The 5 most overpriced sandwich chains, according to customers

The 5 most overpriced sandwich chains, according to customers

Top fast food chains have been slowly but steadily raising their menu prices over the past year. Both McDonald’s and Chipotle raised their prices in 2021 (6% and 10%, respectively), and Wendy’s and Starbucks are scheduled to make further pricing adjustments in the coming months.

While consumers have mostly put up with the price hikes so far, things may be reaching a tipping point, especially when it comes to some of the simpler, basic items like sandwiches.

According Forbes, Visits to drive-thrus are down in 2022, with the average consumer making one fewer drive-thru visit per week. In addition, consumers’ perception of value is beginning to change, with a majority of consumers (63%) considering current food prices to be ‘too high’. Add to that the frustration of paying top dollar for an underwhelming product, and soon, brands that don’t offer enough bang for America’s collective buck may be in trouble.

We looked at current prices and customer sentiment about America’s top sandwich chains. Do these sandwich slings really offer value for money? Here are the five fast-food sandwich chains that customers think are overpriced.

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1

Panera Bread

panera chicken sandwich

panera chicken sandwich

While Panera is the second-largest fast-casual chain and the largest bakery chain in the U.S., some customers have begun to refer to the food as “overpriced hospital food” with outrageous price-quality ratios. For example, the chain’s grilled cheese — which includes just bread and cheese — costs at least $8 (without tax), and fans are fed up, according to Puree. To put things into perspective, research shows that it costs about 50 cents to produce these sandwiches, so that’s pretty overpriced to turn a profit.

“Fresh soup with half a sandwich shouldn’t be more than $10, and yet, and even more if you add a drink,” explains one upset Redditor, adding: “It’s like a slightly better soup subway. , but it has prices that would make you think it’s a much better subway.”

2

Firehouse Subs

fireplace branches showcase

fireplace branches showcase

Founded by two firefighter brothers, Firehouse Subs started in the early 1990s and grew rapidly during the 2000s, expanding to a thousand locations by 2016. The chain was acquired by parent company Burger King late last year and now it’s Popeyes style growth trajectory.

But as popular as Firehouse Subs has become, it exists there is no shortage of complaints about the chain’s prices. One customer described the chain as “the gods definition of sophistication” and others have reported paying from anywhere $13 to $16 for a single sandwich. The chain’s signature, The Hook and Ladder (with turkey breast and honey ham) costs $9.55 for a medium (seven to eight inches).

3

By Jimmy John

Jimmy Johns

Jimmy Johns

Famous for its no-frills menu of clubs, Cubanos and melts—and its flagship “Gargantuan” sandwich—Jimmy John’s is currently among the four largest sandwich chains in America.

But like the other chains on this list, Jimmy John’s has its share critics who say the chain sandwiches are just not worth the price.

“Jimmy John’s is overrated and extremely overpriced. You don’t need to take out a second mortgage on your home just to get an extra slice of cheese on your sandwich,” one customer told Twitter.

Even Jimmy John’s fans seem to agree on this point, with one customer calling the chain’s subs “[the] overpriced sandwiches with the best taste.”

RELATED: 8 Times Workers Expose Fast Food Chains

4

Jersey Mike’s Subs

jersey mike's subs

jersey mike’s subs

Launched in 1956 in Point Pleasant, NJ Beloved for its fresh subs (the chain uses fresh-baked bread and cooks and cuts the meat in-store) and charismatic CEO, Jersey Mike’s is today the fifth largest in the industry.

But selling “the most authentic-tasting submarine sandwich” comes at a price—one that Jersey Mike’s customers have begun to notice over the past year. As highly as customers rate the chain’s premium sandwiches, they aren’t thrilled with Jersey Mike’s pricing.

A full-size authentic Italian currently costs $9.25—about $3 more than an All-American Club at Subway—and customers paying anywhere from $12 to $20 on other sandwiches from the chain have complained about the prices on Twitter.

“I agree with Jersey Mikes overcharging. My passion was the giant Philly Mikes way. Great sandwich but not worth the price. In n Out and Chick-fil-A offer great products at great value….@jerseymikes because subs are they so overrated to you?” said one customer. Another pointed out that the chain’s sandwiches are “bitten on the meat” and “small 4 the price.”

Other Twitter user agreed on the size: “I swear every time I go to @jerseymikes the buns get smaller and the price goes up…I’m literally getting a small sandwich for a large sandwich price compared to what we get in #Philly Might be cheaper send the real one price offer!”

5

Potbelly

potbelly

potbelly

Chicago-based Potbelly has been around since the 1970s, a fan favorite for its toasted sandwiches, diverse sides and delicious milkshakes. After struggling during the pandemic with store closures (and a brush with scandal), Potbelly is currently on the mend, reporting strong sales growth in its most recent quarter and announcing ambitious expansion plans.

Value, however, remains a sticking point for the chain. Potbelly announced in late 2021 that it would not raise the prices of its sandwiches. Still, complaints about the Chicago chain’s prices keep pouring in Twitterwhere dissatisfied customers have complained “Much smaller portions but same price” and charges anywhere from $12 to $37 for single orders of the chain’s premium toasted sandwiches.

A version of this story was originally published in May 2022. It has been updated to include new information.

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