You should never order off of Subway's breakfast menu. Here's why

When you think about it, a surprising number of things about Subway sound strangely ill-suited for success in the fast food business. Perhaps the most obvious thing is its name, which evokes gross images of underground meat trains. Of course, it's only called Subway because the original name had an even bigger downside. Per Entrepreneur magazine, the fast food juggernaut started as Pete's Super Submarines. However, radio adverts describing "Pete's Submarines" sounded too much like "Pizza Marines." The Pete in that equation was Dr. Peter Buck, who, as Subway's website points out, was a nuclear physicist — something you might associate more with nuclear submarines than submarine sandwiches.

Buck loaned a thousand bucks to 17-year-old college freshman Fred DeLuca, who launched the shop in 1965 as a way to pay his college expenses. DeLuca knew zilch about sandwich-making and actually wanted to become a medical doctor. In fact, Subway's parent company was dubbed Doctor's Associates Inc. Why they didn't call their shop "Sandwich Doctors" and adopt the motto "We'll fix your food without charging an arm and a leg" will remain one of the great mysteries of the Subway phenomenon.

Subway's greatest mystery might be its breakfast menu. Somehow, decades after a teenager with zero sandwich acumen rode a meat train all the way to the bank, Subway churned out what turned out to be some its least bankable and overall least appealing food.

Subway's subpar breakfast

In 2013, Business Insider contributor Kate Taylor tried an updated version of the Subway diet that made the company famous in the early 2000s. Initially, she incorporated Subway's breakfast. "Unfortunately, I forgot one thing," she writes. "Breakfast is Subway's worst meal." Taylor ordered an egg-and-cheese flatbread breakfast, but noted, "One look at the floppy eggs that Subway uses was enough to turn my stomach." She didn't finish the meal.

On the bright side, at least Taylor ordered something from Subway's breakfast menu. Citing reporting by Bloomberg, Business Insider said in 2018 that the market-research firm Field Agent determined that 43 percent of Subway patrons didn't buy breakfast there. A full 19 percent didn't even know it was an option, which might be for the best health-wise. 

Verywell Fit lists Subway's healthiest breakfast item as the 6-inch egg and cheese flatbread, which has a few upsides, including 19 grams of protein and only 380 calories — however, it also packs 940 milligrams of sodium. That's roughly 40 percent of the FDA's recommended 2,300-milligram cap on sodium and well over half of the American Heart Association's "ideal limit" of 1,500 milligrams. The unhealthiest item, the 6-inch bacon, egg, and cheese flatbread, packs 20 grams of fat (7 of which are saturated) and 1,190 milligrams of sodium.