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January 14, 2012 / Nick

Subway (restaurant)

At some point in the last decade or so, ‘quirky’ eating outlets that make first-time diners feel as awkward as possible became hugely popular.

It started with the Nandos ‘do we look like your servants? Get off your arse and order your own food’ ethos, which, while now accepted by many, still confounds citizens of smaller UK settlements lucky enough to be blessed by the Nando’s national rollout (‘I hear they’re opening one of these “Nandosses” on the High Street, Pam. Eileen took her kids to one when she went up to Taunton last month – said they butchered the chickens IN FRONT OF HER VERY EYES! I know!’).

Gradually, we’ve reached a stage where cafes and restaurants are asking us baffling questions like “Shall I upgrade you to Phoenix Style mayo?” or “Would you like that in a brocco or a tapalé? A brocco is just 30p more” or “How would you like your cabbage – murdered or raped?”.

Is everything okay with your babalino, sir? Would you like more melgrano?

You feel so embarrassed as a first-timer having to say you don’t understand what your ‘barista’ or ‘passador’ is asking, and they must feel like complete jeb ends having to ask fellow English speakers such ridiculous questions hundreds of times a day. It’s especially embarrassing when you’re in the company of someone who makes a weekly pilgrimage to get their hit of  murdered cabbage and can’t understand why you find such a simple task of selecting how you want your food so difficult.

Subway, ostensibly just a shop selling sandwiches, is somewhere on this spectrum of food outlets that require you to pass a GNVQ (or level-3 diploma equivalent) to actually get lunch. When you’re a regular Subway goer, it feels normal. You forget what it was like to be a Subway virgin. Until, in a state of hunger, you find yourself stood behind a Subway novice…

Stuck in the queue behind a Subway first-timer

I’m nearly at the front of the queue. I’m so close to getting my lunch on. This geezer in front looks like he could be a first-timer though.

Customer: Hi mate, can I have a ham sandwich please?

Oh here we go!

Sandwich Artist: What bread?

Customer: Pardon?

Sandwich Artist: What bread would you like?

Customer: Err…in a roll please.

Sandwich Artist: [Pointing out the tray of perpetually fresh breads] Choose which type of ‘roll’, sir.

Customer: [looks at selection] What’s ‘Italian’?

Sandwich Artist: Just white.

Customer: Hmm…and what’s ‘Hearty Italian’?

Sandwich Artist: White with…erm…heartiness.

Customer: Okay. I’ll just have brown actually.

Sandwich Artist: Wheat?

Customer: Well, yeah. It’s bread.

Sandwich Artist: No, ‘Wheat’ is brown, ‘Italian’ is white. You want ‘Wheat’, yes?

Customer: Sure.

Sandwich Artist: Footlong or six-inch?

Customer: What do you mean?

Sandwich Artist: Do you want full size bread or half size?


Sandwich Artist: [demonstrates with hands on loaf]

Customer: Oh right. Half size will be fine.

Sandwich Artist: With ham?

Customer: Yes please. Can I have some tomato as well?

Sandwich Artist: Yes, I’ll get to that bit in a second.

Customer: Okay. Can I have the turkey as well actually?

Sandwich Artist: Yeah, that’s fine. It’s the same price as ham.


RIP the £1.99 Sub of the Day deal

Customer: Oh is it? Well can I have beef instead of turkey?

Sandwich Artist: Double meat costs 50p more.

Customer: Oh right. Well, I won’t have the beef then.

Sandwich Artist: Do you want ham and turkey instead?

Customer: You said it was 50p more.

Sandwich Artist: No, that’s ham and beef. Ham and turkey is the same price.

Customer: Oh I see. I’ll stick to just the ham if it’s all the same.

Sandwich Artist: Cheese and toasted?

Customer: Does it cost more?

Sandwich Artist: No

Customer: Yes please.

Sandwich Artist: [places ingredients on sandwich and places in the toaster. Removes following ‘ping’] Which salad for you?

Customer: Can I have any of it?

Sandwich Artist: Yes sir.

Customer: Okay. Can I have tomatoes?

Sandwich Artist: [places tomatoes on sandwich]

Customer:…and salad [pointing at lettuce]

Sandwich Artist: [places lettuce on sandwich]

Customer: Sorry, am I allowed to have more salad?

Sandwich Artist: Yes, you take your pick from the salad.

Customer: No, I mean can I have more salad please?

Sandwich Artist: [places more lettuce on sandwich]

Customer: Thanks. And can I have…cucumber…sweetcorn…peppers…

Sandwich Artist: [places cucumber, sweetcorn and peppers on sandwich]

Customers: Is that chillies?

Sandwich Artist: Jalapeños, yes.

Customer: Okay. None of those actually. Have you got any red peppers?

Sandwich Artist: No.

Customer: Right. That should be fine mate.

Sandwich Artist: Any sauce?


A completely unrelated Subway.

Customer: What have you got.

Sandwich Artist: Mayo? Barbecue? Honey Mustard? Sweet Onion?…

Customer: Have you got any sweet chilli?

Sandwich Artist: No sweet chilli, no.

Customer: Okay. Have you got any brown sauce?

Sandwich Artist: Yes.

Customer: Hmm, interesting…. Can I have…mmm…ketchup?

Sandwich Artist: Ketchup?

Customer: Yes please.

Sandwich Artist: [puts ketchup on sandwich and wraps up] Any cookie, crisps or drinks for you?

Customer: Can I have a coke please?


It's a footlong - but I wouldn't use it as a rule.

Sandwich Artist: [hands Customer a cup] Here you go.

Customer: Where’s the drink?

Sandwich Artist : Drinks machine is over there. You help yourself.

Customer: Oh right. Can I have a straw?

Sandwich Artist: Straws are over there too.

Customer: Okay. Do you have a lid for this cup mate?

Sandwich Artist: Lids are next to the straws.

Customer: Great.

Sandwich Artist: That’s £3.99 altogether.

Customer: Crikey! I can get a Sainsbury’s Meal Deal for that. Can I just leave it please, mate? Ta-ra now.

Review: Simple dining has never been so complicated.


One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Emma jones / Oct 24 2014 12:23 pm

    This review is inaccurate and contradictory. The subway sandwich artist asked all of the relevant questions and if the customer (presuming that’s you) hadn’t been so pedantic about everything, the whole process would of been carried out faster. Subway gives the customer full control over their food instead of other food outlets only offering a certain recipe. As for Nando’s unless you haven’t noticed Nando’s is one of the countries fastest expanding restaurants with extremely happy customers. Next time, write derogatory reviews about restaurants which have actually failed the customer, not picking at these for no apparent reason.

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