Seattle franchisee: I was threatened by Subway over protest sign
David Jones didn’t intend to go viral when he put up a sign in one of his Subway franchise locations informing customers Seattle taxes prevented him from participating in the $5 footlong deal.
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“My sign wasn’t meant to attack Seattle,” Jones told 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “My sign was meant to just share what I’m dealing with so you can understand why I can’t participate.”
Jones, the owner of Subway locations in Seattle’s SoDo and University District neighborhoods, cites several factors that prevent him from being able to offer the discount. These factors include an increasing minimum wage, paid sick leave, secure scheduling, and the new tax on surgery beverages.
Jones says he just wanted to explain to customers what was going on.
“They come in, they order a sandwich that they saw on TV,” Jones said, “They come all the way down to go pay. That’s when they’re told by us that we’re not participating, which I think is unfair to the customer.”
Jones still attempted to offer customers a discount on sandwiches in the form of coupons, although the discount wasn’t as steep as the one advertised in national campaigns. The workers-rights group Working Washington argued this is actually a positive example of businesses managing fair labor practices correctly.
The real story here is how this business owner says right there in red type he’s committed to finding a way to keep prices down while also providing good working conditions as the city and state have required. That’s a good thing!
Jones says there are several misconceptions about franchise owners.
“We pay for everything that Subway does, we pay for it ourselves,” Jones said. “Then we make the crumbs at the end of the day, and our crumbs at the end of the day are the same as any small business owners’ crumbs at the end of the day.”
It’s not just activists making a big deal out of this. Jones says the Subway national executives aren’t happy he’s making waves.
“I got a very stern call last night letting me know that my life was going to get very ugly if I didn’t take the sign down,” Jones said. “I took the sign down this morning.”
Jones described the phone call as threatening and he understood the implicit message was they would attempt to terminate his franchise if he didn’t comply.
Subway says it is preparing a statement.