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The Top 5 Worst Fast Food Sandwich Chain Restaurants in America

As a professional travel and dining critic, I explore and review food and lodging destinations in the U.S. and abroad.

Which are the five worst fast food sandwich shops in America?

Which are the five worst fast food sandwich shops in America?

I may be a bit of a sandwich snob. When it comes to hoagies or subs, my definition is a 12-inch or longer bakery-style roll that is soft yet chewy and filled with thinly sliced cold cuts or lunch meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and sweet or hot pickled peppers. Maybe even both.

A lot of the fast food sandwich joints mentioned in this article provide the basic ingredients but just don't provide the quality, freshness, or the right kind of roll to rate them any higher than the bottom of the list. Here are my top five worst fast food sandwich shops in America, starting with #5. The least bad of the bunch.

Jersey Mike's Subs

Jersey Mike's Subs

#5. Jersey Mike's

Hailing from my home state of New Jersey, as the name implies, Jersey Mike's rings in at number five on this list. I rate them higher than the others based on the quality and freshness of the toppings. The tomatoes are always red, ripe, and tasty. I haven't found a brown piece of lettuce yet. The cold cuts are sliced fresh and layered nicely every time. Jersey Mike's tops off each sandwich with their signature splash of vinegar, oil, and spices.

The main reason this sandwich shop is listed here among the worst is due to the mediocre roll holding everything together. Soft and fluffy, similar to Wonder bread, this roll can't handle the quality ingredients and will eventually fail, causing a mass exodus of meats and cheese to unfortunately cascade onto your freshly pressed trousers. No thank you!

Jimmy John's Sandwiches

Jimmy John's Sandwiches

#4. Jimmy John's

Coming in at number four, a step closer to the bottom, is Jimmy John's. Founded in Illinois in 1983, Jimmy John's started out offering only four sandwiches served on freshly baked bread. Today, they offer over a dozen sandwich selections at over 1,000 locations across America.

Now a franchise restaurant using fresh baked fluffy rolls, and sandwiches at Jimmy John's can be hit or miss. The standard mid-grade quality cold cuts and cheeses will definitely send your sodium levels through the roof. The ratio of protein to roll is favored by the roll. Thanks, but no thanks, Jimmy. I want my meats and cheeses hanging out of the ends of my sandwich!

Blimpie, America's Sub Shop

Blimpie, America's Sub Shop

#3. Blimpie

Hiding in the middle of the pack, Blimpie hits the list at number three. With lackluster customer reviews and many of its locations shuttered, this formerly popular sandwich shop is nearly out of business. Blimpie offers no-frills, generic cold cuts, questionable vegetables, and portions that fluctuate depending on the location. If you're looking for a good hoagie, Blimpie isn't the right choice. Check out your local mom-and-pop spot for the best in deli sandwiches, served with love and fresh ingredients.

Quiznos, full of gross toppings!

Quiznos, full of gross toppings!

#2. Quiznos

The Blimpie clone, Quiznos lands at number two on this list. Just like Blimpie, locations across America are slowly closing their doors as sales and popularity wane. Founded in 1981, Quiznos quickly grew to over 5,000 locations around the world at its peak. Today, fewer than 200 stores remain.

Quiznos began losing popularity when franchises of the restaurant revolted when the corporation began offering discount coupons and free sandwiches to customers. This impacted the franchise's bottom line and ability to earn income from their sandwich shops. Swamped with lawsuits and plummeting sales, the quality and overall customer satisfaction suffered greatly and it shows!

Subway, the worst of the worst.

Subway, the worst of the worst.

#1. Subway

Arriving on this list as the number one worst fast food sandwich shop is Subway, known for the "$5 footlong," fluffy rolls filled with generic meats and cheeses including topping choices like cucumbers and raw bell peppers. Blah! This assembly-line sandwich shop is the progenitor of this horrible fast-casual concept that has spread to other restaurants like Moe's, Chipotle, Panda Express, and many others.

The build-your-own fast food concept is waning in popularity so much that Subway is currently reinventing itself with a revamped menu featuring items that have pre-set ingredients that discourage customer changes. Too many customers screw up their own creations forcing Subway to offer refunds that drastically cut the sandwich makers' profit margin.

Riddled with scandal due to its failed weight loss marketing scheme that featured a previously overweight spokesperson who was subsequently arrested for sex crimes involving minors. In the year 2000, Subway began to run advertising campaigns featuring this fellow, implying that eating the restaurant chain's sandwiches could eventually lead to fantastic levels of weight loss. Hogwash. No thanks, Subway! It appears that millions of others share the same sentiment. At least you made it to #1!

© 2022 Charles Kikas