The Weird Reason Subway Employees Only Give You 6 Olives

As a fast-food chain, Subway is loved by scores of fans across the world and remains a go-to option for many looking for a quick bite. According to Entrepreneur, the brand has thousands of locations in several countries and is easily one of the biggest fast-food chains of all time. Its beginnings were humble: Subway started as a tiny shop in 1965. The brand has since grown by leaps and bounds. Customers are spoiled for choice and can choose to order from as many as 38 million combinations at a Subway outlet.

Also, the rumors of a secret menu are not unfounded. Subway does have one that can give you access to gems like Eggs Florentine Flatbread if you are in the mood for something different (via Fast Food Menu Prices). Or you can get yourself a Chicken Cordon Bleu Sub (via HuffPost).

Yet, if you've ever found yourself grumbling over the limited number of olives in your sandwich, you are not alone. There's a legitimate explanation for that, and it has got something to do with Subway's official policy.

Employees have to follow certain rules

Certain "high-end vegetables" at Subway are strictly regulated by the company, per Eat This, Not That, and employees need to be careful about using them sparingly in sandwiches. "When I worked at Subway, it was three olives per 6 inches. Same for tomatoes. They have all of these precise quantities," an ex-employee at Subway explained on Reddit. Obviously, the amounts double if you are ordering a foot-long sandwich.

The Redditor added that their manager would keep a close tab on the activities to ensure that they were not adding more vegetables than necessary. Another Redditor was so confused by the rules that they asked others whether it would be rude to simply ask for extra olives. "What I would suggest is, when you get to the olives, tell the [sandwich artist] that you like a lot of olives if that's okay ... a handful of olives isn't gross or even a big deal," someone wrote in response.

This wasn't always the case

If online accounts are to be believed, Subway was not always so particular about the number of olives that were added to each sandwich. Someone pointed out on Ask Metafilter that things were better when Subway first started making its sandwiches and didn't care too much about adding extra ingredients. "When they first opened back in the day, I seem to recall that the amount of meat/tuna/seafood/meatballs was applied pretty liberally, without a set standard," the customer wrote.

According to the customer, this policy was probably replaced by a simple one that aimed to provide around three scoops of tuna for each sandwich, coupled with a set amount of meat. A former staff member mentioned that they felt bad about limiting the number of olives in each sandwich and ignored the rule if the manager was not around. A thoughtful comment read that olives are really pricey, implying that it is bad for business to be too liberal with the ingredient, per Ask Metafilter.

There are some tricks

If you want to get the most of your experience while eating at Subway, there are a few things that you can try. A Quora user recommended adding as many veggies as you can to your sandwich. "Add cheese, toast it, extra jalapeño, olives, lots of now the maker would be frowning at you," they wrote. You should ask your sandwich artist to be generous with most of the sauces except for mayonnaise, which is the cheapest option available at the store.

One more smart tip, according to a different Quora user, is timing your meal correctly. "The best time to get subway is just a few hours after they open, most if not all of the bread will be completely fresh along with all of the ingredients. The only exception to this rule (my preference) is soup," they explained. You should also specifically request for soft bread.

If you are saving your meal for later, ask the staff to put the meat, sides, and veggies in separate containers to avoid a lackluster, soggy meal. Someone also noted that promotional meals are worth it, and it pays to be attentive when you are at a Subway outlet. You're likely to find a sweet deal if you check. "The company typically changes their promotional windows every month or up to 7 weeks ... these are good buys ... but a lot of people miss out simply from a lack of awareness," the Quora user wrote.