(NEW YORK) — After finding itself in the middle of a sub-size controversy, Subway is responding with a claim that its famous foot-long subs are just a trademark, not reality.
“SUBWAY FOOTLONG” is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length,” reads a comment posted to Subway Australia’s Facebook this week.
“The length of the bread baked in the restaurant cannot be assured each and every time as the proofing process may vary slightly each time in the restaurant,” the post from Subway continues.
The post was in response to a debate that started earlier this week in Australia, when a customer, Matt Corby of Perth, posted a photo of an 11-inch “footlong” sub he’d purchased at a local restaurant on Subway Australia’s Facebook page along with the caption, “subway pls respond.”
The photo quickly went viral and sparked countless comments on Subway’s page, including one from Facebook user Sam Matthew who wrote, “So what is Subways official comment on the fact that their footlong a aren’t in fact a foot long??? Do we have the right to get what we ordered? I joined your Eat Fresh Club and all it’s just an excuse to send me advertising, so much for offers?! Now your subs are getting smaller, your prices are going up, you are charging up to $2 for Avo and I’ve gone from a 5 time a week customer to maybe once a month. Sam.”
It was in reply to Matthew that Subway issued its trademark reply, also adding, “Looking at the photo doing the rounds showing a slightly undersized sub, this bread clearly is not baked to our standards. We have policies in place to ensure that our freshly baked bread is consistent and has the same great taste no matter which Subway restaurant around the world you visit.”
In a statement issued to ABC News Tuesday in response to the first complaint, from Corby, Subway attributed the size discrepancy to the fact that the bread is baked fresh in each of the Milford, Conn.-based company’s 38,000 restaurants worldwide.
“We are committed to providing a consistent product delivering the same amount of bread to the customer with every order. The length however may vary slightly when not baked to our exact specifications. We are reinforcing our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure our offerings are always consistent no matter which Subway restaurant you visit,” the statement read.
When contacted Friday regarding the trademark claim, a representative for Subway reiterated that the company strives for 12 inches with each foot-long sub.
“Most countries, such as Australia, follow the metric system so the term Footlong can only be used as part of a trademark,” a spokesman told ABC News. “Our global standard for a SUBWAY Footlong sandwich is 12 inches regardless of the restaurant’s location.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN