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Battle of the Sub Sandwich Franchises: Quiznos – Blimpie – Subway & Jimmy Johns

Last updated by on May 1, 2016

Which Sub Sandwich Franchise is the Best to Own?

Ever wondered what it would take to own a successful franchise? The thought of owning one has no doubt crossed the minds of many of us. Franchises represent an opportunity for business owners to get a head start in the use of a popular brand and lay out the framework of how to run the business. But are franchises a good investment? How much do they cost to operate?

One of the most successful franchise industries in terms of sheer number of locations is the food industry. Within the food industry, it’s hard to imagine a more successful model than that of the sub and sandwich shops. It’s difficult to drive past a strip mall or through Main Street without seeing at least one Subway, Quiznos, Jimmy John’s, or Blimpie. We’ll take a look at exactly how much it costs to operate these franchises and some other factors to consider before taking a leap into the world of franchising.

Blimpie Franchises blimpie franchise

  • # of U.S. Locations: 477 (down from around 2,000)
  • Total Investment: $138,150 – $395,050
  • Franchise Fee: $18,000 (for first 2, $10,000 thereafter)
  • Royalty Fee: 6% of gross sales, $200 weekly minimum
  • Advertising Fee: 4% of gross sales
  • Net Worth Requirement: $250,000
  • Liquid Capital Requirement: $50,000

Jimmy John’s Franchises jimmy johns franchise

  • # of U.S. Locations: 2,286
  • Total Investment: $323,000 – $544,000
  • Franchise Fee: $30,000 – 35,000
  • Royalty Fee: 6% of gross sales
  • Advertising Fee: 4.5% of gross sales
  • Net Worth Requirement: $300,000
  • Liquid Capital Requirement: $80,000

Quiznos Franchises quiznos franchise

  • # of U.S. locations: 1,500
  • Total Investment: $202,665 – $252,201
  • Franchise Fee: $10,000
  • Royalty Fee: 7% of gross sales
  • Advertising Fee: 3% of gross sales
  • Net Worth Requirement: $125,000
  • Liquid Capital Requirement: $70,000

Subway Franchises subway franchise

  • # of U.S. locations: 26,972
  • Total Investment: $116,600 – $263,200
  • Franchise Fee: $15,000
  • Royalty Fee: 8% of gross sales
  • Advertising Fee: 4.5% of gross sales
  • Net Worth Requirement: $80,000 – $310,000
  • Liquid Capital Requirement: $30,000 – $90,000

If I were to pick one of these franchises, which would it be?

I’d skip Subway because there are so darn many of them. They are the Starbucks of sandwiches, with a store seemingly on every corner. There are limited to no barriers to entry, hence the 21K+ locations. Blimpie hasn’t excited me in a long time and you never see their advertising, so I would wonder where their ad fees are going. I’d probably choose Jimmy John’s over Quiznos because of the scarcity factor and higher barriers to entry – plus it seems like the only brand that is on the up and up. And – their bread is addictive! If you’re going to get in this business, you might as well like the product!

In all honesty, this is an industry I probably would not decide to jump into. The competition is fierce and there is no scarcity. Costs to get in aren’t bad, but that has its own set of problems. I’d be looking for the next big franchising opportunity.

Sub Franchise Discussion:

  • Which restaurant franchise would you choose? Why?
  • Have you considered opening any kind of franchise? What franchise? Why?
  • Which sandwich/sub spot do you like to eat at the most?
  • Take the Poll!

What is your favorite sub sandwich shop?

View Results

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Steve says:

    I always wondered what it costs to run one of those places! Thanks for doing the research. Having been through school, Jimmy John’s has a special place in my heart. The others are kind of stale, just like their bread. I’ve also thought about opening a cell phone joint.

  • Phyllis Pieri says:

    What a great question and one I get asked on a daily basis. When people think of a franchise they usually think of food. Have you ever met someone who went into a business and 6 months later asked themselves, what was I thinking? I usually get people nodding their heads when I ask that question. Most of the time people get caught up in the “idea” of the business and don’t give enough thought into a the day and the life of actually being in the business. I am very passionate about helping people make the right decision based on many steps I take them through to understand their own personal values and strengths as they relate to franchising and guide them through the whole process. I always tell people, right now you don’t know what you don’t know. I love being their coach and advisor – and besides, my service is free – I am like a RE agent – so they have nothing to loose – worst case scenario – you will get a great education in franchising.

    • Mike says:

      Hey Phillis, Read your post and liked what you had to say. Are you still helping people who are thinking about getting into the Franchise biz?? I realize this is a post from 2009 and wonder if your still around?

    • Kendra says:

      My husband has been in engineering and manufacturing his whole career but has become disillusioned with the industry and management. We are thinking of opening a sandwich shop or a fitness center.. You said “you don’t know what you don’t know” – what should be know about making this decision? Thanks for any help.

  • Shaun says:

    Wow, this is my favorite post so far. ;-p I used to eat at Blimpies all the time, but have lately focused my sandwhich eating efforts at Subway. Have you ever ate at Lennies? It’s much smaller but also much, much better than the rest. 🙂

  • MARILOU says:

    Hello my husband and I own and operate 6 SUBWAY franchises and love it! We jumped into it 13 years ago with one store and proceeded buying one every other year and several overseas. If you are trying to buy this particular franchise, you might have problems finding one for sale because they rarely are for sale and usually are sold immediately. There is fierce competition with these stores and there is a long waiting list to purchasing a store. With most Subways, you will be making money the first year, but with alot of hard work, long hours, and dedication- watch your labor and food costs!! It has been the best thing we ever did:)

  • Craig says:

    Given a choice I prefer Quiznos, although they are not healthy and expensive. Subway is all vegetables and no meat.

  • James says:

    I am addicted to Chipotle and while there are several in my metro area (Baltimore) there are NONE in my immediate area. I live off of a busy corridor (Balto. National Pike) and I know if there was a Chipotle over in this area it would stay PACKED. If I were to get started with a franchise it would definetly be CHIPOTLE!

  • Justin says:

    Thanks for the interesting article. I have always wondered how much a franchise costs.

  • Annie G says:

    I suppose Which Wich? is still small, but I prefer it to eat at over the others. (Schlotsky’s is also ok.) I’ve stopped going to both Quiznos and Subway because the ones in our area are dirty with slovenly employees.

    I wouldn’t consider ever running a franchise … ever.

  • Mona says:

    I would never and ever buy Subway, when you get a Subway it means you are buying a job for yourself. The people at the local District are so picky and not passion and heart for their franchisee. You have to be their slave and do and listen to whatever they say.That is why only a certain type of the people will go to buy Subway. If it is good location and profitable, it will go fast with the relatives and friends at the local District.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ Marilou – how much net profit do you get from your six Subway stores?

    @ Mona – Please do tell further! Sounds like you have owned a Subway?

  • George Matthews says:

    Subway is total junk. They were junk 30 years ago and they haven’t changed. I haven’t even eaten at any of the others. The problem is they want to make their subs as cheap as they can. But that means a roll, some salad and very little meat.
    Five dollars for a foot long? They are only worth $3. I’d rather pay 48 for a sub with something on it.

  • Loyd Endings says:

    Subway’s 5 dollar footlong should be called “The Starvation Sub” because they put so little on it. It is a ripoff. The sandwich isn’t even worth a buck. The last one I ate all I could taste was their bland bread. Yuck!!!

    I would never buy a Subway sub again.

    And every time I leave a Subway I smell like a walking yeast infection due the stench of their bread being permeated in my clothing.

    I voted other. A local Hugo’s and Port of Subs put out very high quality grinders.

  • john says:

    subway is just terrible, I own just about 8 Jimmy Johns franchises now and its is the best. all the people that work at subway are assholes.

  • Josh says:

    I am considering opening a Jimmy Johns franchise. I have started businesses in the past but never a franchise. I’m not sure if it will be right for me. Any advice?

  • Stranger says:

    I LOVE Subway sandwiches. I’d easy eat there 3x per week or more if I could. My $5.00 sandwich is more than I can eat. I only eat 1/2. It’s healthy and for $2.50 for a lunch… cheap! I just wish that each Subway store had spinach as an option.


    There is Subway inside walmart by elcamino and watt ave in sacramento, they have a fresh baked bread daily, fresh vegetables and yes they have spinach and also they have a good customer service skills…winner!!!
    Just a comment to Lloyd, the $5 ANY footlong that was great deal compare to the rest of the subs out there. Also you were complaining about your subs that was tiny, you can always ask for more if u like. Subway has no limit when it comes to vegetables, so dont hesitate. You just have to let the Sandwich Artist know the way you want it because they are just following the formula. Also, if you like to have lotta meat in your sandwich,you can always Double the meat on your sub. Also they have more options like extra cheese, if you like a cheesy sandwich, Add bacon or even Add Avocado to make it more healthier!!! You guys should check that store out, you will be full, and leave happily!!! HAVE A GOOD SUBWAY DAY…

  • Cluversboy says:

    I wound say jimmy johns is the best but I also do like quiznos and blimpie
    Jimmy johns : #12 The Beach Club and #15 Club Tuna
    Quiznos : California Club
    Blimpie: Beef , Turkey , Cheddar Sub

  • Turbo DV8 says:

    Subway loyalist, Subway is skimpy and cheap to the point of ridiculous. One time a while back, my local Subway was running a special for three footlong subs for $10. The guy had all three breads cut open and laying out at once. He squirted a tiny bit pf mustard and mayo on all three. I asked him to please put a little more mayonaise on it. He replied, “Oh no, we can’t put any “extras” on the special sandwiches.” I said to him, “You’re kidding, right?” Nope serious as all hell. I explained to him that it was not as if I was asking for extra meat or cheese or anything like that, just a little extra mayo to bring it up to a normal level, as opposed to typical Subway skimpy. He wouldn’t budge, and we had a stare-off. One and one half blinks later I simply said, “OK then, I don’t want the sandwiches,” and walked out of the store, leaving three partially assembled footlong subs in front of him.

  • annalyze says:

    Turbo DV8: Thats a similar experience I’ve had in most Subways. I’m not sure which Subways SUBWAY LOYALIST is frequenting but every one I’ve been in will charge you for extra veggies. Want more than 5 olives or pickles? Extra charge.

    Quiznos never charges me for extra veggies…they do for extra meat, cheese or if I want guacamole…but I think thats standard for them all (as it should be) Quiznos also has the toasting part down pat…their ovens are miles better at getting a good toast over the ones Subway uses.

    Only tried Blimpies a few times but I was never impressed with the bread I got (looked like it had been stepped on, couldnt believe they served it to me) Overall the sandwich was ok but nothing I couldnt get better elsewhere.

    Jimmy John’s was ok also, nothing to write home about. They are VERY fast though…If I was starting a franchise though I’d wonder how they afford to hire that many people to work a lunch. The one I went in had 9 people working. They didnt seem that busy to me either, but I guess with a drive thru and delivery you need lots of people. I hope they have the sales to make that work.

  • Joe Holt says:

    Having owned a couple of Quizno’s stores I would advise anyone to avoid them at all cost. That’s a shame really because Quizno’s has some great sandwiches. Marketing support is almost non-existent, food cost is high, and the turnover in corporate management is constant which leaves the brand adrift with no direction. I can’t tell you that the others are any better, but I can tell you this one is a must to avoid.

  • sam says:

    Blimpie is the best better than all the other franchisese we slice our meat in front of the customer we get everything in bulk and make the best tasting sandwhiches out there verses all the other sandwhich shops which are all presliced and FROZEN i own 16 blimpie and looking for more

  • Woody says:

    I bought a blimpie franchise back when they were $12500.00 and got screwed from the get go. The district developer was a a## h### and only wanted to sell franchises. while working with him he sold another franchise two blocks away. Took it to mediation in front of his cronies and lost my argument.


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