(NEXSTAR) – An alleged issue with Subway’s newest sandwiches is leaving a bad taste in some of its franchisees’ mouths.
The North American Association of Subway Franchisees (NAASF) recently said that it “cannot endorse” the chain’s new Fresh Melts sandwiches, claiming that the preparation method for the extra-cheesy sandwiches may pose a safety risk to the shops’ sandwich artists.
The NAASF further said that the sandwiches are more difficult to customize, and may even damage the toasting ovens.
“NAASF cannot endorse this promotion under these circumstances,” the NAASF wrote in notice sent to members, according to Restaurant Business Online. “We are hopeful that [Subway’s Franchise World Headquarters] will confront these issues immediately and allow us the opportunity to stand with them and endorse this promotion. In the meantime, weigh out the above concerns and stand strong with the decision you make as a franchisee investor.”
The NAASF, which describes itself as a “community” of Subway franchisees, said operators were specifically concerned about employees placing the sandwiches in the toaster by hand, though Subway responded by instructing the operators to make tongs or paddles available for employees. The NAASF also claims that some franchisees feel the sandwiches may damage their toasters.
In response to the NAASF’s concerns, Subway issued a statement to Restaurant Business that claimed the company provides “extensive” training materials to operators and performs thorough testing before introducing a new product or “innovation.”
Subway also makes “operational and equipment adjustments as needed, ensuring that our franchisees and hard-working sandwich artists are able to safely and consistently execute a quality meal that guests expect,” the company wrote, in part.
The Fresh Melts, which come with “a triple portion of cheese” were officially introduced at participating Subway restaurants on May 6. In a press release, Subway touted as “extra cheesy,” but also “gooey and grilled.”
“Fresh Melts are the latest menu innovation to give guests fresh, smart choices that don’t sacrifice taste or flavor,” said Chef Paul Fabre, the senior vice president of Culinary and Innovation at Subway, in the release. “Our Melts are unique as they’re grilled, not toasted, so we’re creating the ultimate sandwich that has crunchy bread, melty cheese and your favorite ingredients for a perfect bite every time.”
In addition to the three new Fresh Melt sandwiches (Ham & Cheese, Tuna, and Steak & Cheese), Subway also offers customers the option to “upgrade” any footlong sandwich into a cheesier Fresh Melt sandwich for $1 extra, at participating locations.