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12 Ordering Mistakes You're Making At Subway, According To Employees

subway table with sandwiches
subway table with sandwiches - Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Subway offers a choose-your-own-adventure approach to eating. Consumers select the exact bread, meat, cheese, veggies, and sauce they want, and the sandwich is assembled for them. But as customers build their own subs, they often make ordering mistakes.

Employees will tell you they've seen their fair share of strange Subway orders, from tuna meatball subs to cookie sandwiches. To each their own -- we're not here to judge your tastebuds. But we are here to give you some practical advice, straight from the mouths of Subway staff.

We've scoured social media sites to uncover what advice Subway employees, both past and present, had for us; check out the end of this article for more info on our methodology. Turns out, many customers are making the same mistakes when ordering. Some make poor choices in bread or meat, while others ask for special requests that go awry. Before you head to Subway, read up on these 12 ordering mistakes to make sure you get your money's worth.

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Read more: The Ultimate Ranking Of American Fast Food Restaurants

1. Not Asking For Cookies To Be Reheated

Subway cookies on wrappers
Subway cookies on wrappers - mauisubway / Facebook

There's nothing quite like freshly baked cookies, and if you arrive at Subway at just the right time, you'll be served them hot from the oven. But even if you aren't that lucky, you can still enjoy your cookies deliciously warm with an irresistibly gooey center. All it takes is using an easy workaround that eats up less than a minute: Simply ask for them to be reheated in the microwave.

This useful tip came to us via Reddit. When asking Subway employees if they would reheat cookies, one responded, "At our store, yes we do." They continued to explain, "[We] microwave it for a few seconds. Especially when it's not fresh and has been sitting outside for a couple of hours." Most of the other Subway employees chimed in, saying they would or have done the same for customers. If you do happen to get a worker who refuses to pop your cookie in the microwave, save it till you get home -- you can always reheat it yourself for that fresh-from-the-oven taste. It'll require more self-restraint, but the payoff is well worth it.

2. Not Ordering Your Sub On Italian Herb And Cheese Bread

bread coming out of oven
bread coming out of oven - Subway / Facebook

When choosing a Subway bread option, do you freeze up? With so many choices on offer, it's easy to get analysis paralysis. If you find yourself in this position, go for the Italian herb and cheese. Of course, not all subs have to come with this bread, but if you haven't tried it yet, you're seriously missing out. This bread starts off as white Italian bread mixed with herbs and salt, and is sprinkled with Monterey Jack cheese, parmesan, and oregano. It's then baked to perfection. Compared to the white, wheat, and flatbread options, this bread has more flavor and adds that extra oomph to subs. Plus, crispy cheese complements just about any savory sandwich out there.

If you're still uncertain, rest assured the best bread debate has been put to the test. In a Mashed poll, 46% of people named the Italian herb and cheese the best bread at Subway. But again, don't just take our word for it. Head to Subway to conduct your own taste test. And if you're ever having trouble making decisions in that sandwich assembly line, opt for the Italian herb and cheese. You won't regret it. 

3. Ordering A Spicy Italian Sub When You Want Ham

Hotshot Italiano sub
Hotshot Italiano sub - Subway

Italy is known for its gourmet ham, but that doesn't mean you'll find it on Subway's Spicy Italian Sub. In fact, according to this viral TikTok, some customers even return to complain that their Spicy Italian sandwiches were missing the ham. But were they? As the TikTok maker points out, the Spicy Italian doesn't actually come with ham. Instead, it comes with salami and pepperoni. It's a solid choice if you're craving cured meats, but if it's ham you're after, you'll be sorely disappointed. This video creator gently suggests the customer is confusing it with the BMT, which comes with Genoa salami, spicy pepperoni, and Black Forest ham. They conclude the TikTok by reminding customers to pay attention when ordering, and plead, "Please don't be like this."

Nowadays, the Italian sub is called the Hotshot Italiano and includes provolone cheese, jalapeño peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and parmesan vinaigrette on Italian bread. Still no ham -- but if you want to ham it up, go for the Ultimate BMT, the Black Forest Ham, or the Oven-Roasted Turkey and Ham sub.

4. Ordering A Meatball Sub On Flatbread

flatbread on Subway wrapper
flatbread on Subway wrapper - Sarah Klein / Static Media

Meatball subs are messy enough as is. You've got juicy meatballs and copious amounts of marinara sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese and whatever other toppings you'd like. In a regular sandwich roll, you already run the risk of a runaway meatball, which can result in some serious stains. With some careful wrapping and eating, though, you should be in the clear. However, some customers like to live on the edge by ordering their meatball sub on flatbread.

Flatbread is just what it sounds like: a very flat, rather thin rectangle of bread. Toppings are placed on one half of the flatbread and then folded over to create a sandwich. This might work beautifully with a ham and turkey sandwich, but the shape of meatballs combined with the sheer amount of sauce makes it nearly impossible to keep such a sandwich together. One Subway employee complained on Reddit, "This lady ordered 6 meatball subs on flatbread. So much sauce, the paper was leaking, and had to fight her to not remake it and just add more paper wrapping." Another employee shared the same sentiment: "I used to have a guy that came in every Friday and got a [footlong] double meat meatball on a flatbread (he said that he enjoyed watching us struggle to fold it at the end)."

If meatball subs on flatbread are falling apart while being made, chances are, they're going to be tricky to eat. Save yourself -- and Subway employees -- some stress and stick to standard bread options.

5. Requesting Bread Hot From The Oven

woman beside subway oven
woman beside subway oven - SubwayCayman / Facebook

Pipping hot bread sounds like a good idea in theory, but in reality, it's more likely to cause some serious burns -- and not just for those eating it. Requesting bread hot from the oven is one of those things Subway employees wish you'd stop doing. As one Subway worker exclaimed on Reddit, "No, I will not be touching the burning hot pan that you watched me JUST remove from the oven just so you can have fresh herb and cheese bread ... They are never enthused when I point to the gigantic scar on my inner forearm from the time a scalding bread pan fell onto my arm and slid down." That's right: Ultra-hot bread isn't just a pain to make, it's outright dangerous.

Work hazards aside, freshly baked bread is too soft to cut well anyway. The bread inside hasn't had a chance to cool off, and when you add toppings too quickly, it becomes gummy, rather than fluffy. Subway's bread is made fresh in the restaurant regardless, and if you want it hot, just ask for your sandwich to be toasted or heated in the microwave. Requiring the use of the oven is simply nonsensical and, as it turns out, inconsiderate. 

6. Asking For A Toasted Sub If You Don't Want It Crunchy

terriyaki sub with melted cheese
terriyaki sub with melted cheese - Subway

Do you like crunchy or soft sandwiches? Both have their time and place, but here's a tip: If you don't like crunchy bread, don't get your sub toasted. It's easy enough to avoid since Subway's sandwich artists ask whether you want it toasted or not. When the staff pops that sandwich into the oven, it comes out a crispy golden brown and perfectly warm. But if you have sensitive teeth or prefer soft bread, toasted sandwiches might not be for you.

If you aren't a fan of toasted bread or can't eat it for some other reason, that doesn't mean you can't still get your sandwich served hot. A former employee shared a very simple solution on Reddit: "I had a lady who came in on occasion and ordered her sub toasted, but didn't want the bread crunchy ... I asked her if she'd like me to warm it up in the microwave so it would get warm and melty without toasting, and she loved it."

7. Not Asking For Sauces To Be Spread Evenly

subway worker squeezing sauce
subway worker squeezing sauce - Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

You know the procedure: You order your sandwich bread, cheese, and toppings, and finish it off with one of Subway's signature sauces. But the thing with ordering sauce last is, it doesn't always spread evenly over all the other goodies. Some bites end up loaded with sauce and others are sauceless. A clever Subway worker has an effective -- although controversial -- fix for this. On Reddit, they said, "I work at Subway and I've always asked for mayo on the bread first. It makes the sandwich a lot less dry and that's how I always make it at home and for my breaks."

Not all Subway employees are pleased when they hear this request. On the same thread, a fellow Subway worker explained why they dislike the sauce-first approach: "It breaks the flow, I have to step from meats all the way over to sauces, grab the mayo, come back, apply mayo, then back to sauces." To make matters worse, sandwich artists have to be extra cautious not to get the sauce on their gloves, as it could spread to the veggies, potentially causing cross-contamination or allergy issues. During a busy lunch rush, this small request can cause a traffic jam on the assembly line. We suggest using this strategy solely on slow days. And if you're a fan of sandwich condiments, you can now find Subway sauces at the grocery store to make copycat subs at home.

8. Overstuffing Your Sandwich With Veggies

subway sandwich close-up
subway sandwich close-up - Tuckraider/Getty Images

Since toppings are free, why not take advantage by adding extra veggies? After all, fresh vegetables can up your health game and add nice crunch to that Subway sandwich. However, while we encourage you to get your veggie fill, there's a respectable limit to how many veggies you should ask for. Many Subway workers agree that customers overfilling their subs is a problem.

On Quora, when asked what the official limit is, an employee responded, "The limit however is not quantity, but the wrap artist's decision. You see, if we start adding too many vegetables, the sandwich might not close and even tear at the thin end that holds the two halves together." So if you're looking for a nutritious Subway sandwich -- or just love veggie-heavy subs -- go for the Veggie Delite. With crunchy green peppers, zesty red onions, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, and lettuce, you'll get a healthy dose of vegetables without overstuffing your sandwich.

9. Not Toasting Your Veggies

veggie and ham sandwich
veggie and ham sandwich - Subway / Facebook

Generally, Subway workers toast your sub before adding veggies. However, certain veggies can benefit from a nice warm crunch. On Reddit, a customer asked which veggies are better toasted, and the general consensus was bell peppers and onions. One customer chimed in, "I always add a bit of olive oil because it helps them crisp up." Another suggested, "Olives if you're feeling like a cheeky one." Other toasted veggie recommendations included jalapeños, yellow peppers, and even lettuce. We admit that toasted lettuce seems like an odd choice, but hey, don't knock it till you try it.

Raw bell peppers and onions can taste slightly bitter. However, popping them in the oven softens them and gives them a sweeter, smokier flavor. So if you're not a fan of bitter veggies, toasting may be the way to go. And if you prefer certain vegetables toasted and others fresh, play around with your order. Ask your sandwich artist to add a couple of veggies before toasting, then add a couple more after.

10. Asking For Too Much Sauce On A Sub

sub with mayo
sub with mayo - Iwillyourdad / Reddit

We all have that sauce-happy friend who just can't get enough on their sandwich. Whether their sauce of choice is mayo, creamy Italian, or Baja chipotle, they just keep asking for more in the Subway assembly line. If that person is you, you should know there is such a thing as too much sauce on your Subway sub.

In a viral TikTok, a customer asks the employee, "Drown my sandwich," elaborating, "It needs to be oozing." The sandwich artist complies with the guest's demands, and by the end, the sub is covered in so much sauce that the other toppings aren't even visible. Another TikTok shows a customer requesting more than three different sauces. While this isn't "drowning" the sandwich, the sheer number of flavors feels excessive. 

Aside from being obnoxiously messy, using too much sauce throws off the balance of flavors. All you end up tasting is the sauce itself. And if you've opted for a variety, chances are they won't complement each other well. As one Reddit user puts it, "Some of those sauces don't agree with each other and end up fighting with each other in the stomach and make the customer run to the restroom." So before you go overboard with those sauces, remember that sometimes, less is more.

11. Ordering Double Meat On A Wrap Or Meatball Sub

double meatball sandwich
double meatball sandwich - LittleUKmac / Reddit

Rumor has it that some Subway restaurants don't allow double-meat wraps. Regardless of whether it's permitted or not, some Subway employees don't recommend it. Essentially, it's like overstuffing a burrito. The tortilla is bursting at the seams, and if you're not careful, it's bound to end up on the floor -- or worse, your lap. Not to mention, many of Subway's wraps already come with twice the amount of meat of a 6-inch sub, including the Meatball Marinara, the Oven-Roasted Turkey and Ham, and the Steak and Cheese. So, ordering a double-meat wrap would equal quadruple that of a 6-inch sandwich.

The same goes for double-meat meatball subs. Just because you can order one, doesn't mean you should. On Reddit, a previous employee claimed it was the worst sandwich to make, saying, "When I worked there ... It always turned out to be a mess." Plus, the meatballs, sauce, and bread ratio is already ideal. Another user on the same thread agrees, "I couldn't imagine double meatballs though. Sounds unnecessary."

12. Placing A Bulk Order Without Advance Notice

subway sandwiches on counter
subway sandwiches on counter - Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Making a bulk order -- say, 50 sandwiches or so -- takes time. It's common courtesy to give the Subway establishment a heads-up if you're making such an order, and a decent amount of time to prep the sandwiches. This is because bulk purchases can overwhelm staff and tie up their resources, ending in delayed orders or sacrificed quality.

If you stroll in at lunchtime and suddenly place a giant order, those behind you in line won't be too happy. The same can be said when ordering many sandwiches just before closing time. In The Know reported that in a since-deleted TikTok, a $460 Subway order was placed at 2:30 am. It sparked quite a debate online, with some customers snarkily telling staff, "Do your job." Others were much more sympathetic, commenting things like, "This order is so disrespectful, I'm glad y'all canceled it." The size of the request was also compared to a catering order, which generally requires 24-hour notice.

Some claim the customer is always right. However, it's best to have some compassion for employees who are in the midst of a midday rush or have already worked a full shift. The large order will significantly delay their closing procedures. At the end of the day, it's just poor etiquette to place a bulk order without advance notice.

Methodology

Subway worker making sandwich
Subway worker making sandwich - Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

To create this list, we researched social media sites and forums including Reddit, TikTok, and Quora. We specifically looked for advice from previous Subway sandwich artists when it came to ordering. We found that Subway employees called out the same ordering mistakes across several platforms or threads. Reviewing the follow-up comments on each thread allowed us to see if there was a general consensus or if it was a one-off opinion. If the opinion was mentioned frequently and shared by multiple employees, we were confident that it was an ordering mistake you should avoid.

Static Media owns and operates Mashed and The Daily Meal.

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