The Shocking Reason Subway Franchise Owners Are Against The New Fresh Melt Sandwiches

The latest rumblings of discontent from Subway franchisees bubbled to the surface last week in response to the latest idea from corporate. On May 6, Subway announced via a press release shared by QSR that in an attempt to redress their ever-flagging sales, the chain would now offer Fresh Melts. These are sandwiches that come with three times the cheese portion of a regular sandwich and are grilled. The idea was that you could either order one of the new melt sandwiches, the Ham & Cheese Melt, the Tuna Melt, or the Steak & Cheese Melt, or upgrade any footlong into a Fresh Melt by paying an extra dollar.

However, the North American Association of Subway Franchisees (NAASF) has come out against the new initiative because, as Food & Wine reports, the new sandwiches put the employees at risk and threaten to damage the equipment of the franchise. However, NAASF did say that it hoped the company would address its concerns, which would allow them to full-heartedly endorse this initiative. As the Fresh Melts are only available at participating locations, the NAASF actually has the power to stop Subway's designs. 

Nation's Restaurant News, however, relays corporate's message that it had invested in training protocols and equipment to ensure that its "sandwich-artists" can perform their job safely. So, at a glance, the refusal to go along with the Fresh Melts might appear a petty side battle between the franchisees and franchisor and not a worry based on anything of substance.

Something important is missing from reports

At a glance, the objection seems somewhat baffling, leading people to question if Subway workers consistently burn themselves on a grill. However, the real issue, which seems to have been lost in the NAASF's attempt to sound professional, is that the grills have developed a tendency to catch fire.

In a video showing how the Fresh Melts are made, the YouTube channel Milad Mirg shows the viewer the inside of the grill. There is a special plate with ridges that have been installed so that the sandwich, which has been bagged to prevent gooey cheese spillages, can receive grill marks.

Apparently, the plates have not been thoroughly tested as Subway workers took to Reddit to compare stories of the grill plates melting and the bags bursting into flames. "[Our melts were] postponed because the grill plate caused our toasters to catch on fire," one wrote. A second said, "Our ovens caught on fire multiple times before we even put the new thing in and now it keeps happening soooooo no melts yet." A third found the plate itself failed at its one function: "Ours postponed the launch as well because our grill plate was getting burnt holes in it after one day of use." If the NAASF simply edited stories similar to these in its announcement, there would be no confusion over what its problem with the product is.