Subway sandwich-ordering guide for the clueless, written by a true Sandwich Artist(TM).
Let's face it: It can be stressful to order a sandwich. You're hungry, and therefore cranky. You want food now. And before you can get it, you have to make dozens of minor choices about your food. If you're shy, you hate Subway because you have to interact with strangers. If you're indecisive, you hate Subway because you hold up the line trying to decide between American and pepper jack cheese. If you hate sandwiches, you hate Subway because, well, never mind. Nobody hates sandwiches.
Believe it or not, there are steps you can take to lessen your stress, take less time with the sandwich, and be more confident about your sandwich (hey, first comes the sandwich, next comes your self esteem.) And while doing all these things that benefit you, you also place the least amount of stress on your personal Sandwich Artist (TM).
The following is not endorsed by any Subway. It was written by a Subway employee as a joke, but also partly (hopefully) as a help to those who truly are traumatized by ordering a sandwich (as she herself was before she actually worked there!)
If you truly want to learn how to most effectively order a sandwich at Subway, and if you're really interested in getting a good sandwich while also being as nice as possible to the person making your sandwich, just remember that a little courtesy goes a long way, as it does with almost any human contact. Saying "hi", smiling, making eye contact, saying "please" occasionally, and even tipping (yes, it does happen, and it makes our day) - these are all things that are easy to do. Even if you forget and you accidentally order your vegetables in the wrong order, that isn't a big deal. The most important thing, and the thing that will make the biggest impression on your personal Sandwich Artist (TM) (I don't really know if I have to add that "(TM)" there but I probably should, just in case it's copyrighted or something) is your attitude toward the sandwich artist. So the food industry isn't the most glamorous place to work. Be nice to them anyway. They deserve it. They're making you lunch, for Pete's sake!
One more disclaimer: I suspect that not all Subways are alike. Be warned that 100% of this information is based on only one Subway, and that is the Subway that the author of this piece works at. I will attempt to make it known whenever I am unsure about whether other Subways do it this way or not, but please don't sue me if you go to a Subway and they don't have cheddar cheese.
Now, on to the sandwiches!
An alternate title for this section could be "Type of Sandwich." The amount of money you pay for your sandwich depends on the meat that goes on it. Every sandwich automatically comes with the option of cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, and vegetables.
Right now, then, you should be focusing on the meat.
The meat is the first thing that goes on the bread (I talk about bread in the next section.) This is why we are dealing with it first, before vegetables, or anything. See, we want to make things easier on you, and also easier on us. We have a process that we go through for making a sandwich, and it throws us off if we're trying to ask you what kind of bread you want and you say "I want olives, but no cucumbers, and tomatos and just a little bit of mayo." We're not at that stage in the process yet, and we'll get there when we come there. This section is designed to help you figure out what kind of sandwich you want.
Here are some of the basic kinds of meat we have:
-Roasted Chicken Breast
The names of sandwiches, shown up on the menu, can be self explanatory, such as "Turkey" or "Ham". You can safely assume from these titles that the respective sandwiches contain "turkey" or "ham". However, some names such as "spicy italian" are not self-explanatory. Allow me to explain some of them.
-Subway Melt (TM): Turkey, ham, and bacon.
-Subway Club (TM): Roast beef, turkey, and ham.
-Spicy Italian: Pepperoni and salami
-Italian BMT: Pepperoni, salami, and ham (word to the wise: Don't be all slangy and order an "Italian." Notice that we have two sandwiches titled "Italian" - the Spicy Italian and the Italian BMT. Not to mention that the white bread is confusingly titled Italian bread! Be specific with your Italians.)
Meat special options:
-Double meat (I think it costs 1 dollar extra for a six inch and 2 dollars extra for a foot long).
-Add bacon (they will add two strips to a six inch, and four strips to a foot long. This costs 50 cents for a six inch and 1 dollar for a foot long.)
Unless you are willing to pay extra, you can't ask for more meat. There is a standard amount of meat that is put on each sandwich, and your Sandwich Artist (TM) knows the appropriate amount of ham to put on. Exception: If you order the same sandwich from Subway every day, but one day they put on two pieces of turkey instead of three, it is of course excusable to call this matter to their attention.
As you approach the counter, these are the first three things you need to be thinking of:
1. How many sandwiches do I want?
2. What kind of bread do I want?
3. What size do I want?
Many people forget that the very first step to making a sandwich is...bread. They are so eager to tell you about the tuna, and the olives, and the mayonnaise, and the large soda they want - that they forget that item which makes a sandwich different from a salad: BREAD! Here are some ordering tips and random information.
How Many Sandwiches?
Every sandwich you order is made upon a sheet of white paper. The very first thing a Sandwich Artist does, after putting on gloves, is pulling out this white paper. If you are ordering multiple sandwiches, they want to know how many sheets of white paper to pull out, right at the start. It saves you time if you start out by stating how many sandwiches you are ordering. A good way to do this is simply to say, "I'll be getting three sandwiches."
Why don't you want to just tell them the first sandwich, and have them make that one completely, and then start over with the second, and so on? Well, there are several reasons:
1. Sandwich Artists do a lot of moving around. It takes more time for them to move from one end of the counter, to the other, and back, and back, and back again. It saves you time and it saves them energy to make all the sandwiches at the same time.
2. If there are multiple people making sandwiches, it helps to keep the sandwich-making area as uncluttered with half made sandwiches as possible. This way, we don't have two people working around three unfinished sandwiches at one end while the Artist attempts to complete the fourth at the other end.
3. If there are people in line behind you, you will have to constantly dodge and reconfigurate and step around people who are only ordering one sandwich (and thus are done before you are.) This saves you stress and hassle.
4. It's just nice for us if we know what we're dealing with up front. Don't have us make one sandwich, and then say "and for the next one..." as we're saying "what? I thought he was done..." and continue like that for the next five sandwiches. Sometimes, if you order an exceptionally large number of sandwiches, we have to essentially "call in backup" (that is, get help from our dear coworkers in the back) in order to get your sandwiches ready to eat in the shortest possible amount of time.
Okay? So now you know.
There are three sizes of bread. Listen carefully - they are not "small, medium, and large." We have "six inch", "twelve inch" (foot long), and "deli roll." A deli roll is not a sub; it's a round thing that costs slightly less than a six inch. It is also the sandwich that comes in a "Kids Pak," which is the Subway version of a Happy Meal (it also comes with a toy and a healthy fruit roll up, all in a recycled brown bag! Very healthy and good for the environment!). However, it is most likely that you want either a "six inch" or a "twelve inch" sub, considering you came to Subway.
Things not to say: If the Sandwich Artist (TM) takes out a foot long piece of bread, and you just told them you wanted a six inch, chances are that they plan to cut the bread in half. Half of a foot is six inches. We bake the bread in only one size: foot long. We cut them in half if customers want six inch sandwiches. Try to keep from saying "Hey, I told you I wanted a six inch!" unless they actually start putting meat on the foot long.If your bread looks dry and disgusting, it very well may be. It is always perfectly fine to say "Uh, that bread looks kind of dry; do you have anything fresher?" Sometimes the bread is dry, and believe me, we don't really want to serve it to people. But we don't really have a choice. However, it is always fine to ask for another piece.
Some of you remember that Subway used to cut their sandwiches differently. If you would like your sandwich cut that way, you can request it, but keep in mind that I was never trained to do that. I learned one day when a customer came in, requested it, and then proceeded to tell me how to do it. However, I've only done it once or twice. Your Sandwich Artist (TM) is not required to know how to do this.
Here are the types of bread we carry (I don't know about other Subways):
-Italian Herbs & Cheese.
Notes: Whole Wheat and Honey Oat are both made with wheat bread. Italian, Garlic, and Italian Herbs & Cheese are all made with white bread. In fact, "Italian" is just a fancy word for "white bread." The Sandwich Artist really doesn't care whether you use the term "white" or "Italian" if you want white bread.
If we are out of a specific kind of bread, we are terribly sorry. I know it's easy to get mad at us, but it's not our fault.
Today, upon being informed that we were out of Whole Wheat bread, a customer actually told my coworker, "You're messing up my diet!" as if it were her fault.
It's very difficult to predict the kinds of bread that people will order. For example, if we have an exceptionally large number of people ordering Whole Wheat bread, we may run out of it. When this happens, we often can't simply "get more" for several possible reasons.
1. We bake all the bread in the shop. If we don't have it, this means it has not been baked and there is absolutely none "in the back". Well, there is, but it's raw dough strips, and it's not technically "bread" yet.
2. Baking bread is a long process. After putting frozen strips in the cooler overnight, we have to flip, score, and squirt the bread, and roll the garlic, honey oat, and italian herbs and cheese bread in powder. Then, each tray of bread has to rise in the proofer. This takes about an hour. Then it has to bake, and then it has to cool. This takes time. If there is no wheat bread, ask when there will be.
3. Sometimes, if an unusually large number of people come in, every employee has to make sandwiches, and no one has time to go back and prepare the bread.
So, are you ready for your first contact with the Sandwich Artist (TM)? Here are a few examples of good, easy, non-confused ways to form your first sentence:
"Hi. I'd like two sandwiches. One foot long honey oat and one six inch wheat."
"Hello, I want a six inch club on wheat."
"Could I please have a foot long turkey on white?"
The next question that will probably be asked you by your Sandwich Artist (TM) is: "What kind of cheese do you want?" The option of cheese comes on every sandwich. It does not cost more to put cheese on. It does not cost more depending on what kind of cheese you get. It does not cost less if you do not want cheese.
Apparently, cheese is one of those areas in which Subways differ. We offer three kinds of cheese:
Other types of cheese people have asked us for (which causes me to think other Subways might have them) are:
We, personally, do not have those, however. Feel free to ask for them, but know that the store might not carry it.
Four slices of cheese are placed upon a foot long sandwich; two on a six inch. If you want alternating cheese, just ask for "half American and half cheddar" or something like that. If you want double cheese (50 cents for a six inch, 1 dollar for a foot long), ask for double cheese. You can't ask them to put more cheese on unless you're willing to pay extra for it.)
You may or may not want your sandwich toasted. Sandwiches that are typically toasted: Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Subway Melt, Philly Cheesesteak, and Chipotle Southwest Cheesesteak. The Sandwich Artist may ask you if you want your sandwich toasted right when you order your sandwich. Or, he/she may ask you directly after placing the cheese on top of your meat, since normally we toast sandwiches with just meat and cheese on. (Exceptions: You may ask to have your bread toasted before meat and cheese is put on, or you may want it toasted with meat, cheese, mayo, mustard, AND veggies. However, these are less common options, and will not be verbally presented to you; you must make your wishes known at the appropriate time.
What is toasting? Well, it's a rather newish idea. Your sandwich gets placed onto a tray, which goes into a speed cook oven. The sandwich artist hits a button. It takes a foot long sandwich 30 seconds to toast. It's actually very good. I always toast my sandwiches. Know two things so that you'll never have to ask:
1. Any sandwich can be either toasted or not toasted. If you don't want it toasted, ask for the meat to be heated up in the microwave.
2. It does not cost anything extra to toast a sandwich.
If your Sandwich Artist (TM) puts meat and cheese on your sandwich, and then (without asking you if you'd like it toasted) asks if you want mayonnaise and mustard, be sure to tell them if you want it toasted. It's very easy to forget to ask a customer if they'd like the sandwich toasted, because the toaster is not a visible part of the sandwich bar. It's easy just to walk the sandwich straight down the visible line of bread, meat, cheese, mayo, and vegetables. It's easy to forget that "the toaster question" should be asked somewhere between "bread" and "mayo". This is one of the questions that your Sandwich
Artist (TM) may likely forget.
Next, the Sandwich Artist (TM) will approach you with some version of the following question: "Mayonnaise or mustard?" You do, however, have a few more options than that. Some sandwiches typically come with other sauces, and you may have to say whether you want those are not. Here are three common sandwich sauces.
-The Chicken Bacon Ranch typically comes with Ranch dressing.
-The Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki typically comes with Sweet Onion Sauce.
-The Chipotle Southwest Cheeseteak typically comes with Chipotle sauce.
Theoretically, the Sandwich Artist should make sure you want these sauces on your sandwich before slathering them on, because lots of people don't want Ranch on their Chicken Bacon Ranch, etc.
Any sauce can be put on any sandwich, but we don't usually run through the list of sauces out loud. Here, then, is a complete list of every sauce we carry:
-Sweet Onion Sauce
-Chipotle Southwest Sauce
If you want a sauce besides mayonnaise or mustard, be sure to let the Sandwich Artist know.
Oh, and try not to be negative. If they say "mayonnaise or mustard?" try not to say "No mustard." Just say, "Mayo." It's not a huge deal, but it's amazing how differently I think of the customer if they answer every question negatively.
Again, a standard amount of sauce is put onto a sandwich. If you only want a little bit of mustard, say so. If you want more mayo, just say so. It does not cost more to add more sauce to a sandwich. It does not cost less to leave sauce off a sandwich.
Supposedly, there is a standard order that we are supposed to put vegetables on. However, this is not enforced very strictly.
Therefore, know that your personal Sandwich Artist (TM) may do things differently than I was trained to do. I usually ask the customer, "Onions, lettuce, or tomato?" and after that, "Anything else?"
You probably have in mind the vegetables you want on your sandwich, as you're looking at all the trays. But please listen to what the Artist is asking. Here are several things NOT to do. If I say "Onions, lettuce, or tomato?" Do NOT say:
"Yes. ACK! No onions! No lettuce either!" Instead, say: "Tomatoes."
"I don't like tomatoes. Ew, and I can't stand onions." Instead, say: "Lettuce."
"No...but I'll have some pickles, and some cucumbers, and some LETTUCE, and some TOMATOES...oh, and a few ONIONS." Instead say, "Yes."
"I want everything. ...Except onions. And no olives. No jalopenos either. And no green peppers." Instead, say, "Lettuce and tomato."
In other words, try to go with the flow. The Sandwich Artist is in charge of the sandwich; let them make it with whatever method is easiest to them (or whatever method they were trained by).
Amounts: It is perfectly fine to say "not very many onions." "Lots of olives, please." "I just want one tomato." However, know that the Artist is doing his/her best to put a standard amount on your sandwich, and it is not his or her fault that you don't want that amount. It's you that doesn't want a lot of onions, not them that's putting too much on.
Supposedly we are supposed to charge you extra for extra vegetables, but I've never really had the heart to do it. We know the sandwiches are already expensive. If I make you a sandwich and you ask for extra vegetables, I personally won't charge you extra. However, know that other Subways may possibly charge you extra. I don't know. So, don't be surprised if it happens, and don't be mad. If they adhere to a stricter policy than ours, please respect it. The employees don't want you to pay more money. It doesn't benefit them any. But they're just trying to do their jobs so they don't get in trouble.
Vegetables we carry:
"Everything": If you want "Everything,", say so. If you want "Everything but two ingredients," say so. If you want everything but three ingredients, just go ahead and list the ingredients you do want. Don't worry about confusing us and going too fast. We'll ask you again if we need to, and after only a few weeks at Subway I developed an amazing memory for vegetable lists. Sometimes, this happens:
Customer: "I want everything."
Me: "Okay." (I put onions on.)
Customer: "NO! No onions. Ugh, I can't STAND onions."
Me: (puts onions back, puts lettuce on, puts tomatos on, puts-)
Customer: "No peppercini."
Customer: " And no pickles, and no green peppers."
Me: (puts all remaining vegetables on.) "Salt and pepper? Oil and-"
Customer: "Yes! Everything!"
Don't be like that customer.
If you want a vegetable replaced (bigger cucumber, smaller pickle, etc), say so. If someone puts a green tomato on your sandwich, and you don't want a green tomato, say so! We don't like putting green tomatoes on sandwiches! And honestly, sometimes we just have bad tomatoes all the way. I hate that. Because, I love tomatoes, and it kills me to put green tomatoes on a customer's sandwich. I'm thinking, "don't you notice we only have GREEN tomatoes? Quick, tell me you don't want tomatoes, because I don't have a ripe one to give you!" I often throw away tomatoes in the process of putting them on a sandwich, because I don't want them to end up on anyone's sandwich. I would say tomatoes are the one vegetable that vary widely as far as quality goes. Pay attention to your tomatoes.
VII. Salt and Pepper, Oil and Vinegar.
These four are "final arrangements" (haha) for your sandwich. The Artist may ask you specifically if you want them, or he/she may just ask "anything else?" or "Is that all?" If you want them, now is the time to say so.
Now is also the time to make other arrangements, such as, "Could I have the two halves of my footlong wrapped separately?" or "could you cut that in thirds?"
If you are ordering multiple sandwiches, the Artist may forget to put them in a bigger bag for you convenience. It is perfectly fine to ask for one.
You have an option of purchasing a Fresh Value Meal (chips and a drink) with your sandwich, or cookies. Two cookies can be substituted for chips in a Meal at most Subways. The cookies are usually really good. They are also usually self serve.
You are now good to go. Good job! You now have all the information you need to confidently order a tasty Subway sandwich in the smallest amount of time, with the least amount of stress placed on both you and on your Personal Sandwich Artist (TM)
Many Subway stores now have a "special" of the day - that is, a six inch sandwich for 2.49. It's a good deal. Today's was tuna. Yesterday's was ham and turkey. The day before that was meatball. Etc.
Wraps: Wraps cost fifty cents more than six inch sandwiches, and essentially I think they're a way for Atkins dieters to still eat at Subway. Any six inch sandwich can be made into a wrap. It's basically all the sandwich ingredients wrapped up in a wheat tortilla instead of bread.
Salads: We make salads. Make sure you get a dressing packet if you want one, and make sure you get a fork and knife set.
IX.Subway cards and stamps
There has been a lot of controversy about this. Do we still take stamp cards? Do we still give out stamps? Do we take the little swipey cards? What's the difference? How many points do I need for a free sandwich? Can I transfer stamps to my card?
These are questions we constantly get from customers. Here's a short answer: I don't know. Every Subway is different. Some don't do the little green cards that you swipe. Some don't take stamp cards. We do both. I think it's just a big hassle, and I wish we didn't take stamp cards. Supposedly the day is coming when stamp cards will no longer be accepted. I personally can't stand them.
So, here's the deal. Eight stamps on a stamp card, with the purchase of a medium drink, will get you a free six inch sandwich. Sixteen stamps with the purchase of a medium drink will get you a free foot long sandwich. Ask for stamps or a stamp card if you want them; you won't get them automatically, and you probably won't have them offered to you. You have to ask. You get one stamp for every six inch sandwich and two stamps for every foot long.
However, the green subway cards are far superior. Be sure to let the Sandwich Artist know that you have a Subway Card before your order is rung up, otherwise no points will be added to your card. It's impossible. We just can't do it. We cannot manually add your card into the computer. That's it. Done. And customers have stomped out because of it. Technically we are suposed to ask you if you have a Subway card, but with all the other fifty questions we're supposed to ask, sometimes it gets a bit much to remember.
We cannot "transfer" stamps to your card.
The point system: basically, every time you make a purchase, points are added to your card. Check your receipt at the bottom for how many points you have. 90 points will give you a free foot long sandwich. 60 points will give you a free six inch sandwich. Lower amounts of points give you chips, cookies, etc. except I'm not sure how many points you need for those. When you want to redeem points, don't just hand the Artist your card and assume they know that you want to redeem. The machine doesn't know whether you want to take points away or add them on. Hand them the card and say, "I'd like to use my points for this" and point to the sandwich you want to use the points for. Make it simple for them.
It may take from 5 seconds to 1 minute for the machine to process your card. Be patient. Don't get mad at us; you only have to wait for 1 minute, but we have to wait for twenty combined minutes per day, and we sure don't like it anymore than you. Sometimes the computer server does a "dialup" thing which makes it take thirty seconds longer. It bugs us to death. Sometimes the server disconnects and your points don't go through, and there is nothing we can do about it. Please, don't act like its our fault. Go punch the floor or something if you're that upset.
X. Final notes
I cannot stress the importance of waiting until you come to the vegetables to tell the Artist which vegetables you want. I don't care how amazingly simple your sandwich is. A lot of people come in and say "I'll have three sandwiches. One is really really simple; it's just a tuna with mayonnaise and a little bit of mustard, and lettuce, tomato, and olive." Yes, that's simple, but there's a problem here: They ordered three sandwiches. We're dealing with three sandwiches here, and we have to start with bread. Plus, we want to do all three at the same time. Now, after dealing for the past four hours with mayonnaise, mustard, vegetables, etc,; it all gets muddled in our brains. Please, wait for the vegetables to say the vegetables. Otherwise, we have to deal with meat, cheese, toasting, and mayonnaise, and try to retain this information about vegetables for maybe 2 minutes while trying to work with your other sandwich options. This stresses us out.
Parmesan and Oregano: These are typically put on meatball subs. You may, however, request them for your own.
Try not to give your Sandwich Artist (TM) information at an inappropriate time. For example, if someone comes up and says "I want a six inch Italian BMT on white bread...and a small drink", there's nothing I can do about the drink. This isn't McDonalds, where you order your food and your drink at the same time. I'm trying to make your food. A different person might ring up your order, and you'll just have to repeat it. And if I ring up your order, you might get mad at me for not remembering that you wanted a small drink, even though you told me at a time when I had to deal with your mayonnaise and peppercinis. Chips, drinks, and cookies should all be mentioned at the cash register.
Thank you for taking the time to see the view from "the other side of the counter." We appreciate your smiles, your courtesy, and your tips, so please visit your nearest Subway today!