Grabbing a meal on the go can be a disappointing venture into a fast-food drive-thru, with greasy burgers and fries full of artery-clogging ingredients.
But the Subway chain has always positioned itself as a healthier alternative, and one that can take as little time as any drive-thru. So what is Subway? Where is this chain from, and how does it position itself on the dining out landscape? Here’s all the answers you need!
What Is Subway?
Subway restaurants are a fast-food chain that sells submarine sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup, and beverages as of 2023. Founded in the 1960s in Connecticut, the company is now multinational, with over 37,000 locations in more than 100 countries. Positioned as an alternative to burgers-and-fries fast food, Subway offers ingredients like deli meats and fresh vegetables.
You might be wondering what Subway is known for, what type of stores Subways has, what’s on the menu and how much it costs, and if it’s healthy. Wonder no more, I’m going to cover all of it below!
What Is Subway Known For?
Subway is an incredibly popular fast-food chain with a devoted following thanks, in part, to its image as a healthier option.
On top of that, Subway is well-known for its affordable footlong subs.
Once upon a time, they were advertised as “Five Dollar Footlongs,” but in 2021, the footlongs are a bit more expensive.
It’s a shame, because the jingle associated with those Five Dollar Footlongs was really catchy.
Today, those footlongs are around $8 or more, though the company offers a BOGO half-off deal instead.
Additionally, the Jared Fogle association was another major public relations win (which eventually turned into a considerable loss).
That said, Jared Fogle claimed that eating at Subway helped him lose 245 pounds, and ads would feature him holding up his old jeans for comparison.
As you can imagine, this definitely imprinted that Subway was a healthy fast-food option into the public’s mind.
However, the association went sour in 2015 when Fogle was arrested and imprisoned for inappropriate contact with and materials containing children.
How Is Subway Different?
Subway differentiates itself from both other fast-food chains and other submarine sandwich chains in several ways.
Subway separates itself from other fast-food chains through the following:
- Many more fresh vegetable options, including toppings like cucumbers, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, etc. at Subway
- No fried food at Subway
- Fewer drive-thrus (customers go inside to order or order online and via the mobile app for in-store or curbside pick-up)
- Food is made right before your eyes at Subway
Submarine Sandwich Chains
Although there are several other sub sandwich places out there, Subway still can differentiate itself, such as:
- Subway sandwiches tend to be healthier than other sandwich chains
- Subway tends to keep things classic; no crazy bells and whistles on its subs
- Toppings and bread options have largely remained the same at Subway
What Type Of Store Is Subway?
Subway stores feature both a restaurant portion, where customers can sit down at generously sized tables and an ordering/sandwich assembly area.
That said, stores are super casual and informal; come as you are, no need to change out of sweats.
At the ordering area, customers tell the sandwich artists what type of bread, meat, cheese, and toppings they want, while the subs are prepared before their very eyes.
Also, a transparent plastic partition separates customers and sandwich artists/food, so the food stays safe, but you can still see everything that’s going on.
What Can You Order At Subway?
If you’re craving a sandwich, the world is your oyster at Subway. With its many ingredients, most of which are interchangeable, you can customize your perfect meal.
Further, here’s a breakdown of Subway’s meat options, breads, toppings, and other items (note that most sandwiches can be made into a salad).
Meat Options & Combos
- Baja Chicken & Bacon
- Chicken & Bacon Ranch
- All-American Club
- Baja Steak & Jack
- Black Forest Ham
- Buffalo Chicken
- Cold Cut Combo
- Italian B.M.T.
- Meatball Marinara
- Oven Roasted Chicken
- Oven Roasted Turkey
- Oven Roasted Turkey & Ham
- Pizza Sub
- Roast Beef
- Spicy Italian
- Rotisserie-Style Chicken
- Turkey “Cali Fresh”
- Steak “Cali Fresh”
- Steak & Cheese
- Subway Club
- Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki
- Turkey Italiano
- Veggie Delite
- Veggie Patty
- Flatbread sandwiches (flatbread with meat, egg, and cheese)
Breads (in 6″ and 12″)
- Artisan Italian
- Hearty Multigrain
- Italian Herbs & Cheese
- Artisan Flatbread
- Tomato Basil
- Pepper Jack
- Monterey Cheddar
- Green Peppers
- Red Onions
- Black Olives
- Banana Peppers
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Regular Mayo
- Yellow Mustard
- Honey Mustard
- Buffalo Sauce
- Sweet Onion Sauce
- MVP Parmesan Vinaigrette
- Peppercorn Ranch
- Baja Chipotle
- Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese
- Sliced Avocado
- BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella
- Smashed Avocado
Additionally, Subway offers personal pizzas, sides like chips and cookies, and Coke products to drink.
Is Subway Expensive?
Subway’s prices are more comparable to fast-casual food than regular fast food, but the sandwiches are quite filling (and you can get as many toppings as you want).
For example, a footlong sub costs between $8 and $10; making it a meal, with a side and drink, tacks on an additional $2.89.
Meanwhile, the most expensive sandwich at Panera, the Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT, is $11.49, including a side. Then, if you want something to drink, a soda costs $2.49 extra.
Is Subway Healthy?
Subway can be healthy, but you have to choose your ingredients wisely. Unfortunately, many of its subs can be as bad as any burger and fries.
For example, the Chicken & Bacon Ranch sandwich at Subway clocks in at 1060 calories for a footlong, with a whopping 58 grams of fat.
For a healthier option, you can order a simple turkey sub with cheese, load up on fresh veggies, and opt for honey mustard, sweet onion sauce, or buffalo sauce for a tasty, lower-calorie bite.
Or, you can cut the carbs by getting your favorite sandwich toppings on a salad.
Is Subway Fast-Food?
Despite appearing healthier than McDonald’s or Arby’s, and the fewer drive-thrus, Subway is considered a fast-food chain.
That said, this is due mostly to speed; the ingredients are all pre-cut and ready to go, and you can be in and out in five minutes.
Moreover, commenters on Quora agree; one person mentions that Subway’s meats are pre-cooked or don’t even require cooking.
Additionally, FoodsVision agrees because of the chain’s speed; they say, “Almost everyone who eats here is in a hurry.”
If a healthier approach to a quick lunch is your desire, Subway is an excellent choice, and millions of fans around the world would agree.
Customers should beware, though, that just because healthy options exist on the menu, that doesn’t mean every sandwich is automatically good for you. Customize wisely!