What happened to Quiznos?

sign in window of sandwich shop, quiznos, with person inside

Strangely enough this submarine sandwich shop topic came to me when the morning radio show was arguing about the freaky speeds of Jimmy Johns. My mind went full stop and immediately questioned if Quiznos was still a thing.

My mind began to wonder, and then in my reflection of the Quiznos brand, I was immediately cast back into my college days. The Blockbuster Video I worked at across from campus would eventually be liquidated and in it’s place this sandwich shop would put down it’s roots. At that point in time, circa 2003-4ish, I knew of the brand, slightly. It seemed to want to compete with the ongoing successes of the catchy jingle, “5 dollar foot long,” from Subway.

The primary difference (and Subway eventually caught on to mitigate the threat), was Quiznos made the subs in front of you, just like all the other sub shops, but, they will toast the bread or the whole sub if it was hot, while you watched. This kind of theatrics and, let’s be honest toasty bread or sub is always better than cold (fight me, I dare you), created a new appeal to the mass sub consumption market. It won me over in an instant. I literally could not get enough when I first experienced it.

The global takeover had begun, and my college town was simply a small market outside the start of this empire. Quiznos originated in Denver, Colorado. Until I decided to approach this topic, I thought the restaurant was an early 2000’s boom, but apparently the first Quiznos spot opened in 1981. Color me shocked. Chef Jimmy Lambatos had an impressive resume from executive chef at a prominent steakhouse as well numerous other endeavors. Maintaining the brand and offering up franchises by 1983, he eventually sold to a father/son team in 1991. Again, completely surprised by the history of this chain.

This global phenomenon continue to gather steam as it hit Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, India, Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and Ireland. It seemed like everything was going great for this small startup out of Denver. But like most Cinderella stories, they tend to grow too large too quickly. Enter the great recession, bankruptcy, and restructuring. Behind closed doors franchisees have now come forward, some in the form of litigation, individual restaurants were hardly turning a profit, let alone making enough to keep the lights on.

At the height of it all, around 2007, Quiznos was 4,700 locations strong. Most recent reporting shows only 176 locations left in the United States, and 200 locations left in 30-plus countries. Among the vast amounts of litigation, personal harm, death, suicide and financial ruin, it is surprising the company has survived as long as it has. All of this is completely new information to me as I had a flash of nostalgia and thought it would be a fun topic to write about. Boy was I wrong.

This topic just goes to show just how many moving parts are in this world. Many of which go beyond the everyday ongoings of all of us. I am always considering or at least trying to think about everything about subjects. Call it ADHD or hyper fixation, but I tend to latch onto subjects and run down the rabbit hole.

Lastly, we can’t close out this topic until we touch on the very outlandish and weird advertising Quiznos produced. You have to think this idea was pitched by advertisers to other people (most likely executive level), and everyone said, yup, that’s the winner.

What the absolute hell?

This in no way, shape, or form enticed me to get a Quiznos sub. This was one of the weird tooth rodent adverts from this campaign. There’s plenty in this world that makes me ponder how certain things people think are good ideas. I suppose this late in life, I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore.

After googling around and learning everything I did, I would still suggest Quiznos has good food. Contingent on if they haven’t decreased quality of product due to the lack of revenue and lawsuits. I am still in shock just how dark the background of this sandwich empire was based on its pure beginnings by a chef in Colorado.

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