Subway agrees to measure its footlong subs to make sure they’re really 12 inches

Time to start stocking rulers behind the counter.
Time to start stocking rulers behind the counter.
Image: AP/Ted S. Warren
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In 2013, an Australian teenager ordered a “foot-long” sandwich from Subway, pulled out a ruler, and found that it measured a scant 11 inches (28 cm). His photo went viral, and triggered a major public relations headache for the fast-food chain, along with a class-action lawsuit for deceptive marketing practices.

More than two years later, Subway has settled the lawsuit, agreeing to institute new quality controls and to measure all six-inch and foot-long sandwiches before they are sold.  Subway will also cover the $525,000 in legal fees associated with the lawsuit, and may have to pay as much as $1,000 in damages to each of the ten plaintiffs who initially sued the chain.

Lawyers for Subway and the ten complaining customers signed the settlement agreement (PDF) in September, and released it this week. A judge is scheduled to  review the deal in January.

What if your next Subway sandwich comes in a little bit short? You won’t have much recourse: The plaintiffs and Subway parent company DAI note in the settlement that “because of the inherent variability in food production and the bread baking process, DAI will never be able to guarantee that each loaf of bread will be exactly 12 inches or greater in length after baking.”