Can Jersey Mike’s Challenge Subway’s Dominance in the Fast-Food Industry?

Unlike Subway’s assembly-line approach, Jersey Mike’s prides itself on sliced-to-order meats ...

RETAIL WIRE – In the realm of fast food, submarine sandwich chains have evolved into major players, with increasing competition rising up over the years.

Among the giants of this industry, one name stands tall: Subway. Once an underdog, Subway now strides confidently alongside fast-food titans like McDonald’s.

Subway’s journey began modestly in 1965 as Pete’s Super Submarines, before rebranding to Subway in 1968. Franchising followed in 1974, propelling its growth to 500 stores by 1985 and a staggering 11,000 by 1995.

Key to Subway’s ascent was its embrace of health-conscious branding, positioning itself as an alternative to greasy fast food. The introduction of the “five-dollar footlong” deal solidified its appeal, attracting crowds of budget-conscious diners.

However, Subway’s success has faced controversy and scrutiny at times over the years.

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“Jersey Mike’s commitment to premium ingredients and grilled-to-order subs has won over discerning palates seeking a departure from fast-food conformity.”

For instance, its “status as a healthy alternative was questioned when the Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that the chain’s bread had too much sugar to meet the nation’s legal definition in 2020,” according to Chain Store Guide.

Subway might not be as healthy as it was once considered to be, especially when compared to restaurants like Sweetgreen, but it continues to thrive globally.

While Subway set the president for sub chains in the industry, Jersey Mike’s Subs has emerged as a formidable competitor, blending customization with quality and offering a premium spin on traditional favorites.

Unlike Subway’s assembly-line approach, Jersey Mike’s prides itself on sliced-to-order meats and a slower, more personalized service — though Subway did announce last year that it would start using freshly sliced meats.

Per Chain Store Guide, “It is a measure of their success that their competitor Subway has attempted to fold so many of these ideas into their latest rebranding.”

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Recently, the company announced “a development agreement to open 300 Jersey Mike’s restaurants across Canada by 2034, via a combination of Redberry-owned-and-operated stores and supported franchisee locations.”

This is Jersey Mike’s first big international expansion in its 68-year history …


TASTE TEST: Jersey Mike’s vs Subway


“Just look at the thickness difference in that meat, that cross-section. Jersey Mike’s is coming out real hard with the meat. – Mm hm. (bread crunching) – Wow, the bread’s better. – Meat’s better. – The cheese is better. – I think the mayo is better. – The oil and vinegar is better. – It’s just a much more flavorful experience and the meat is just, it’s just waterfallin’ out of this thing.”

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