Takeaway Truth: Subway’s Lemon & Herb Sub

Takeaway Truth: Subway’s Lemon & Herb Sub

Takeaway Truth is a new occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Subway’s Lemon & Herb Chicken sub.

Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we’ve decided to document the reality of fast food — it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

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Subway’s previous appearance on Takeaway Truth was pretty woeful. The Three Pepper Chicken sub was a squashed and soggy creation oozing in melancholy. We awarded it a slightly charitable 5/10.

Described by Subway as an “irresistible new taste”, the Lemon & Herb Sub is a limited-edition sandwich that comes with “tender, succulent chicken marinated in zesty lemon juice, garlic and fragrant spices topped with a delicious lemon & herb sauce.”

To make the comparison as fair as possible, I asked my local Subway “sandwich artist” to use the same salad ingredients and sauce as shown on the poster.

Here is the Lemon & Herb Chicken Sub as it appears on Subway’s website:

And here’s what we got served:

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

It’s not the worst looking meal to come under the Takeaway Truth spotlight, but that’s probably the most charitable thing we can say about it. Once again our bread was decidedly squashed looking and the chicken bears very little resemblance to the advertised image. Hopefully Subway can pull its act together when we test the Steak & Bacon with Cheese sub later in the week. Fingers crossed!

    Truth Rating: 5/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.


  • I have had that bread before…I swear the staff could have cut it with a spoon better.

    I find Subway a bit hit and miss but still the best out there IMO, I still love my Seafood and Pepperoni subs

      • Yeah toasting helps immensely. Keeping it basic with the meats does too in my opinion, the difference between the plain chicken strips (good) and the chicken “classic” fillets (terrilble) is night and day.

        That said, the salad in this looks very lazy.. The local food in their area seems especially terrible, my sandwiches consistently look pretty decent 😀

    • Seafood? You’re game.

      I rarely buy Subway, but when I do it is usually a toasted pizza sub, which can leak due to an abundance of sauce. I would say that while the sandwiches don’t always look amazing, the taste can be more or less up to the customer.

  • With the amount of work that goes into making the food shots (including gems such as painted styrofoam fries), I’d be thoroughly concerned if I got served exactly what was on the poster : /

    • It could mean that the person making your sub loves their job enough to take care with it and prepare it nicely…

      I think you’re right. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.

  • Not wanting to be negative, but have you ever given any of these favourable scores?

    I ask because if everything just gets low scores is there any real point?

          • Both of those were things I would have given lower than average scores to going by the picture you supplied.

            I’m guessing each of us simply judges things differently, and I don’t have the advantage you have of seeing it in person.

          • Pretty sure you can go buy a sandwich if you really want. These aren’t press prerelease.. sandwiches we’re dealing with here heh

  • I’d be interested to see if you can physically manipulate the food you get served to get it as close to the advertised product as possible.

    • Funnily enough, we have actually discussed this very notion — we might even go all out and hire a professional photographer.

      • I’ve thought about it too (I put too much thought into some articles I read, ok?) and decided while it might be an entertaining experiment, it’s better to continue along the lines you currently do as the whole point is differences between what’s shown and what you get, not what’s shown and what’s possible.

        If you do start making changes to make it as close as possible, then how far do you go? Do you start asking for all the ingredients separately and to be put into containers you yourself supply so things don’t get squashed on the way back to the photo location? Do you ask for the cooked ingredients in raw/frozen format so you can try and reproduce just the right amount of cooking used in the ad?

        That’s the extreme levels to which it can be taken, and it’s the closest to what they do for preparing the shot used in the ad, but the point is comparing the ad to the normal stock standard end product which is what you’re already doing.

        At most, improvements to lighting & angles used in the photos, that’s about it I’d say.

    • They already are at least making an effort to use similar angles etc.

      Kudos for taking comment feedback on board.

    • Shoot me like one of your french girls..

      Also your website is full page flash (urgh), and has thusfar loaded to 100% 4 times (400% This is going to be EPIC)

  • I am gonna be honest, as a frequenter of all the fast food places, I have to ask: where the hell do you find these places? I have eaten at so many subways, mcdonalds, HJs and others and i have never received food that looks like this.

    Its even more galling with subway, you literally watch them make it, so if you don’t like what you see, complain.

  • i dont give a toss what it looks like, what does it taste like cause it sounds nice

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