Speed Reads


John Oliver has some complaints about Subway, America's largest restaurant chain

"Our main story tonight concerns sandwiches, specifically Subway sandwiches, dad's attempt at dinner," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "Now, it can seem like Subway's in the news pretty often, and it is rarely for anything good," he added, running through some of the recent controversies. "But even putting all of those stories aside, Subway is still worth talking about tonight for a number of reasons, starting with the fact it's a lot bigger than you might think. Subway's actually the biggest restaurant chain in the U.S. by number of locations, and for a while they had the most locations of any restaurant worldwide, beating both Starbucks and McDonald's."

They don't anymore, because things got kind of dark for local Subway owners, or franchisees, Oliver said. "And if your franchisees are giving interviews like they're in witness protection, and the public is constantly debating if your bread is bread, your tuna is tuna, and whether or not your sandwiches are filled with dicks, something has clearly gone very wrong. So tonight let's talk about Subway: Where it came from, what it's business model is, and why there are so many f---ing many of them."

Oliver does talk at some length about Subway's unusual corporate structure and offers some suggestions about how to better regulate franchises in the U.S., though it also seems like he may have just wanted to talk about Subway for half an hour. He does, however, end with an original Korean sandwich drama that wraps up the segment neatly, like a sandwich in an ultimately unappetizing wrapper.