A disgruntled former Subway franchise owner in Australia who claims he is a victim of the "Sandwich Mafia" has posted a video that purports to show that the chain fudges its nutritional claims in its advertisements.
Arun Singhal, who owned a Subway shop in Melbourne, is the subject of a video that was posted on the Internet claiming that the nutritional values Subway advertises for its sandwiches can be much lower than what customers actually consume if they ask for common add-ons such as mayonnaise, cheese and avocado.
The video, which appeared on YouTube Tuesday posted under the name Mark Lee, shows Singhal explaining that the nutritional values advertised apply only to basic sandwiches made without condiments and served on white bread.
The differences can be substantial, Singhal points out in the video -- a 6-inch low-fat sub is listed as containing 6 grams of fat, but adding "sauce" ups that to 16.2 grams, adding cheese ups it to 19.7 grams and adding a slice of avocado ups it to 25.2 total grams of fat.
Singhal bases those results on the complete table of nutritional information, which is available on Subway's website.
Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reports that Singhal says he lost $350,000 when his franchise closed after he complained to Subway about the labeling issue. He says the company promised him a store in a better location if he closed his original spot, but then reneged.
"I lost my lifetime's savings because of Subway's 'as usual' deceptive behaviour," he told the Age newspaper in Australia. "Here a family man lost $350,000 in Subways investment. They left me with no option than to declare bankruptcy. I told the 'Sandwich Mafia' that if you don't compensate me for the loss of business, I am going to media to tell everyone about my story."
After Singhal threatened the chain with what it describes as a $35-million blackmail demand to not release the video, Subway was granted an emergency restraining order by an Australian court blocking its showing. But the video showed up on YouTube anyway, and links were sent to various Australian news outlets.
Singhal claims he had nothing to do with this and that the laptop on which the video was stored had been stolen.
A spokesman for the Subway corporation told the Age: "It's really disappointing that a former franchisee has taken this route. We won't give him credibility by commenting on it."