Subway bag - © Subway Restaurants

Fast Food ‘chic’ defined

Which fast food restaurant’s take-out bag would you be most embarrassed to be seen walking down the street with? That’s the question a Subway survey recently asked more than 1,000 people. Some said they’re be proud to be seen with certain brands…

Subway bag - © Subway Restaurants

Before we get into any results, keep in mind that this is a survey commissioned and run by Subway. And note that Subway asked its survey respondents only to consider four brands: Subway itself, McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. So that gives you a pretty good idea about who Subway considers to be its most serious competition.


The survey worked two ways. The first way, it revealed the percentages of those asked who would be most embarrassed to be seen with each of the brands. Only 11 percent of those asked said they would be embarrassed to be seen with a Subway bag. Fourteen per cent said they’d be embarrassed to be seen carrying Wendy’s. The numbers jumped alarmingly then, registering an embarrassing 33 per cent for Taco Bell and 42 per cent for McDonalds.

The other way, 13 per cent said they’d be proudest to be seen with a McDonalds bag while 63 per cent said they’d be proudest to be seen with a Subway bag.

An astonishing 48 per cent of women asked said they’d be most embarrassed to be seen with a McDonalds bag. A similar pecentage of male respondents under the age of 35 were similarly loathe to be seen with a McBag. Hmm…

So what?

This whole notion of this survey makes one wonder about the state of modern society. Our priorities. What we value. I would have thought, as a foodservice person, that Subway would more likely want to know which fast food brand people preferred, of the four named. Or which brand people felt offered the best food, Or the best value. Instead, they asked which brand people would most (and least) want to ‘be seen with’.

But, as frivolous as the survey seems on the surface, I’m certain Subway had a lot of good solid marketing method hidden in its apparent madness. I think, on reflection, Subway was looking for a demographic picture of its customer base – and of its competition’s. The survey was a pretty crafty way to get that information, and novel enough to get Subway some positive press and a lot of blog buzz.

So, Bravo Subway! I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the board meeting when they look at the results…

~ Maggie J.