Quiznos—the sandwich place, you know, with the "toasty" kinda subs? That one. Real popular place, not too long ago. What happened?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Quiznos is facing an existential crisis: it's struggling with $600 million in debt, and its total number of franchises has plunged from 3,000 to 2,100 in just two years. (Subway, the quickie sandwich place that you people love, has 41,000.) In short, Quiznos is teetering on the edge of disaster. The paper notes that franchisees are upset with various aspects of their contracts, yes. But is that really the major malfunction? Or is it this?

Last year, the company tinkered with its production process in a way that confused customers, according to franchisees. Quiznos changed the sandwich assembly process so that most vegetables were placed on the sandwich after it went through the toaster, instead of going through the toaster with the meat, cheese and bread. The idea was that ingredients such as tomatoes, onions and olives would taste fresher because they were served cold atop the sandwich. Regular customers who were used to telling the sandwich maker upfront if they didn't want certain ingredients often found themselves disappointed when the person on the other side of the toaster automatically added them. A few months ago, Quiznos switched back to its former method.

Will overestimating the intelligence of the American sandwich consumer prove to be Quiznos downfall? Wouldn't be the first time that happened.

Why did you stop eating at Quiznos? Answers go in the discussion section below.

Also, if you had to compare your group of close friends to fast food outlets, who would be who? I'd say Max is a Subway, Adrian is a Taco Bell, and [REDACTED]** is a Quiznos.


[Photo: Flickr]