Subway: Eat Fresh Refresh program

subway. eat fresh refreshYou may have heard that the Subway restaurants will be closing early on Monday, July 12 to implement their Eat Fresh Refresh program. It will open the next day with a menu that “features updated ingredients, as well as new sandwiches and revamps of existing options. Added ingredients include new breads, smashed avocado, and marinated steak, among others.”

The changes, not all of them clarified, reportedly will include:
Italian bread
Multigrain bread
Smashed avocado
Fresh mozzarella
Parmesan vinaigrette
Bacon (it will now be hickory-smoked)
Black forest ham (it will be sliced thin)
Oven-roasted turkey (it will be sliced thin)
Steak (new seasoning)
Rotisserie-style chicken (seasoned with new Subway secret rub)
Roast beef (a new type of Angus beef will debut)


CNN notes: “To encourage customers to try the new ingredients, thousands of restaurants plan to give away up to one million free sandwiches” – a  six-inch Turkey Cali Fresh – “between 10 AM and 12 PM on July 13. The chain is also updating the look of its app and partnering with DoorDash to let customers order delivery directly from the Subway app.”

When I was a business librarian, not so long ago, Subway usually ranked very high in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 calculation. The publication looked at hundreds of franchises’ Costs and Fees; Support; Size and Growth; Brand Strength; and Financial Strength and Stability.

In 2011, Subway was #9 on the list. Then it was #2 in 2012 and 2013, #3 in 2014 and 2015, and #5 in 2016. But it dropped to #35 in 2017, then plummeted to #105 (2018), and #125 (2019), before an uptick to #107 in 2020.

Is it real?

In October 2020, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that Subway’s rolls used for hot sandwiches should not be considered as actual bread items, BBC News reports. The court said Subway’s bread has a high amount of sugar, which disqualifies the bread from being actual bread.

More recently, The New York Times and a lab collaborated on analysis to review the meat. The lab found that the meat had no real origin. “No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA. Therefore, we cannot identify the species,” the results read.

Subway has doubled down on their tuna. “While many of Subway’s core protein choices were improved as part of the Eat Fresh Refresh, one ingredient that doesn’t need an upgrade is the Subway high-quality, premium tuna. Subway sources tuna from leading global food suppliers that have a reputation for working diligently with food safety and quality experts to ensure consistent, high-quality products at every stage of the supply chain.”

Independence Day

There is a Subway two blocks from my house. I’ve discovered that ordering online is generally quicker. On the 4th of July, my wife was away helping her mother. After my daughter and her beau spent time washing the porch and trimming the tree branches, among other tasks, I ordered sandwiches for the three of us, then went a few minutes later to pick them up.

There was one guy behind the counter. At my designated pickup time – set by the Subway app, not me – he was still working on the previous customer’s meal. Soon, there were three people behind me as he prepared my order, though one eventually left, audibly disgruntled.

The preparer was very apologetic to the guy in front of me, and then to me. No problem; I’ve been there. So if Subway’s going to Eat Fresh Refresh its menu, I hope this franchise also does something about its staffing.

The Lydster, Part 118: shared songs

abraham_lincoln_subwayI have what I imagine is an annoying habit. Someone says something, and it often leads me to a song. Those references to music in my blogs are not an affectation, or looked up to be hip, it’s just THERE in my head.

The habit used to drive my dear late mother crazy when I was growing up, and I knew far fewer songs then. The Wife tolerates it, but The Daughter hated it. Or used to, until she started doing it herself.

The turning point involved a Subway commercial.

Periodically, the sandwich restaurant offers all their twelve inch sandwiches for five bucks each. Or as the maddeningly catchy repeated four bars go:
It’s the minor key ending that’s the clincher.

The ad, in some variation has been around since 2008. WATCH THIS ONE, or several like it.

Not only do we sing it together, in harmony, no less, she’s now taken to coming up with new lyrics, such as:

So I bug my daughter less than I used to. Is this, or is this not, a good thing?
A Motown medley my daughter and her classmates will be singing this month.

The imaginary subway ride

Almost by instinct, her husband and I started riffing back and forth.

Took the Daughter to the New York State Museum a couple of weekends ago. Actually, it was on a Saturday, since the museum was closed at the time on Sunday, for budgetary reasons, despite the fact that it was the second most popular visiting day. (Happy day: starting September 16, the museum will be open on Sunday, and closed on Monday, the least used day.)

The Daughter and I, in addition to seeing the exhibits, got to ride on the carousel. She rode about four times; I was satisfied with one trek.

We stopped at Discovery Place for kids. The displays noted that the world was hundreds of millions of years old. Given some recent conversation with relatives who believe that the Earth is only 7,000 years old, I was wondering how it would have gone down had we all been visiting this room.

One of the features of the permanent exhibit of the Museum is a subway car, not unlike the one shown here. There was this lovely older couple, who we had seen earlier elsewhere in the museum. She asked if the Daughter had taken dance lessons – she had – because of the way the Daughter moved. He said his wife was a great dance teacher, though she demurred over the description.

Then the woman asked why the train wasn’t moving. Almost by instinct, her husband and I started riffing back and forth: The train’s stopped because the new conductor is late for his shift. He was out drinking last night. But he’s very good at making up time. Though he tends to ride right past scheduled stops. He was late last month too. His supervisor is very understanding.

Though it was her joke that started the dialogue between her husband and me, she becomes quite bemused by it all. How did we know all of this information about the conductor? And how did we start to chat about him, as though we had rehearsed it? Her reaction puzzled me unless she too was acting. Or I thought of a totally different, sadder, scenario, after the fact.

Getting Around and Getting Along in Canada

Most of the bicyclists were not wearing helmets, which I think is crazy, but such is the confidence he pedalists have in their drivers.

I don’t want to say that everyone we saw in Canada was nicer than the folks in the United States. A couple of the folks at the first hotel were, let’s say, indifferent. And the very first person we dealt with on the subway was clearly frustrated that we didn’t understand her incomprehensible instructions.

By and large, however, I found it a joy to be in Canada, especially Toronto. Other subway workers in the big city were quite helpful, and even complete strangers initiated contact to assist us when we looked confused.

Once we got the hang of it, we found the Toronto subway to be quite usable. Reasonably clean, mostly on time – except for that delay on the way to the zoo – and the riders were not openly hostile, as I’ve experienced in more than a few major American cities.

The bus trip to the zoo was actually fun, with people generally compliant with the signs to move back. We were near three high school girls from the suburbs who were native Chinese speakers but were studying English words for some major comprehensive test, perhaps the SATs.

Apparently driving out of Toronto in the afternoon is OK until about 3:30 pm, except on Friday afternoons in the summer, which is when we departed at 2 pm and got into a major traffic slowdown east of the city. That’s why, I suppose, the highway has all of those LED road signs imploring people to Try Mass Transit, or Use Mass Transit. And when a merged lane sign shows up, the drivers were generally quite content to let a driver in, taking turns.

In Toronto, I’ve never seen so many people riding bicycles in North America in my life. And unlike in Albany, NY, the drivers weren’t hostile to them. Most of the bicyclists were not wearing helmets, which I think is crazy, but such is the confidence the pedalists have in their drivers.

Oh, and cars yield to pedestrians – what’s THAT all about? I was practically in shock when cars stopped at the intersection and waited for the people to cross the street, even folks who were not at the intersection before the auto was. This would never happen in Albany. The one sign of impatience is when the drivers ARE making their right turns, either with the light or especially right on red, they will usually have one or two drivers turn after the light is red. So don’t step off the curb right away.

I even liked a lot of Canadian television, the little we saw, generally in the morning and evening. There was some morning show that gave a lot more of what I consider REAL news than the US equivalents do after the first half-hour. One segment was about homelessness in Canada, and the host showed real concern. Oh, and my wife got to see a performance by one of her two favorite singers, Diana Krall.

My favorite moment in Toronto: we were at the Ontario Science Centre. We bought a one-use camera for the Daughter, which was reasonably priced, BTW. She proceeded to misplace it. When I finally noticed this, I contacted the nearest employee and asked what I could do. He said, “Wait here,” walked over to the Lost and Found and in a few minutes, brought the camera to me. Usually, in such situations in the past, at best, an employee would direct me to the Lost and Found, where the camera might or might not have been returned. This outcome was, as they say, way cool.

So I was quite surprised in reading a comment to this blogpost by Arthur about the most livable cities. One of his LOCs stated: “I hope Toronto is not in the top ten! I was transferred here 6 months ago and as someone who has traveled all over and lived in South Africa, Australia, DC, LA, etc – I can tell you Toronto is not in the top ten!! Angriest people in North America, expensive, horrible weather. 6 months to go if I can make it.” (It’s #4, BTW.)

Now I did not live there. It was only four days. But there was a point, walking by the Royal Ontario Museum on our second day there when I said to my wife: “I think I could live here,” assuming that we had employment, etc. Good mass transit, bikes, educational capital, intellectual stimulation, massive multiculturalism; there were plenty of places we DIDN’T get a chance to see. And there are angrier people in lots of US cities I’ve been to, starting with Albany, NY.
Heather Morris’ Staples Canada Back To School Commercial. Heather Morris, from the TV show Glee, is not from Canada, BTW.

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