’t buy any variety of wheat bread at Subway. It’s actually worse for you than getting the Italian. It’s dyed with plenty of added [stuff] to make it look and taste different.”

6. Some employees didn’t have time to constantly change their gloves.

At least the some of the veggies were cleaned for the most part.

“I worked at a Subway, and it was generally pretty clean. All of the meats come straight from the magical Subway mass-animal destruction facility in god-knows-where. The veggies were pretty well-kept (except the tomatoes, which had their good days and their very, very bad days).”

However, you can ask the employees to change their gloves, just to be safe.

“My only suggestion is to ask the employees to change their gloves, if you really care about being sanitary. Sometimes during an extremely busy shift, I could go three or four hours doing nothing but making sandwiches, and those gloves got pretty [darn] gnarly.”

7. The bread and cookie doughs come frozen.

Not even the bread is fresh?

The cookies make sense, though.

“Fresh-baked bread? Subway’s ‘fresh-baked bread’ is actually frozen breadsticks that turn into dough when they thaw. So yes, we thaw frozen breadsticks and put them in the oven. If you want to call that ‘fresh-baked bread,’ go ahead and do it. Those cookies are just frozen balls of dough, too.”

8. An employee would shove leftover meat back in a container to be used again.

We’ll pass.

Is this sanitary? N.O.

“At the end of the day, if there’s leftover meat that’s been out in the open for a while (on the counter), it’s just shoved back in the fridge and used the next day. Generally quite sanitary aside from that.”

9. A manager used bacteria-infested buckets for their meats.

We’re going to be sick.

This doesn’t sound good.

“I work at Subway and [I’ve] seen four cockroaches in the last three shifts. Also, my manager says to change the buckets the food is in because there [are] bacteria at the bottom. He continues to replace said food into [the] bacteria-infested bucket.”

10. The meats are packaged in methane.

Mmm. Delicious.

We can confidently say this isn’t good for us.

“Our cookies come already made up in frozen circles. Oh, and our meat comes packaged in methane, so it smells like a gigantic fart whenever you open the packages.”

11. Some of the cheese isn’t real.

Oh, really?

Well, just make sure to never add cheese onto our sandwich again.

“Subway cheese is not actually cheese. It is a solidified cheese ‘spread’ which, if left in water for a period of time, loses all of its artificial yellow colorings and turns a pallid gray.”

12. The grill marks on the chicken are also not real.

Everything is a lie.

How is this okay?

“I worked at Subway for almost three years, first things off the top of my mind: Those grill marks on the chicken? Food coloring.”

13. You can ask for as many vegetables as you want.

Now you’re speaking our language.

More veggies, the better.

“Most people know this but, ask for as many veggies as you want. Veggies are free of charge. For example, ‘Can I have spinach, please? A bit more, please. Just grab a whole handful and shove it on there please.’ There’s no limit.”

14. Employees never clean the sauce bottles.

And this is why we can’t have nice things.

“The sauce/dressing bottles never get washed, only refilled. The bottom of the bottle scares me. Bottles at my store got replaced with new ones once every six months.”

Just make sure to never add oil and vinegar to your subs moving forward.

15. If you order a Veggie Delight, you’re supposed to get double cheese.

If you don’t, inform the employee. Them the rules!

“At Subway, Veggie Delights are supposed to give double cheese for free, but only if you ask for it. If you ask for it and they say it’s not free, they haven’t been trained properly so they don’t know any better (a lot of Subway workers aren’t).”

Even if it’s a manager, say something.

“Hell, sometimes even managers don’t know. Insist that it’s free. It’s true, I promise. Ask for the franchise owner’s phone number if you have to.”

16. Sometimes the chicken isn’t thawed properly.

Luckily, there’s a way around this.

“If the chicken breast isn’t being kept in a hot well (the metal case that the meatballs get held in) ask them to microwave the chicken breast; even if you get the sandwich toasted.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

“A lot of times, the chicken breasts aren’t thawed properly and even if you toast the sandwich, it will be cold in the middle.”

17. Sometimes the food buckets get mixed with different food items.

Think twice before ordering your cookies now.

Mmm. Onion-flavored cookies.

“[I’m a ] former fast-food worker at Subway. If your coworkers are vapid enough to put cookies in the Tupperware formerly used for onions, even if [they are] thoroughly washed and sanitized, you’ll get onion-flavored cookies.

18. The tuna sandwich isn’t as healthy as you may believe.

Would you like mayo with your tuna?

“Your Subway tuna sandwich is 90% mayonnaise. How did we prepare the tuna? Take one can of tuna the size of your fist and empty it into a vat. Take a big [two-liter] bag of mayonnaise and splosh it in the vat. Mix it haphazardly for two minutes until it’s a semi-consistent mush.”

Whatever you do, don’t add extra mayo.

“Cringe when customers ask for ‘just a little bit’ of light mayo on their tuna sandwich because they’re on a diet.”

19. This one Subway drained their vegetables over the dishwasher.

At least their vegetables are fresh and clean?

Luckily, not all Subway restaurants do this.

“The olives and [jalapeno] peppers come in little bags that you have to slice open and drain, and they taught us to hang the bag over the dishwashing sink while they drain. That means that while we wash the dishes using industrial strength sterilizer, your peppers and olives are getting splashed with it. [I] could go on…”

20. The lettuce can be left in the bag for a long time.

Wait, what?

Why do people think this is a good idea?

“You don’t quite ‘eat fresh’ at Subway. The lettuce is shipped to stores from California [pre-shredded] and can sit in the fridge for a week (shredded, mind you!) before it’s used.”

21. The soups aren’t made in-house.

It seems everything is frozen.

Of course, they’re not…

“Probably the worst thing I can think of about the Subway I work at is that our things aren’t as fresh as we portray them. Our soups are made from big, frozen blocks, and our bread comes in frozen sticks.”

22. There are only two kinds of bread.

All those selections of bread? They’re fake.

White and wheat are your only options.

“There are two kinds of bread, white and wheat, and you put toppings on them before [you] bake. If  [the] dough fell on the floor, it often became one of the topping varieties.”

23. Refrain from ordering meatballs at night.

Step away from the meatballs.

Whatever, you do, don’t order a meatball sandwich.

“My store is usually really good at keeping all items fresh, but even at ours, there is one thing I would recommend. The meatballs get kind of nasty fast, so I wouldn’t recommend getting those at night when we’re about to close.”

24. The glass window never got cleaned at this one Subway joint.

Your sandwich might be covered with cleaning products.

“A cousin of mine used to work at Subway and told me so many horror stories. I understand each Subway is operated differently but this is what she told me about her. If any meat hits the ground within a minute, tons of ants and bugs swarmed over all over it.”

They have one job.

“The employees also never opened the glass window that separates the food products from the customers when cleaning it with Windex or other cleaning products. So all the mean and veggies got a nice showering of cleaning products a few times a day.”

25. Employees will use vegetables even when they’re covered in mold.

Oh. My. God. No.

Why is this allowed to happen?

“Produce comes from a Central factory. Tomatoes [will] arrive green and are given a ‘gas’ treatment at [the] factory to get their red color. Some tomatoes are moldy and gross, we just either cut around the mold or throw away the moldy tomato and rinse the rest.”