The War for Your Sammich: Jimmy John’s vs Subway

I think this has to be the best billboard placement I’ve seen in Peoria.

Jimmy John's Billboard
It’s on now!

For the record, I’m a Jimmy John’s guy. Subway drives me insane.

I go into a Jimmy John’s, I say “I’d like a number eight on wheat, no tomato,” and nine times out of ten they have it sitting there waiting for me before I’m finished paying.

Walk into a Subway and I have to play the “What do you want on it?” game. This irritates me for two reasons. First is when there’s a specific sandwich they’re offering. Take when they offered a Cuban sandwich, for example. A Cuban has a specific recipe. Yet when I order a Cuban, they ask “What do you want on it?” I want a frickin’ Cuban! I want what comes on a Cuban!

Generally when I darken their door, I know what I want and I can take them through my build-a-sammich pretty quick. But this leads me to beef number 2: every other pinhead is stumped by the question. When someone says “I’d like a six-inch Subway club” and they’re befuddled when asked which bread they want it on, I know I’m in for a long wait. This should not be rocket science. Tell the sandwich monkey what you like on your sandwich, and he will make said sandwich and I can get on with telling the sandwich monkey what I like on my sandwich. If you walk into a Subway and say “Uhh…” at any point during the sandwich-making process, you should be sent to the end of the line with a big picture poster of all the condiments so, when it’s finally your turn again, you can slap your meaty paw on the poster and say “Mungo want lettuce” you ignorant dunce.

Subway may have healthy food options, but I’d like to see the statistic on how many heart attacks occur in the sandwich line because some old lady doesn’t understand what “Do you want that toasted?” means. (And by the way, screw you, Quizno’s, for forcing them to inflict that upon us. Screw you and those mutant cats shilling your shitty sandwiches.)

One last rant: a nearby Subway is offering pizzas ready in one minute. You know what? I want no part of that. No pizza that is ready in one minute is worth eating.

Jimmy John’s: saving our sanity one sandwich at a time.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Noah L says:

    Jimmy John’s is apparently new to Arizona–people here started raving about it to me last year and my only response was “Yeah…and?”

    • Mike says:

      I’m glad they’re enlightening the masses. I remember the first one up in the ‘burbs when I was a freshman or sophomore. It had none of the signage or slogans they have now, just a simple shop with a white counter and very Spartan decoration. But even then we thought it beat the hell out of Subway.

  2. Eric says:

    can we get a sandwich nazi?

    “What kind of bread do you want?”


    “No sammich for you!!! Get out of my restaurant!”

    i’d guess they would actually need to have pride in what they’re making in order to enforce that….

  3. N says:

    Hold on. I’m voting for Subway. Taste alone does it for me. And the assembly line allows me to pick and choose so that every sub experience can be brand new! JJ’s, to me, all pretty much taste the same.

    • Mike says:

      I hear ya. I hit the local Subway more often than the Jimmy John’s 25 miles out, and I shake things up, too. But I’m betting if you’re in the mood for Subway, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to order when you walk in. More often than not, I get stuck behind someone mystified by the whole process, and even the sandwich monkey is back there dying a slow death waiting for a decision.

  4. me says:

    Subway is disgusting, Their meat is slimy and their “cheese” is processed cheese food, not even real cheese. Jimmy Johns is a REAL sandwich.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Psh Subway being fresh and healthy? Jimmy John’s has fresher bread and meats without any preservatives that are sliced fresh every day. Jimmy John’s is freaky fresh and freaky fast!

  6. amanda says:

    i work at jimmy johns :)

  7. Cleo says:

    Jesus bro. You really need to chill

  8. […] because a little bit of me has Connecticut pride, a downfall of the franchise is playing the “What do you want on it?” game. At every stage of the creation of the sandwich, you specifically must tell the sandwich monkey what […]

  9. Austin says:

    I happily walk into Subway with a good idea of what I want on my sandwich every time I enter the establishment. I wait in line behind about two to four people every time I do this. Some of them hesitate. Some of them take a while. It doesn’t bother me. Maybe I’m just patient? I think your entire thesis rests on the assumption that everyone should know what they want when they enter a gourmet sandwich restaurant, which is unrealistic. The reality is that the majority of people (from my experience, rendering this response rather anecdotal even though I’d like to think otherwise since my local Subway in New York gets a wide variety of people that I encounter) do not have a good idea of what they want every time they come in. That is just the reality of it. This reality needs to be accepted, because it cannot be changed acutely. If you can’t change anything about it, and are helpless, the general rule of thumb is to learn to live with it. Of course you have an out here, which is just not going to Subway, all I’m saying is that it seems almost spoiled to complain about it rather than wait in line like everyone else.

    • Mike says:

      You have a fair point. However, I feel if someone doesn’t know what they want, they should let the next person in line go ahead of them. I do this myself, especially in places I’ve never been and I need a minute to check out their menu.

      Also, your comment breaks down when you have people who have been standing in line for several minutes themselves, get to the counter, and only then begin figuring out what they want. They stand in line yakking or fiddling with their phones, and when the clerk asks what they want, they act like it’s a complete surprise. The only people worse are the ones who do the same things at the drive-through. If you have to take a minute at the drive-through, go inside. Some of the people in line just want a quick coffee or something so they can get back on the road ASAP.

      People say be patient, and I’ll grant I’m often short on patience. However, the whole idea of fast food is convenience. We’re grabbing something quick because we’re on the way to work, or to catch a flick, or to meet friends, or any number of other things. Nobody should have to be derailed by someone who doesn’t know what they want and is ignorant of the people behind them.

      In short, not near enough people think about the people around them. My time is valuable, and thus I assume yours is to you, too, so I try to be on the lookout for other people.

  10. Itz_M3 says:

    1 of my biggest pet peeves about Subway is when I tell the “sandwich artist” exactly what i want om my sandwich then they start recommending other stuff that they think i should put on it. If i wanted sweet onion sauce and lettuce i would have told you the first time. Were getting out first JJs here in a few months, I cant wait to try them. We do however have a Firehouse Subs here and they kick subway in the teeth. You basically tell them what you dont want on it because they will load it down.. literally.

    • Mike says:

      You will probably like Firehouse better than both. We finally got Firehouse out here, and I’ve only been there twice but I’ve enjoyed it both times. Jimmy John’s is faster and cheaper, but Firehouse has a much better variety.