Monday, February 20, 2012

“About Us” Evaluation: Subway Gets a B

Subway, founded by Fred DeLuca in 1965 and headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, has over 35,000 restaurants in 98 countries, making it the world’s largest single-brand restaurant chain. Privately owned and operated, it is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world. Subway’s About Us page is here.


Subway’s main About Us page is nicely laid out, with a quick summary of the company’s strengths: fresh ingredients, customer service, innovation. We love that instead of offering us the choice of history, social responsibility, FAQ, or current news stories via tiny words on a navigation menu, Subway gives each of these options its own section of the main page, with enticing headlines and graphics.

Accessibility: B+

Kudos to Subway for giving us multiple ways to reach them. At the lower right of the main About Us page are the mailing address, phone, and email. There’s also a Contact Us tab in the top navigation bar and a Contact Us link in the footer. Customer feedback clearly matters to Subway: they make it easy for us to do it. (Of course, we always wonder what the company actually does with it. We hope they reply with more than just a boilerplate email.)

One minor suggestion: On the Contact Us page, some of the fields could be arranged side by side to make the form look shorter. It currently runs to two full pages on a laptop screen and begins with the earnest but daunting request that we fill in as much information as we possibly can.

Personality: B

The history is brief but well told, with archival photos that make the story even more interesting. We’d like to have more information on the founder, Fred DeLuca, who’s apparently still in charge. What are his values and goals? How do they drive the company? This omission is particularly odd given that (according to the company timeline) Mr. DeLuca published a book, Start Small Finish Big, on how to run one’s own business.

We applaud the timeline for including fascinating tidbits such as we see all too seldom on company websites. Who knew that Subway was featured in The Simpsons, that they have a branch in Qatar, and that their float once won a trophy in the Tournament of Roses Parade?

Products/Services: B

Subway’s pages are often mouth-watering. We started to feel hunger pangs while reading about the introduction of various menu items in the timeline. It would be an improvement, though, to have images of these rather than verbal descriptions.


Subway’s pages are well designed, but since they can’t convey the smell, taste, or texture of the products, they should include more photos of Subway’s food and of customers enjoying it.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.