The 5 most overpriced sandwich chains, according to customers

Leading fast food chains have slowly but steadily increased menu prices over the past year. Both McDonald’s and Chipotle increased their prices in 2021 (6% and 10%, respectively), and Wendy’s and Starbucks are expected to make further price adjustments in the coming months.

While consumers have largely agreed with the price hikes so far, things could be reaching a turning point, especially when it comes to some of the simplest and most basic products like sandwiches.

Corresponding forbes, Visits to drive-thru have declined in 2022, with the average consumer making one fewer drive-thru visit per week. In addition, consumer value perceptions are beginning to shift, with a majority of consumers (63%) believing current restaurant prices are “too high.” Add to that the disappointment of paying top dollar for a subpar item, and soon enough, brands that don’t bid enough for America’s collective cash could find themselves in trouble.

We took a look at current prices and customer sentiment for America’s top sandwich chains. Are these sandwich slingers really value for money? Here are the five fast-food sandwich chains that customers think are overpriced.

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panera bread

Panera chicken sandwiches

While Panera is the second-largest fast-casual chain and the largest bakery chain in the US, some customers have started labeling the food as “overpriced hospital food” with outrageous value for money. For example, the chain’s grilled cheese — which is just bread and cheese — costs at least $8 (excluding taxes), and fans have said they’re sick of it Mashed. To put things in perspective, research suggests that these sandwiches cost around 50 cents to make, so that’s a pretty steep premium to make a profit.

“Fresh soup with half a sandwich shouldn’t cost more than $10, but it does, and even more if you add a drink,” explains one disgruntled Redditor, continuing, “It’s like a slightly better subway with soup, but has prices that would make you think it’s a much better subway.”


Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs storefront

Firehouse Subs storefront

Founded by two firefighter brothers, Firehouse Subs started in the early 1990s, grew rapidly in the 2000s, expanding to a thousand locations by 2016. The chain was acquired by Burger King’s parent company late last year and is now on a Popeyes-style growth trajectory.

But as popular as Firehouse Subs have become, they are here no shortage of complaints about the chain’s prices. One customer characterized the chain as “the definition of finesse gods”, and others have reported paying everywhere $13 to $16 for a single sandwich. The chain’s signature sub, The Hook and Ladder (packed with turkey breast and honey ham), currently costs $9.55 for a medium size (seven to eight inches).


Jimmy Johns

Jimmy Johns

Jimmy Johns

Famed for its menu of no-frills Clubs, Cubanos, and Melts — and its flagship “Gargantuan” sandwich — Jimmy John’s currently ranks among the top four sandwich chains in America.

But like the other chains on this list, Jimmy John’s has its fair share critics say The chain’s sandwiches just aren’t worth the price.

“Jimmy John’s is overrated and grossly overpriced. You shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house just to get an extra slice of cheese on your sandwich,” said one customer Twitter.

Even Jimmy John’s fans seem to agree on this one, as one customer calls out the chain’s subs “[the] best tasting overpriced sandwiches.”

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Jersey Mike’s Subs

Jersey Mike's Submarines

Jersey Mike’s Submarines

Jersey Mike’s was founded in 1956 in Point Pleasant, NJ. Beloved for its fresh subs (the chain uses freshly baked bread and cooks and slices the meat in-store) and charismatic CEO, it’s currently the fifth largest in the industry.

But selling “the most authentic-tasting submarine sandwich on the market” comes at a price — one that Jersey Mike’s customers began to notice last year. As highly as customers may rate the chain’s premium sandwiches, they’re not thrilled with Jersey Mike’s pricing.

A full-size Original Italian currently costs $9.25 — about $3 more than a Subway All-American Club — and customers pay everywhere $12 to $20 other sandwiches from the chain have complained about the pricing on Twitter.

“Agree that Jersey Mikes is asking way too much. My go-to place used to be the huge Philly Mikes trail. Great sandwich but not worth the price. In n Out and Chick-fil-A offer excellent products at a great price… @jerseymikes Why are your subs so overpriced?” said one customer. Another pointed this out that the chain’s sandwiches are “short on meat” and “small on price.”

Other Twitter user agree on size: “I swear every time I go to @jerseymikes the buns get smaller and the price goes up… I literally get a small sandwich for a big sandwich price compared to what we get in #Philly.” to get. Could be cheaper Deliver the real deal for the price!”





Chicago-based Potbelly has been around since the 1970s and is loved by fans for its toasted sandwiches, assorted sides and delicious milkshakes. After struggling with store closures (and a scandal) during the pandemic, Potbelly is currently on the mend, reporting strong sales growth in its most recent quarter and announcing ambitious expansion plans.

However, value remains a concern for the chain. Potbelly announced in late 2021 that it would not increase the prices of its sandwiches. Nonetheless, complaints about the Chicago chain’s pricing continue to trickle in Twitterwhere unsatisfied customers have complained “much smaller portion sizes but the same price” and charged anywhere from $12 to $37 for single orders of the chain’s premium toasted sandwiches.

A version of this story was originally published in May 2022. It has been updated to include new information.

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