Subway Reportedly Wants Stores Open 91 Hours A Week And Some Employees Are Furious

Working in the restaurant industry has never been easy. Fast food employees have to deal with rude customers on a regular basis, might risk burns and other injuries (via NBC News), and work long hours. And as labor economist Jeannette Wicks-Lim observed, this line of work's been "plagued with low wages for an extraordinary long period of time" (via NPR).

COVID-19 added a different wrinkle when eateries had to cut their hours or close during the worst of the pandemic. As recently as this past January, McDonald's locations throughout the U.S. stayed "open for 10% fewer hours" than they did pre-pandemic, says Fortune.

However, now that many states are lifting restrictions, some businesses are racing to get back to "normal" operations. Subway, for example, reportedly wants its franchise locations to be open 91 hours per week. As one unhappy Redditor pointed out, that translates to "13 hours a day." Locations he would need enough people to stand on their feet and prepare subs for customers during that window of time. And with many restaurants still grossly understaffed, perhaps understandably, some employees got upset. 

Employees voice their displeasure

On social media, a number of people did not take the news well. One Redditor commented, "Imagine being the only employee," to which another person responded, "Now we have three, including me, running 85 hours a week." One commenter shared a secondhand anecdote about a worker allegedly having "no life" and feeling "burnt out." Still, another joked about having bunk beds in the back of the franchise because they spent pretty much all their time at work.

Mashed reached out to Subway about the reported increase in hours. The response suggests that the sandwich chain is piggybacking on the number of customers "craving Subway" as of late. According to one Subway spokesperson, increasing hours "allows the brand to stay competitive – ensuring guests can choose Subway over other options – and creates more opportunity for incremental orders from off-premise business, like delivery, particularly during dinner hours."

In pre-pandemic times, Subway locations were typically open 98 hours a week, the spokesperson told Mashed. Moreover, there are already locations that meet or exceed the 91-hour mark. Because some franchises now face challenges due to understaffing, the company will be "working closely with them to provide exceptions as needed."