Customer shows ‘futuristic’ drive-thru Subway

@nolablest2020/TikTok James Copeland/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I’m still shook this is a thing’: Customer shows ‘futuristic’ drive-thru Subway

'It's sooo much faster to just go in...'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Oct 2, 2023

Introverts rejoice. Turns out Subway, the popular sandwich chain, is integrating humanless drive-thru windows into some of its drive-thru locations. Viewers on TikTok are conflicted over whether they love it or hate it.

Subway is facing stiff competition from their smaller competition, Jersey Mike’s, as Subway franchises continue to struggle with years of “petty and bureaucratic” management, according to Forbes.

Just three years ago, Restaurant Business reported that the company laid off 300 people, not for financial reasons, but to give remaining workers a “sense of urgency.”

At the time, it was clear that CEO John Chidsey was moving the company in a more digital direction, encouraging more sales on the sandwich chain’s digital platforms, which took several million dollars to build. The move towards humanless drive-thrus also poses the question of whether the move will cut jobs at Subway franchises across the nation.

That digital direction seems to be continuing—as a customer who goes by @nolablest2020 on TikTok shared her recent experience at one of the chain’s drive-thrus.

“I need to show you this drive-thru Subway because I’m not kidding, I’m still like shook that this is a thing,” @nolablest2020 says in the clip.

@nolablest2020 #subwayorder #futuristic #touchscreendrivethru #drivethru #fyp ♬ original sound – B

The woman pulls up to the drive-thru, and it looks normal until you realize that customers aren’t placing their orders with a person but with a machine instead. For those familiar with McDonald’s in-store ordering screens, it’s akin to that type of digital system.

When @nolablest2020 pulls up to the ordering screen, she’s instructed to touch it to begin placing her order. The menu even has a translation button for anyone looking to place their order in Spanish.

@nolablest2020 proceeds to order an Italian sub and is able to select each ingredient she wants on the screen, from the cheese to her toppings, without a glitch. When she selects her toppings and condiments, she’s able to indicate whether she wants more or less of one ingredient.

Toward the end of the order, the machine allows her to enter her phone number, but it is unclear why it wants this information since there’s an option to skip this step.

At the end of the video, @nolablest2020 shows that she was successfully able to pick up the order she placed with the drive-thru machine.

The video has more than 250,000 views and over 200 comments as of Monday morning.

Some people said that they loved this new drive-thru feature.

“This cures my social anxiety,” a top comment read.

“Oh this would be so great! The last few times I’ve gone to subway, they’ve given me a completely different sandwich than what I ordered,” a person said.

Others said the feature wasn’t worth it.

“We have these in my town and it’s sooo much faster to just go in… you’re not missing out if you don’t have this,” a commenter wrote.

“So we have one in my town but for some reason the volume is like maxed out so it screams at you,” another person wrote in a top comment.

Several commenters pointed out that while the drive-thru screen may be new in her area, it has been around for years in their communities.

“This became a thing in my small town like 6 years ago,” a viewer shared.

The Daily Dot reached out to the TikToker via TikTok comment and to Subway via email.

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*First Published: Oct 2, 2023, 10:15 am CDT