Can You Have a Beard at Subway? (Employee Policies in 2022)

From its humble beginnings in Bridgeport, CT, Subway has flourished into the number one sub sandwich chain in the world. If you are looking to become part of their fresh family, you may wonder if you need a freshly shaven face to be hired. 

Subway policy allows for beards as long as they are well-groomed. Since you are working directly with food, a beard net may be required depending on the location and leadership.

Read on to learn more about specific facial hair guidelines at Subway.

Are Subway employees allowed to have facial hair?

Male sandwich artists and managers are seen wearing beards on Subway’s career website. Website pictures and social media pictures are great places to do a little facial hair reconnaissance before an interview.

Subway employees are allowed to have beards as long as they do not become a hygiene issue. Longer beards may require a beard net to be worn while preparing food.

According to current employees, franchise employee handbooks, and the Subway FAQ on Indeed, beards are allowed at most locations. 

Can you be fired for growing a beard at Subway?

According to current employees, there is “no policy banning facial hair in the Subway bible,” however, each franchisee can make their own rules. 

Food safety and customer perception are important at Subway. If a beard repeatedly causes contamination of food or looks unkempt and unsanitary then it could result in termination.

Subway prides itself on making sandwiches exactly how the customer wants. Since the process is in plain view, your beard is too. If a customer thinks your facial hair is posing a threat to their sandwich, complaints may be made to management. This could result in a warning or an ultimatum to cover it up or shave it off.

Does facial hair policy vary at different Subway locations?

There’s nothing worse than finding someone else’s hair in your food. Especially if it’s coarse, wiry, and reminiscent of hairs found in the nether regions.

If this has ever been an issue for a manager, chances are they have strict hair requirements or better yet have nixed facial hair altogether.

Subway facial hair policy can vary depending on the location or the owner or manager’s preferences. The covering of beard hair can also vary depending on the store.

One Alaskan franchise implicitly states “clean shaven…NO BEARDS! NO GOATEES!” in their employee manual. This seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

The vast majority of employees and hiring managers say “if it looks clean, good, and under control then it’s alright.” Neatly trimmed mustaches are allowed as long as they don’t pass the corners of the mouth.

Different stores even have different requirements for beard nets. A look at discussion boards saw many locations didn’t require a beard net to be worn, while other stores did. 

Are there exemptions for beards and mustaches at Subway?

In some instances, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and  Equal Opportunity Laws can offer relief from facial hair restrictions.

Exemptions to grooming policies may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Legally, facial hair exemptions can be made on the basis of religious and cultural beliefs or for medical reasons. 

Religious or cultural beliefs

U.S. Equal Opportunity laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.

For some cultures and religions, facial hair is an outward expression of faith and observance. 

In these cases, talking with your manager will get the process rolling on how to overcome any restrictions that could interfere with your faith.

Medical reasons

The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures employers provide accommodation for employees with disabilities unless it would cause undue hardship on the employer’s business operations.

If you suffer from a skin disorder that makes shaving painful, providing documentation can often exempt you from strict requirements.

Are beards considered unprofessional?

Facial hair an accepted and normal part of most industries in 2022. The foodservice industry can be tricky due to the balance of food and hygiene. 

Most industries recognize the popularity of beards. Facial hair is accepted as professional in today’s business climate as long as they are well-groomed and maintained. 

Men with beards are often perceived to be more mature and better with money. These can be valuable perceptions in the business world.

Subway hair policy in 2022

Subway’s hair policy takes into consideration food preparation. A hat or visor is issued as part of the uniform. This addition is functional as it makes it easier to contain longer locks.

Subway policy requires hair to be contained by a uniform hat or visor. If hair length is longer than the collar, it must be worn in a braid, high ponytail, or tucked under the hat. Some locations require “unnatural” hair colors of any length to be tucked under the hat.

Employees say some locations require hairnets to be worn while others do not. A low, swinging ponytail is off-limits.