This Subway Sub To Salad Conversion Is Pretty Expensive

Reader Will sent us the above picture and asked why we thought it would cost so much more to substitute a plastic bowl for a piece of bread.

Because we worked at Subway headquarters in high school, we know the reason is that the salad lettuce is actually shredded dollar bills that were removed from circulation by the government and given to Subway in exchange for party subs at the U.S. Mint.

Or someone accidentally put a 5 up there, but seriously, why is a bowl and some extra lettuce any more expensive than delicious, store-baked bread?


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  1. Cyclokitty says:

    Salad Fail.

    • Henry Obialisi says:

      @Cyclokitty: What an incredibly overused, stupid word.

    • layton59 says:

      @Cyclokitty: CONSUMER REPORTS MAGAZINE says Subway FAILS to give you much protein (meat) in their subs. I think Subway uses an electron microscope in order to cut those slices so ultra thin. Funny the $5 foot long commercial just came on my TV. My wife hates Subway. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it.

  2. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Or someone accidentally put a 5 up there, but seriously, why is a bowl and some extra lettuce any more expensive than delicious, store-baked bread?

    Because salads are “healthy”*. The “healthy” version of most things cost more. The salad, low-fat, low-carb, low-anything thing gets marked up.

    *And by “healthy” I mean it’s marketed as being the healthy alternative even if it isn’t any better for you than the original item.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: one of the reasons why I like Chop’t is its excessive nonpretentiousness when it comes to salads as health food. They have a FAQ on the placards on their tables and one of the questions is “is Chop’t health food?” and the answer is simply, “you can make it as healthy as you want.” The salads are gigantic, easily two meals, and when you factor in all the dressing and the grilled chicken or fried chicken, no it’s not that healthy.

      If you really want health food, eat fresh vegetables raw.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Not necessarily. Chipotle actually charges more for their burritos than they do for their salads even though it has the exact same ingredients. I believe Qdoba does this as well.

    • Andrew Wolf says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: I think the 89 cents probably pays for the bowl.

    • tgiokdi says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation:
      no, that’s not correct. it’s a money issue, and not a health issue. six inches of bread costs less then 2 piece of plastic and the inevitable more food that you get with the salad.

    • kerry says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: I’ve just started to really notice this. The vending machines where I work switched from regular Flaming Hot Cheetos to Baked Flaming Hot Cheetos. Still 90 cents a bag, but the bag is only 1.5 ounces. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps they’d raised prices when they made the switch, but today there were regular Flaming Hot Cheetos next to the baked ones and they were the same price for a 2 ounce bag. Jerks!

    • Benguin says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: I remember when Atkins was the diet de jour and all the big fast food chains started coming out with the low carb burgers. The had the nerve to charge more for the same sandwich, sans bread.

      There’s no way in well that a few extra pieces of lettuce cost as much – let alone MORE – than a bun.

    • madog says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: It’s actually more expensive for the same reason that the new Unibody MacBooks are more expensive than the previous ones: because people are stupid.

      • ScottRose says:

        @madog: Agreed.

        There’s a general concept in business: If people are willing to pay no more than $x for something, then $x is the correct price, regardless of value.

  3. JGKojak says:

    Yep- people need to shut up about carbs. Unless you have a gluten allergy, don’t eat at a frackin sub shop unless you want bread.

    • dark_inchworm says:

      @JGKojak: I have a gluten allergy!

      The lettuce in Subway salads – the same as they use for their sandwiches, surprise – is disappointing and doesn’t lend itself well to salads, but I like being able to cram the works into a salad. I don’t understand why they’re ~$2 more, though. I really don’t.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I suspect they charge more for the bowl and lettuce is because they have to pay the company that produces the bowls, whereas lettuce is already part of their normal shipments of vegetables and they probably only have to increase the amount they order – unless it’s not just shredded iceberg.

    • floraposte says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I don’t think there’d be too much consternation if they just charged 89 cents more–it’s the $6 surcharge for a salad purchase that’s raising eyebrows.

  5. TheDustball says:

    I’m thinking that maybe they meant that any 6″ sub would cost $5.89 total as a salad, but they still fail for misreading their own sign. And charging more for a salad version anyway.

    Besides, it’s not like the salad would have any more lettuce since they practically drown their sandwiches in it to begin with. So it just comes down to if a bowl is more expensive than bread.

    • sonofthebeach says:

      @TheDustball: you beat me to it.


    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @TheDustball: Chop’t does something similar, only in reverse. They’re a salad company that also offers its salads in sub/sandwich form. Their menu is extremely clear. Instead of saying “just X more” they put the prices side by side so you can clearly see that the salad is $7 while the sandwich is $6.20. It makes it so much easier to deal with.

    • nakedscience says:

      @TheDustball: I hate Subway lettuce. I always say not to lettuce, because dear god they put too much gross lettuce on their sandwiches.

  6. mgy says:

    Ducks eat for free at Subway.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s weird, because at my Subway, the salad version of any particularly is exactly $1.00 CHEAPER than the price of the 12″ sub.

    HAHAHA, so if I wanted a Veggie Delite at this place, but with no bread, I’d be charged ELEVEN BUCKS for a tiny bowl of salad?!

    (Anyone who wants to check prices at their local Subways, go to, then act like you want to order online. All the prices of subs and salads will be shown.)

  8. Canino says:

    I’ll have a meatball marinara salad, hold the lettuce.

    • lpranal says:

      @Canino: For someone doing the phase 1 of atkins / southbeach, that might actually be a meal.

    • exploded says:

      @Canino: Thanks. Now I want a meatball sub. Thanks. A. Lot.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Canino: Is there an ultimate best way of eating a meatball sub? I haven’t had one in years because the meatballs inevitably roll out and destroy clothing or furniture. Maybe there should be square meatballs. I bet the Japanese would make that if they too enjoy meatball subs.

      • Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:
        I usually ask for my meatball subs to ‘go easy on the extra sauce.’ This will minimize – but truthfully not eliminate entirely – the potential of marinara sauce stains from rogue meatballs that don’t want to stay in the sandwich.

      • edwardso says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I cut mine in half when I make subs at home or do slices like meatloaf.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: cooking for yourself, try shaping your meatballs between two teaspoons. the oblong flattish shape stay put on a sandwich. or, you know, if you don’t mind actually touching raw meat with your hands, just make mini patties.

    • Alex Chasick says:

      @Canino: That is disgusting. When I worked at the HQ store we got to try out all the innovations before they were rolled out nationwide (smoothies, ice cream, pizzas, etc.). Of course, giving a bunch of unwatched 16 year old boys all these treats led to things like turkey club milkshakes and ice cream parmigiana. Can’t believe we never thought of the meatball salad.

      • lpranal says:

        @Alex Chasick: When I used to hang around a starbucks that I knew several of the baristas, they would try all kinds of crazy concotions, most memorable was the peanut butter frappacino… memorable mostly because it was actually pretty tasty

        • kerry says:

          @lpranal: Ha! When I worked at Peet’s Coffee and Tea we would do the same thing. We had all this stupid fancy candy lying around, and nightly someone would stick some in the blender. One coworker would come up to me with a cup and just say “drink this” with no explanation.
          That said, chocolate mint malted milk ball ‘n’ espresso frappes were like the greatest ever.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @Alex Chasick: i used to work at a franchise checkers and the owner let us eat for free on sundays. one of my coworkers would have the same sandwich every week with all the most expensive add ons from the menu: cajun sauce, chicken filet, grilled onions, cheese, bacon….

        one day we were training some corporate brown-nosers in the art of pulling milkshakes and stocking soda straws without getting beaten to death by a bunch of angry underpaid teenagers. one of them saw art’s sandwich, made himself one and within 3 months the cajun chicken bacon sandwich was on the menu. [sadly, when corporate took over both his and my raises were denied and we quit for greener paychecks. there’s that old intellectual property thing again!]

  9. Brian Schroeder says:

    if you squint,’5′ kinda looks like a dollar sign.

    Only $.89 More?

  10. _catlike_ says:

    I got a Subway salad a few years ago (I don’t know what I was thinking) and it didn’t cost more than a buck or so additional. Sadly, though, it was pretty much all lettuce–I think they put more veggies on their sandwiches.

  11. deejaypopnfresh says:

    its for a duck…

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’ve read that Subway’s Jared gets all the subs he wants, but would he get the salad?

  13. Jerry Vandesic says:

    Looks obvious to me. The manager probably wrote down “Only $.89 more,” but the person who made the sign read the dollar-sign as a five. Same general shape.

    But you would have thought someone would have caught the mistake.

  14. morganlh85 says:

    I’m guessing they meant that a salad is $5.89, and didn’t realize the sign read “more” after that.

  15. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    How many black market salad bowls can I tuck under a trench coat? I’ll offer each at 79 cents each and make a KILLING.

  16. zarex42 says:

    Give me a break. The salads contain far more food than a sub does. The quantity of lettuce, tomato, and other vegetables is probably similar to 4-5 subs worth. The $0.89 or whatever is perfectly reasonable.

    • Spectre1125 says:

      @zarex42: Was going to mention this too. One of their salads is obviously > 6″ sub to anyone who has had one.

    • missi1226 says:

      @zarex42: Maybe the salads are bigger when you order them, but I definitely can tell you, mine are nowhere near 2 subs worth of food. Every time I have bought one and compared it to my dining companion’s sandwich, the only thing I get more of is the wilted, soggy lettuce. mmmm

  17. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Ever notice they’re rigorous about how much veg you get on your sub? A salad bowl holds more and thus they have to use more of their precious veg.

    About the only thing they’re overly liberal with is the crappy lettuce.
    I always ask for Spinach instead.

    • krista says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: “I always ask for Spinach instead.”

      I usually do that, too. I like it better, and it’s way healthier. But recently, all the Subways around my area have stopped carrying spinach :(

  18. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I’m shocked – SHOCKED, I tells yer! – that Jared would allow his likeness to be used for such shady business tactics!

  19. Cattivella says:

    At my local subway they have the same sign, but they covered up the “more”. They must have forgotten to cover it up on this sign.

  20. ludwigk says:

    Last summer, I saw a (I’m assuming) swedish fellow and his son ordering at Subway here in SF. They were clearly on vacation, and (thankfully) didn’t eat at subway very often. They both sort of ordered sandwiches with whatever they wanted, with outlandish combinations like pepperoni and bacon and two extra cheeses on a turkey swiss sandwich. All the addons brought their total for 18″ of sandwich (12″ and 6″) to something like $21. This is of course insane because subway would sell you 4 footlongs for the same price. I figured in the grand scheme of things, and the relatively strong Euro, it wouldn’t matter enough to intervene.

    • Spectre1125 says:

      @ludwigk: Everybody knows the Swedish people get their fabulous blonde glow from the pots of gold they hide underneath their long yellow locks. Their hair is actually a transluscent color unique to the region.

      I think more likely though, what Hans there was thinking was “Sometimes man, it’s about getting what you want and not what you can afford.” I can get behind that statement. This sort of freewheeling philosophy has its place, and I think a good place for it is Subway. It’s food, make it taste good! Succumb to those never satiated little impulses in your head that say “spend, spend, spend!” Otherwise, instead of ending up at Subway, you end up at Subprime. Instead of any veggies Hans wants and extra cheese, he gets a two percent pay option loan for five years. But what they didn’t tell him (or he ignored…It is on the sign/in the papers. So whatever!) was the bacon costs EVEN MORE than the other ingredients you could have gotten!!! Just like it turns out Hans’ payment was going to get jacked up by about 750%!!! And After that five years is up, they go right on and nail him to the door while crying into their specially imported beers about the unfairness of the world and George Bush and so on, just like the cash register nailed him to his wallet.

      So just get one sandwich you really, really like next time, even if it does cost a bunch, and don’t worry about it! ;)

  21. TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

    My mother and sister have an allergy to bread (wheat in general, really) and they can’t fathom why a salad would cost more, either. You’d think it would cost less.

    • edwardso says:

      @TalKeaton: I can certainly make several loaves of bread for less than the cost of the most basic salad (lettuce, a tomato, maybe a couple of carrots) not counting meat and cheese. It makes sense that salad would be more

    • zarex42 says:


      Because salads have a lot more food in them than a sub does. Dump the innards of a sub on a plate sometime and take a look. Jeez, is it not obvious?

  22. Mknzybsofh says:

    I had asked a subway manager once why it was so much more expensive for a salad, I was informed that the cost had to do with ‘All the extras we provide for it.’ To which I asked ‘If I do not want anything other than just the ‘salad’ would it still cost extra?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ So I proceeded to order a 12 inch tuna sub, all the usual fixings and extra lettuce. Asked for a fork so that I could ‘eat what fell out’. Paid (at no extra cost), then sat down right in front of the counter and proceeded to eat everything but the bread. As I stood up with only the bread left I smiled at them and said, ‘Thanks for the salad. I’m sure that the pigeons will enjoy the bread.’ With hatred in his eyes the manager watched me leave and proceed to feed the small gathering of birds with the ‘savings’. (BTW I am mildly allergic to wheat so I avoid it as much as possible.)

  23. chrisjames says:

    “why is a bowl and some extra lettuce any more expensive than delicious, store-baked bread?”

    See, this is what I’m talking about. Look at that (*points to menu picture*). See what I mean? It’s plump, juicy, three inches thick.

    (*points to sandwich*) Look at this sorry, miserable, squashed thing. Can anybody tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Anybody? Anybody at all.

  24. amcfarla says:

    I worked at Subway…and the bowls are .20 cents more than the bread from the delivery company that delivers our stock. I think they meant to use a $ instead of the 5 on the the display.

  25. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    In prison, tossed salads are free…

  26. DustoMan says:

    Hmm… so your Subway got rid of Prime Rib too huh?

  27. Mobius says:

    Because Subway subsidizes the burnt hair out of which they bake their bread. They have to make up the difference for that somehow.

  28. usa_gatekeeper says:

    Looking at Subway’s website: a Turkey Breast …
    – Salad = 378g (w/o 57g dressing)
    – 6″ Sub = 223g
    – 6″ dble stacked = 280g

    So there is more content in the (e.g., turkey breast) salad vs. the sub – even double stacked!!a salad

  29. DavidF says:

    so order a veggie sub, then dress it with lettuce, then more lettuce, then more lettuce, then more lettuce… then take the bun off.

  30. Max Murillo says:

    im guessing this new “tips” person they announced put this on consumerist… i knew that when i saw her pix i knew the site was gonna go down with it…..

    epic failure

  31. kmccoy says:

    I think the real news here is that the Mint is either stealing currency from the BEP and shredding it or stealing the already shredded currency from a Federal Reserve bank, since the Mint just works with coins. Intragovernmental theft!

  32. cynical_bastard says:

    Slw dy?

  33. evilhapposai says:

    Not just the salad conversion price its the whole freaking menu. Where is this? The middle of a theme park or at a sporting arena? Subways is $5 for any foot-long right now and has been for months. All subs except the Philly and the double stacked ones. The 6 inch ones are almost $5 on this sign!

    Granted is it just a promotion that has went on really long but regular prices on the menu board near me are nowhere near this.

  34. vaxman says:

    A word of caution, Subway is unwilling (99% of the time) to open fresh ingredients for a salad. If you have a wheat allergy, do not order a salad from them. Crumbs fall into the lettuce all day as there is no border, and they get mixed in. I used to feel safe with subway salads, until one day I watched the sub infront of mine drop 3 large pieces of bread into the wheat. When i asked the employee for fresh lettuce, he refused, even after explaining the allergy. Since then, this has been the norm on multiple other visits, and the reason I will not return to subway.

    • Alternate, I cho-cho-chose the impossible says:

      @vaxman: As a person who actually works at a Subway, I want to say this is just an example of bad workers. Ask for a manager or someone else to make your sub. If you have allergies, ask them to change gloves if they handle anything you are allergic to or just change gloves when they start your salad. They are required to, if the customer says they have an allergy. Also, not being willing to give you some new lettuce makes no sense as there are always fresh untouched lettuce backups in the mini fridge up front.

      In short, there should be no problem. Either try a different Subway or try and talk to the manager about the employee. Feel free to leave a comment card. Stores are usually required to have one stocked and ready somewhere.

  35. savdavid says:

    You get that lovely piece of plastic to take home and add to your collection of assorted dinnerware. No need to buy a set for your family!

  36. Nik in Denver, formerly in NOLA says:

    Having spent a few summers working at a Subway:
    (1) Odds are the manager or supervisor meant $.89 and either ran out of a $ for the menu -OR- misread the price paper/used the wrong symbol.

    (2) As far as why salads have an upgrade in the price, its because the place has to pay for the bowls. The bowls cost more than the bread per unit, and they don’t really sell so they’re sitting there for god knows how long. They’re basically recouping the cost of buying the salad plates (granted, if they run a salad promotion, its a little different).

    (3) In terms of content vs a 6-inch sandwich, its supposed to be the same. Unless they’ve changed anything in the last 4 years, you’re still only SUPPOSED to get two tomatoes, 4 olives, 4 pickles, a few strips on onions and bell peppers, etc. and only the 6-inch formula for the meat. The main difference is that they won’t charge you extra for spinach, carrots, cucumbers, bacon bits (but they will for strips), etc. on the salads, but are technically supposed to for the 6 inch.

    This all varies based on the stores and how active the particular owner is on enforcing the formulas.

    (4) @Canino:
    As far as this one, I remember we had a group of regulars that would get this. Nowhere near the most bizarre thing I had a customer ask for, and nowhere near the employee horror stories/experiments I’ve seen.

    • Alternate, I cho-cho-chose the impossible says:

      @Nik in NOLA: At my store, you’re supposed to give extra veggies. Also, the 4 olive policy is NEVER enforced. I have yet to see it enforced when the customer asks for more. Often times its ridiculous, with people asking for subs with enough olives to fill something like 20 footlongs.

  37. ngwoo says:

    Where I live, the amount of stuff you get in a salad is significantly more than what you get in a 6″ sub, and the same price.