Takeaway Truth: Subway Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt And Meatball Sub

Takeaway Truth: Subway Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt And Meatball Sub

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Subway’s Premium Chicken & Bacon Sub and Meatball 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.

It’s been a while since we last put Subway under the Takeaway Truth spotlight. Previously, we have looked at the Three Pepper Chicken, Steak & Bacon With Cheese and Lemon & Herb Sub — none of which fared particularly well (the top scoring sub received a modest 5/10).

The latest limited-edition item on Subway’s menu is the Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt which is part of the new ‘Premium Chicken’ rage. Subway describes the Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt as being “stuffed with melted Monterey cheddar cheese, tender all-white meat chicken, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions and green peppers.”

As always, we asked our Subway sandwich artist to make our sub look exactly like the image on the poster. Here’s how the finished product compared (note: the Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt is the sub on the poster’s top right).

She didn’t do a particularly good job, did she? I even swiveled the poster stand around so she could see it while preparing the sandwich. Tch, eh?

Truth Rating: 5/10

Another sub that we haven’t looked at yet is their staple menu item: the meatball sub. Subway’s advertising blurb for the meatball sub describes it thusly: “Italian style meatballs drenched in irresistible marinara sauce, served on freshly baked bread.”

Here’s how the real thing compares to the advertised image:


Truth Rating: 4/10

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


  • I frequent subway a LOT and I’ve got to say that I have never had a sub look as bad as either of those do.

    • Ditto this. Sure, they never look like the poster but they at least look edible. I know appearance doesn’t affect the flavour but it does affect the appetite.

    • You are lucky. My meatball sub ALWAYS comes out looking like that and its not like I overload it with ingredients. Meatballs, cheese, capsicum and olives – thats it.

      ALWAYS have to shove the meatballs and other guts back into the sandwich and re-arrange it before eating. I feel like subway standards of care are getting worse. It never used to be as bad as it has been over the last 12 months and I frequent quite a few different stores due to working on the road.

    • yea i agree. meatball is the only one i ever have and it has never ever looked anything like the second image, nor the first either for that matter but that second image, no way.
      and just as a matter of interest, how many subways did you guys buy? was this the first one or the tenth?

  • You could’ve at least asked for the same ingredients in the Meatball Sub as the advertised image (i.e. no salad).

    • I agree. It’s a little hard to compare the two considering the second one is full of salad and just pushing everything out of the way. Of course, on top of that, the lighting in the second meatball sub photo is really bad, so that doesn’t help much. Pretty much the only thing that can be compared is the bun. In the ad it looks perfect in every way, but in the second it just looks sad.

  • Top one looks alright, how long do you have to wait while she measures the placement of everything with a ruler. At least with subway you get everything on the sandwich you want and plenty of it. By the time it’s in your gob who cares about if the tomato was showing our not?

    • We go through this every time, its not so much the result that’s the problem, its the advertising. If that’s not what they are selling then why are they advertising it.

      Of course no one wants to wait 40 minutes while they pump out a Michelin star sandwich, but dishonest advertising is not really a good thing on any level.

      • but un-pretty images dont sell products!

        said the dumbass money hungry bastards.

        i hate the media and the way things are portrayed in this world, its f’d up.

      • 4 meatballs across, cheese, sauce. Yeah, that ad is accurate.

        Oh, you also want cold salad mixed in there, and expect your generic ‘sandwich technician’ (ie not the Corporate office ‘stylists’) to make it look like the poster? ooookay.

  • It has been said, and i’ll say it again, this series is extremely stupid. It just goes to show how self-entitled the current generation of Australians really are. Has Gawker never edited a feature picture to make it look more appealing than it usually is? Have you never looked through a magazine? Men, Women, Gadgets, Cars, everything is made to look eye catching for the same reason. Ugly things don’t sell and who says that should be a bad thing. Why don’t you just decide not to dress up for an interview, why falsely advertise yourself as someone who enjoys dressing up. Why bother selling yourself?

    A video about food styling by non other than McDonalds:

  • If you eat at a real restaurant, you don’t get pictures of the food before you order.

    I’m not a “foodie” but the usual lament about a dodgy restaurant is that it has pictures of the meals on the menu is often true. I’ve had nice meals from places with pictured menus (one Korean cookhouse in Oahu comes to mind) so it’s not set in stone.

    You shouldn’t expect somebody earning minimum wage to care at all about presentation of your fast food meal.

    Nor can you eat a picture. Critique the taste, not the presentation.

  • not to mention the fact that in the image both subs are toasted
    the cheese wont get pushed out of the way on a toasted sub… you know being melted and all.
    but also in saying that they dont look similar is a good thing
    look at the meatball sub, trying to eat that as is would be stupid without getting sauce everywhere
    i’d much rather to have the whole thing encapsulated so i dont get tomato based sauce stains on whatever shirt im wearing at the time

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