Occasionally a little earworm gets stuck in my head out of nowhere: “We love submarines! Because they are nice to us! The undeniable catchiness of Quiznos jingles (and the grotesqueand of the spongmonkeys who sang this) burned this 2004 trade in many brains, for better or for worse. The The Denver Business Journal reported at the time this certain places “ comparable store sales dropped 30% after these ads ran, and some workers have even been reprimanded by customers who say the ads terrify their children. But on the plus side, almost 20 years later, I still think about it. And every time that jingle reappears in my memory, I can’t help but wonder: What is Quiznos doing these days?
The answer, in 2022, turns out to be “a lot, actually”. According to QSR magazine, the sandwich chain is preparing for a total overhaul of its kitchens, service models and menu. The restaurant could have seemed elongated dormant for a decade, but fortunately we are about to enter a renaissance of Quiznos. It was time.
Why Quiznos is revamping its image
It’s been a tough decade for Quiznos. By the end of the 2000s, the chain had nearly 5,000 branches in the United States, QSR Magazine Reportsa number that has now dipped below 200. The company declared bankruptcy in 2014, and in 2018 it was bought by private equity firm High Bluff Capital and absorbed into the REGO Restaurant Group, which also runs the Seattle-based chain Taco Del Mar. It’s the REGO team that now hopes to revitalize Quiznos, starting with a new location in Hobbs, New Mexico.
“The new restaurant is truly a revamped and redesigned Quiznos, truly built to meet evolving consumer interest,” REGO’s Vice President of Marketing and Digital Experience, Brent Phillip, told QSR. “So it’s based on extensive research that was done before the pandemic and during the pandemic to find out what Quiznos should look and feel like in terms of the consumer experience, to provide them with what they’re looking for today, but also really really ‘wow.'”
What to expect from the new Quiznos locations
Photos of the new design seem aligned with the style we see in several fast casual chains like Chipotle, Sweetgreen and Shake Shack: clean, modern architecture with strategic pops of color (in this case, bright green and neon orange). In the kitchen, the biggest changes are the addition of a flat grill and fryer, allowing for more menu creativity. The Hobbs site will also be the first to have a Drive-thrulikely a response to COVID-era preferences.
But perhaps one of the most exciting changes for customers is the improved menu. Because Quiznos has fallen out of favor with sandwich lovers due solely to the lack of locations, customers aren’t necessarily trained to expect anything particular from the Quiznos menu and experience the way they are. , for example, Subway. This gives the brand license to do whatever it wants, as long as it stays within the very broad “grilled sub” route. Some standNew menu items include Asian Steak Dipper, Steakhouse Philly, Carne Supreme, and Steak and Eggs, the latter being one of many new all-day brunch sandwiches.
Going forward, Phillip says the plan is to open a handful of these new models this year, followed by dozens more in 2023, which will lead to a “fairly steep curve” of growth in 2024. The exact locations where these new stores will appear hasnhas yet to be announced, so keep an eye out for empty storefronts near you, In case.
Why Quiznos is better than Subway
Honestly, it’s time Quiznos got some attention and fixed-‘em-ups it deserves. When it entered the scene in 1981, it was the first sub-chain to offer grilled sandwiches, which instantly elevates any lunch. And while places like Subway and Potbelly have tried to replicate the technique, there’s just something about the combination of bread and oven used that makes Quiznos toast. different.
Quiznos doesn’t get enough credit for its innovations. Not only was he the first to standardize toasting your sandwich, he was also one of the first to embrace the avocado trend by heavily incorporating guacamole into his menu in the early 2000s, years before that Millennials will be decried for spending all their money on avocado toast. And the current menu offers something you can’t find at any other sandwich chain: a lobster submarine.
While Quiznos isn’t a build-your-own sandwich shop like Subway, you can still customize your meal down to size. Just want a little bite? Get the 4 inch. Hungry? Go for the 12 inch. Plus, the sides are way more fun than those of your typical substring—have you seen Toddler Loaded Jalapeño Bacon or birthday cake donut holes offered elsewhere?
And as divisive as publicity may have been in the past, we have to give it up for the Spongmonkeys, who embody the spirit of a company willing to try anything. It’s okay to get a little weird once in a while and try the weird. At the very least, it will keep people talking about Quiznos for another 20 years.