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The Vanishing Act: 12 Chain Sandwich Shops Disappearing Across the Country

12 Chain Sandwich Shops That Are Disappearing Across the Country

The landscape of chain sandwich shops across the country is undergoing significant changes, with several well-known establishments facing challenges and closures. The combination of economic downturns, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have created a difficult environment for these businesses. In this article, we examine 12 chain sandwich shops that are disappearing across the country and the factors contributing to their demise.

1. Quiznos

Founded in 1981, Quiznos gained popularity for its delicious toasted subs and memorable advertising campaigns featuring the quirky Spongmonkeys. However, economic conditions took a toll on the franchise, leading to widespread closures during the Great Recession. Today, Quiznos has significantly fewer locations and continues to face challenges related to purchasing policies and changes in consumer behavior.

2. Subway

Founded in 1965, Subway once held a dominant position in the limited-service sandwich chain market. However, the brand suffered setbacks following a scandal involving its former spokesman, Jared Fogle. Overexpansion and franchise concerns also contributed to Subway’s decline, resulting in the closure of thousands of locations. The company continues to struggle with declining sales and brand image issues.

3. Jimmy John’s

Known for its freshly baked bread and limited menu, Jimmy John’s has experienced significant growth over the years. However, the chain suffered during the pandemic due to its heavy reliance on lunchtime sales from office workers and commuters. In addition, food safety concerns and E. coli outbreaks further damaged Jimmy John’s reputation and sales.

4. Blimpie Subs & Salads

Blimpie, one of America’s first sub sandwich chains, faced increased competition and declining sales. High start-up costs, ongoing fees and restrictions imposed on franchisees contributed to the closure of many Blimpie locations. The company implemented strategies to increase sales, including expanding into new markets and introducing meat alternatives and new flavors to its menu.

5. Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery and sandwich chain, was facing financial difficulties even before the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns exacerbated the challenges and led to the closure of all locations. However, the brand found new ownership and reopened some of its locations to keep the brand alive.

6. Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Potbelly Sandwich Shop, which went public in 2013, experienced declining sales and closures during the pandemic. The company initially received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, but later returned the funds due to public backlash. Difficulties stemming from the pandemic and a global recession further impacted Potbelly’s business, leading to store closures.

7. Cosi

Cosi, known for its flatbread sandwiches and pizzas, faced financial challenges and filed for bankruptcy several times. The chain struggled to make an annual profit and closed several locations during the pandemic. Cosi has shifted its focus to catering in an effort to revitalize the brand.

8. Firehouse Subs

Unlike many other sandwich shop chains, Firehouse Subs experienced same-store sales growth during the pandemic. However, industry-wide challenges continued to impact the franchise, resulting in the closure of some locations.

9. Which Wich

Which Wich, a fast-casual sandwich chain, struggled during the pandemic as people shifted to working remotely and eating lunch at home. The company closed several locations as a result. However, it continues to operate in some areas and is exploring new strategies to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

10. Jason’s Deli

Jason’s Deli, known for its wide variety of sandwiches and salad bar, experienced a decline in sales during the pandemic. The shift to telecommuting and reduced foot traffic affected the chain’s operations and led to the closure of some locations. However, Jason’s Deli is actively working to adapt to the changing landscape and retain its customer base.

11. Schlotzsky’s

Schlotzsky’s, a sandwich and bakery chain, struggled during the pandemic due to reduced demand and operational challenges. The company closed several locations as a result. However, Schlotzsky’s remains committed to its core offerings and is exploring new ways to enhance the customer experience and drive growth.

12. Lenny’s Grill & Subs

Lenny’s Grill & Subs faced challenges during the pandemic that led to the closure of some locations. The chain continues to operate in select areas and is implementing strategies to adapt to changing market conditions.
Overall, the chain sandwich shop industry has been severely impacted by several factors, including the economic downturn, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges have forced many establishments to close their doors or significantly downsize their operations. It is worth noting, however, that some sandwich shop chains have managed to weather the storm and adapt to the changing landscape.
As consumer preferences and behaviors continue to evolve, it is critical for chain sandwich shops to innovate, diversify their offerings, and explore new strategies to attract customers. This may include expanding into new markets, introducing healthier menu options, leveraging technology for online ordering and delivery, and providing exceptional customer service.
It’s important for consumers to support their favorite sandwich shops during these challenging times. By patronizing these establishments and spreading the word about their offerings, customers can help them survive and thrive. In addition, exploring local sandwich shops and independent eateries can provide unique and diverse culinary experiences.
In conclusion, the chain sandwich shop industry is facing significant challenges that have resulted in the closure of several well-known establishments. However, by adapting to changing consumer preferences, embracing innovation, and receiving support from loyal customers, these companies have the potential to navigate through these difficult times and emerge stronger in the future.


What factors have contributed to the closing of sandwich shop chains?

The closure of chain sandwich shops can be attributed to several factors, including economic downturns, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges have made it difficult for companies to maintain profitability and sustain operations.

Are all sandwich shop chains facing the same level of decline?

No, the impact varies from chain to chain. While some have been able to weather the challenges and adapt to changing consumer preferences, others have faced significant closures and downsizing. Factors such as brand reputation, financial stability and ability to innovate play a role in determining the level of decline for each chain.

What strategies are sandwich shop chains using to survive?

Chain sandwich shops are using several strategies to survive, including diversifying their menu offerings, exploring new markets, using technology for online ordering and delivery, and improving customer service. Some chains are also introducing healthier options and revamping their brand image to attract a broader customer base.

How can consumers support chain sandwich shops in these challenging times?

Consumers can support chain sandwich shops by patronizing their establishments, spreading the word about their offerings through word-of-mouth and social media, and leaving positive reviews. By actively supporting these businesses, consumers can help them survive and recover from the challenges they face.

Are there any chain sandwich shops that have managed to thrive despite the challenges?

While many chain sandwich shops have faced challenges, some have managed to thrive by adapting to the changing landscape. These establishments have embraced innovation, diversified their menu options, and implemented strategies to attract customers. However, it’s important to note that the industry as a whole has been significantly impacted, with closures being a common occurrence.

Are there alternatives to chain sandwich shops for consumers to explore?

Absolutely! In addition to chain sandwich shops, consumers can explore local sandwich shops and independent eateries in their communities. These establishments often offer unique and diverse culinary experiences, and supporting them can help grow local businesses and the food industry as a whole.

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