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Jersey Mike's Is By Far the Most Superior Sandwich Chain Right Now, According to New Report

The sandwich chains is hitting the mark with customers in five key ways.

Choosing where to eat nowadays can feel like an all-day project. Between reviews, ratings, and stars there's a whole lot for the average consumer to consider while browsing dinner options. But if you've been searching far and wide for a great sandwich, a new casual eating report just did all the lunch legwork for you. According to a new poll encompassing over 50 quick-service restaurant chains, Jersey Mike's Subs is the best sandwich chain right now.

Not only does the New Jersey-based sub-chain—boasting around 2,000 locations—enjoy a strong perceived brand image and positive values among consumers, it also ranks number one in terms of customer loyalty among assessed sandwich chains. Jersey Mike's beat out other hoagie heavy hitters like Subway, Jimmy John's, and Firehouse Subs in the loyalty category.

These findings are based on a survey of 5,173 U.S. consumers conducted by Market Force. Respondents were asked about their recent fast food/quick service restaurant experiences over the past three months. Loyalty "scores" for each brand were calculated by combining both consumer satisfaction ratings and recommendations.

 Top 5 Restaurant Chains With The Most Loyal Customers

Jersey Mike's loyalty score came in at an impressive 74%, beating out second-place sandwich chain Fireplace Subs (65% loyalty score) by a notable margin. Even beyond the sandwich chain category, Jersey Mike's ranked fourth overall on the customer loyalty index (CLI), only falling below Papa Murphy's (#3), In-N-Out (#2), and Chick-fil-A (#1).

So, what's driving such fervent loyalty to Jersey Mike's? The report tells us that customer satisfaction across sandwich chains was driven by five main factors: Speed of service, staff friendliness, restaurant atmosphere, food quality, and value received for money spent.

Jersey Mike's also had the lowest reported portion of problems or complaints (3%) among analyzed sandwich chains. Resolving customer complaints was identified as a big problem across the entire casual dining industry, with researchers finding most chains struggle to adequately satisfy disgruntled patrons when issues arise. However, Jersey Mike's was among just four brands mentioned as doing "reasonably well in handling problems and providing customer-satisfying recovery." The other three brands are Dutch Brothers Coffee, In-N-Out, and Papa Murphy's.

Financials tell a similar story; it's been a strong few years for Jersey Mike's, despite the entire restaurant industry buckling under the pressure of the pandemic and sky-high inflation. The sub-chain reported last month that its average unit volume is over $1.2 million—a notable increase from over $850,000 prior to the pandemic. Same-store sales have also been strong, with a 21% increase in 2021.

Jersey Mike's CEO Peter Cancro, who grew the Jersey Mike's brand into what it is today after taking a part-time job at "Mike's Submarines" in 1968, attributes the chain's recent success to a company culture where everyone's voice is heard and opportunities for career growth are ample.

"What we're trying to do is let young people who never dreamed about having their own business, who are making subs fast, pulling people along and get the culture of rising up together, be rewarded with their own store," he explained at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas last month. "We're giving that opportunity to so many. We're trying to get to the point of 50 next year and possibly 100 the year after that."

"Our business is up 6 percent for the year and over the last few weeks, it's been up 10 percent, and it's because no one in the country is doing what we're doing," he added. "I was outside a restaurant last night and had someone tell me that 'your chain reminds me of growing up in New York where I'd go to the local deli.' We've had analysis and studies done on that, where people know we're a chain, but we don't feel like a chain."

John Anderer
John Anderer is a writer who specializes in science, health, and lifestyle topics. Read more about John