Yep, that absolutely was part of their model. They were able to use it to build brand loyalty at a regional level with folks who didn’t have any deli or sandwich shop options they might have in more populated urban areas. And that helped prop them up for sure. And they also caught a lot of indie sandwich delis off their guard. They’d stick two Subways into a busy, high-traffic urban area where there might also be four or five traditional independently-owned, mom and pop delis. And Subway would undercut them on prices, and it turned out the weaker Mom & Pops were offering craptastic ingredients too, so the weakest in that group would fold their hyper-local market share and cede a lot of that to Subway.
They also expanded like crazy by basically having rock-bottom franchise entrance costs. Of course, what they didn’t tell their franchise owners was how they were going to financially abuse the hell out of them.
But they blew up to more locations that McDonald’s. A lot more. And that was simply unsustainable in the long run.
I don’t know how far it stretches, but DiBella’s makes good sandwiches. I know they have them in Michigan and in New York.
There is one Jersey Mike’s around here that I know of, but it is 15 minutes away.
The best subs in my area are a little deli named Deli and Brew. They have a lunch line 10 back or more every day, mostly with trades workers. You have to order online ahead of time if you don’t want toi wait half an hour. https://www.deliandbrew.com/
I used to massively prefer Quizno’s (once I actually tried them) but they’ve died off even worse than Subway around here. I don’t think I’ve ever tried Jersey Mike’s, I was skeptical. And Jimmy John’s…meh. Their only real virtue was delivering but now I have multiple JJs within a couple miles of me and neither is willing to deliver to me.
I’m okay with Potbelly’s—they have Zapp’s potato chips which is a definite plus—as far sandwich chains go, though I only eat there (or see them really) in airports.
Edit I associate it with D.C., but it’s apparently a Midwest chain and aside from a few visits in D.C., I’ve only ate there at Boston and Charlotte’s airports. Weird.
The answer, of course, is whatever local deli has survived this late into capitalism.
Nothing in town can fuck with the amazing Jewish deli + restaurant that has been a staple in St Paul for idk 70 years or something. That place is an absolute institution, and I am going to celebrate it when I finally reach my weight goal.
We have a Which Wich and a Jimmy Johns nearby and I put them into the also-rans. Jimmy Johns makes a decent sandwich but their pricing went up recently from what I can tell. And having them customize things is a pain in the ass in my opinion.
But Which Wich is just a strange beast. I’m not 100% sure why anyone would go there over something else close by.
Quiznos had a massive collapse.
Whatever Quiznos puts in their sauces or maybe what they cook their meat in or maybe the meat…whatever it is, there’s little in this world more guaranteed to give me the BPs. (As of the last time I subjected myself to Quiznos, anyway, like 5-8 years ago now?)
I never had Quizno’s, but their strange ad with a singing rat sock puppet thing is singed into my brain, emerging occasionally when someone mentions Quizno’s which is pretty rare these days. At least I think that was Quizno’s.
I loved Quizno’s, until they closed all their stores near me. Which Wich is also decent, though the service at the Ann Arbor store was dreadful. Potbelly’s is pretty good, but the sandwiches are small. Jimmy John’s is basically a mayonnaise sandwich. Unless you don’t order mayo, in which case I assume you get a bread tube.
A decade ago, Quiznos was the more predatory franchise operator:
In which case it takes them 3 times the amount of time just to make a sandwich without it. I’m not sure if they pre-make sandwiches at lunch or not but with the one near me anyway, making a special order of a sandwich in any way means having to go inside vs drive through as the wait time is a bit of a pain in the ass. If you stick to their menu numbers, boom, it’s ready by the time you get to the window. Something doesn’t sit right about that with me.
Cecil’s? Yeah, they’re amazing.
Yeah, I tried really hard to find any sandwich at Jimmy John’s that I could eat that had some kind of taste. I couldn’t really find one. I really don’t understand the people who prefer that to Subway. With all their various sauces, you can create something at subway with lots of flavor and really make every sandwich taste different.
I had always assumed Jersey Mike’s was the same (as Jimmy John’s), but I see a lot of love for it in this thread, so I’ll have to give them a try.
Well, “Freaky Fast” doesn’t necessarily imply Freaky Good, or Freaky Fresh, or Freaky MadeToOrder.
The last time I ever ate at a Quiznos was in the early 2010’s, I recall getting a meatball sub, where they put 6 half meatballs spread out (equal to 3 total meatballs) in a 10-12" roll, with like a cup of sauce.
Never went back again.
Do what now? I need to try Jersey Mike’s again apparently, I don’t recall it being nearly Philly-level of sandwich awesome. Subway, eh, they’re so ubiquitous that I still get a sandwich every now and again, just because vegetables are involved in a form other than fries. No lettuce, no tomatoes, but all the pickled and preserved stuff in the middle is hard to screw up.
Jimmy John’s, “bread tube” is a pretty apt description. One strange thing about salespeople is that they really don’t seem to care about what they eat, they just want to shove some calories in their mouth and keep talking. They would always order JJ and it about gagged me.
My biggest beef with Subway is them taking away the Seafood sub. That used to be my favorite when it was called Seafood & Crab back in the 90s. So good. Footlong Seafood & Crab with all the veggies. And Oil & Vinegar, salt and pepper. Perfect sandwich I couldn’t get anywhere else.
After they changed it to “Seafood sensation”, they started using light mayo instead of mayo to make the seafood part, so it wasn’t as good anymore, but still my favorite sub there.
And then they most Subways got rid of it. I could still find it here and there about 5 years ago, but now I haven’t seen a Subway sell it at all for the last 3 years.
I guess the teriyaki chicken, meatball and tuna are the three that are still good.
I haven’t had Subway in years—probably at least 4. But I liked it occasionally. Conversely, I hated Quizno’s when I had it and Jimmy John’s left me cold. (I think it was JJ’s.) There used to be a local place in Wichita, Cinnamon’s, that I liked, but I’ve heard it’s gone downhill.
At one point, Subway had the most locations in the US IIRC. In plenty of places it was the only fast food place. That meant I imagine in lots of places there was little oversight. I just moved from rural NW Iowa after two years (yay!), and the Subway there was apparently awful. I saw lots of Facebook posts about it. It wasn’t the quality of the food; it was about the operation of the store. Plenty of anecdotes about people showing up around 6 pm to be told they were out of bread for the day and similar things. I’m sure those supply issues were exacerbated by COVID, but it seems that they reflected deeper problems.
I wonder how much of Subway’s trouble is ingredients and how much are local locations just being poorly run.