On the Go: RSS | Email Alerts | Wireless

Archives | Submit an I-Team Tip | RSS feed


Last Update: 6/26 4:55 pm
By Investigator Joe Ducey

They're easy, filling and available in just about any size. No wonder, large sub sandwiches are the "must have" food of many super bowl parties. It's a no brainer right, since most party sub sandwiches are sold in 3 foot sections, that's what you'd expect.

It's what numerous customers told me and what workers at sub shops said as I picked up my 3-foot party subs. It's what one employee promised me at an Albertson's store and at a Subway shop across town.

But the ABC 15 Investigators found buried deep within the turkey and toppings, these subs have a secret, that many are pretending to be more than they really are!

We bought party subs from 6 valley shops. Each time the sub size was written on the menu and confirmed by the workers. We then hauled them to the Arizona department of Weights and Measures where they take these things very seriously.

"And the serial number of the tape is 14696."  With her calibrated measuring tape and keen eye for size, Kelley Larson measures just about everything as the states official metrologist.

"We're looking straight down at this edge," Kelley says measuring a sub.

Everything here is recorded and on the first measure, a shock. This 3 foot Blimpie sub is actually 2 feet, 10 inches long. Fluke? We tested another 3-footer from a different Blimpies.

"Ok, this sandwich is 2 feet 9 and 1/2 inches long," Kelly says after measuring the Blimpie sub.

Even shorter. Next up, the Albertsons 3 foot party sub. "This one is 2' 10 3/4," she says.

It too, short. Over 2 days, we tested the 9 subs and found most didn't meet state regulations.

"Surprising? Very much so," says Dennis Ehrhard who is Weights and Measures assistant director.

"You can see there's definite gaps between the individual slices and they're still coming up drastically short'" Ehrhard says.

Ehrhard says in order to meet regulations, a 36 inch sub must be at least 34.92 inches.

"These are shorter than the maximum allowable variance," Ehrhard says.

His office recently warned Subway, for shorting a customer and the ABC 15 Investigators found Subway was the biggest offender in our test.

"This sandwich is 2 foot 8 1/4 inches long," Kelley measures.

Our first Subway measurement? Our largest shortage yet and we found the same thing again.

"Uncut it's 2 8 1/2 inches long," she says

And again.

"Ok, this sandwich is 2 foot 8 inches long," Kelley says.

That last Subway sandwich was 4 inches short, at least once serving. Think of it this way. If you planned on your 36 inch sub to feed all 9 people at your party, don't count on it.

"If that sandwich was to cost you 20 dollars, that's 2 bucks of sandwich you didn't get," Erhard calculates.

Not all subs flunked. Bashas was within regulations, just 1/2 inch shy. and 2 subs were larger than ordered; Safeway by an inch and Cousins by 2.

But, overall, 7 of the 9 subs measured were short and none were exact.

With so many Subway's short, we had one more measurement.

"Ok Brian, let me know when you have a zero." Kelley says.

We decided to measure the box itself and guess what.

"It's 2 foot 10 3/4 inches in length," Kelley measures.

The Subway 3 foot box can't even hold a 3 foot sub.

If you have similar concerns, contact the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures at www.azdwm.gov.


The ABC15 Investigators asked each of the companies where we bought subs to give us a statement. Listed below are their full statements:

Statement from Subway:

"Thank you for your inquiry. At Subway restaurants, quality and customer satisfaction are our main priorities. Whether feeding the team, feeding the crew or feeding the family, Subway Giant Subs have become synonymous with big game festivities, special occasions, meetings and parties.

Although our Customer Care department has not received any similar complaints, we were disturbed to learn of the findings of KNVX's [sic] investigation and feel that this is a genuine concern. While the bread has to be stretched by hand to the proper length prior to being placed in the oven, the amount of ingredients in the Giant Sub remains consistent. With that in mind, we are currently in the process of reevaluating our advertising, promotional, training and packaging materials with regard to the specific or implied length of Giant Subs and are taking steps to advise our franchisees to only discuss with customers the approximate number of expected servings and not a specific length of measurement."

Les Winograd
Public Relations Coordinator
Subway Restaurants

Statement from Safeway:

"Thank you for your inquiry about our Deli Sub Sandwiches.

We are proud of the reputation we have earned for crafting fresh, flavorful sandwiches for our customers. Our Signature sandwiches are made fresh with high quality artisan breads baked fresh daily and premium Primo Taglio meats and cheeses. Primo Taglio meats are whole muscle with no fillers or binders. The beef is top USDA choice and the hams are all hand trimmed. Our self-service sandwich selection offers a variety of breads, meats, cheeses and unique sauces and spreads.

At Safeway, our goal is to provide a complete shopping experience, with the accent on the quality of perishable that our customers are looking for, a foodservice offering that meets our customers' needs and the national brands that our customers know and love."


Nikki Daly
Director, Public Affairs

Statement from Cousins Subs:

"Since 1972, Cousins Subs has been dedicated to offering delicious subs, made on fresh baked bread, and piled high with the highest quality meats, cheeses and veggies. Every Cousins Subs restaurant, either franchised or company owned, follows strict standards to ensure that our guests receive the quality and value they have come to expect from us since the opening of our first store in 1972. It is our rigorous attention standards and quality that sets us apart from our competitors."

Lawrence J. Weissman
Vice President - Marketing
Cousins Submarines, Inc.

Statement from Bashas':

"Thanks, ABC15, for making sure that sandwich shops Valley-wide "measure up" to customers' expectations!  It's great to know that Bashas' didn't come up short.

Because sandwich length depends on bun length, everything is dictated by our in-store bakeries.  They "rope" the uncooked dough to 36-plus inches so that after proofing and baking the final product comes in at the proper length.  Quite often, in fact, the bun ends up longer than 36 inches and we have to trim the ends to fit in the three-foot box.

Thanks again.  We're happy to let Valley sandwich buyers know that at Bashas', they're getting everything they pay for."

Rob Johnson
Bashas' Public Relations

Statement from Blimpie/Kahala Corp:

"To provide the highest quality sandwiches to our customers, we freshly bake our bread on the premises.  During the baking process there are a number of factors that are involved (which include, but are not limited to): Temperature, Humidity, Time Spent Proofing.  Any one of these factors may have contributed to a measurement of slightly less than three feet.  We continuously strive to serve the best products. Proofing and baking instructions are provided to every franchisee during training and we visit each restaurant on a monthly basis for performance reviews."

  This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital Media.