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America's Largest Sandwich Chain Is Facing a Shortage of This Menu Staple, Insiders Claim

According to some sources, the item won't be back until 2023.

When it comes to fast food, few franchises come close to the sheer size of Subway. The chain operates over 36,000 locations across 104 countries—making it one of the largest fast-food chains in the world. Indeed, you don't have to search very far to find a Subway location near you.

Being the home of the Footlong, the brand is best known for its wide selection of subs and an array of ingredients you can customize those subs with (although, the chain is attempting to move away from that). One thing's certain, though: no meal is complete without a refreshing beverage.

The chain offers three fountain drink sizes: small (20 oz), medium (30 oz), and large (40 oz). Rumblings on the social media platform Reddit, however, suggest more than a few Subway locations all over the country are running out of one cup size in particular—and a restock may not be coming any time soon.

Subway's Recent Deal on Sandwiches Sold Out in Hours

subway meal

Make sure you're thirsty the next time you visit a Subway location as there's a decent chance the store will be fresh out of 20-ounce paper cups. Referring to the chain's smallest-sized cups, one Reddit user recently revealed: "Boss told me today they'd be out til the end of the year 😫😫. I can already hear the complaints rolling in."

While that's just one person's testimony, multiple users corroborated the cup shortage update in the post's comments. One Redditor replied: "I've heard that too, which is dumb."

Another user commented: "I was told the same. Also informed us that the parm oregano (herb and cheese seasoning) is in the same boat. God forbid if we lose lettuce…" A few readers were skeptical about the claims, but that same Redditor chimed in again, noting: "What he has told is in fact accurate.. managers get emails from subway with important info like this and have even seen them myself."

Since that original tidbit appeared in the Subway subreddit, more details have begun to leak out. Another fresh post on Reddit appears to show an internal Subway email claiming "cup vendor production issues" are behind the current small cup shortage. As a short-term fix, the email states plain white 20-ounce styrofoam cups will be arriving shortly as a replacement.

Unfortunately, though, the email also notes standard Subway lids usually used for paper fountain cups won't fit these styrofoam stand-ins. This matches up with another comment, seemingly from a Subway store owner, posted in the first Reddit thread: "They freakin sent me styrofoam cups and none of my lids fit!!"

Details are still few and far between. It's unclear just how many Subway locations have been affected by the small paper cup shortage, or when each location will receive a new supply. While the first Reddit post suggests that a specific user's store won't see any new small paper cups until 2023, the internal Subway email states "paper cups are scheduled to arrive on Friday, 9/30/22 but they have not been confirmed yet."

At the very least, this story just goes to show that even casual dining juggernauts like Subway aren't immune to supply chain and production issues from time to time.

The chain has not returned our request for comment.

John Anderer
John Anderer is a writer who specializes in science, health, and lifestyle topics. Read more about John