Chain Sandwich Shops Ranked From Worst To Best

Sandwiches may be one of the easiest meals to make at home, but that doesn't mean that you always have the ingredients on hand to make a top-quality sandwich. After all, if you're really going to go all out on a sandwich, you need to have a fridge stocked full of veggies, condiments, protein, and even fresh bread. Sometimes, it's just easier to stop by your local chain sandwich shop and pick up a meal you know is going to taste great.

While there are a wide variety of sandwich shops to choose from, not all of them are created equally. Some have the best of the best ingredients, while others often deliver up subpar sandwiches. Therefore, you should get the scoop on the best and the worst of the bunch so you can decide where you want to get your sandwich from the next time you get hungry in the middle of a busy work day.

Take a look at our ranking of popular sandwich shop, and see where your favorite lands on the list.

15. Subway

As perhaps the most well-known sandwich shop in the country, you may be surprised to find Subway with the very worst ranking on the list. There's a good reason for that, though: Their sandwiches are just not that good. That's not a surprise when you consider the quality of some of the restaurant's food. They've had multiple scandals with animal products that didn't turn out to be the actual animal they advertised, including tuna and chicken. Um, that's a big red flag if we've ever seen one.

But scandals aside, just step into a Subway, and you'll see why it doesn't score well in our ranking. The vegetables often look limp and sad, and sometimes, you can tell that they've been sitting there for a long time. The meat is just average deli meat you can find at any grocery store, and their sandwich combinations aren't even that exciting or unique.

If you're spending money on a sub sandwich, you want to make sure you're going to get a good one, and that's just not a guarantee when you go to Subway.

14. Blimpie

What you may not realize about Blimpie is the fact that it doesn't offer much that's very original. Not everything on the menu is bad — it just seems like it's all food that you could get at any other sandwich chain around the country. One Reddit user noticed this too when they compared Blimpie to Subway: "I went into a Blimpie the other day. They have a setup very similar to Subway from the bread selection, to how the meats and veggies are organized. The colors of the menu are similar and they both have cookies displayed near the cash register."

We're not saying that Blimpie copied Subway — in fact, the chain was around before Subway even came onto the scene. All we're saying is that neither one offers amazing sandwiches. Since you can basically get the same thing at both places, you're probably going to be disappointed by Blimpie if you also dislike Subway. However, we have found that Blimpie shops tend to have a more welcoming atmosphere.

13. Quiznos

Did you know that Quiznos locations are closing all over the country? And it's not just because of the pandemic — these chain locations were struggling well before the economy tanked during the COVID-19 crisis. In 2014, they reportedly filed for bankruptcy. That all indicates that Quiznos may not be the best sandwich shop on the block.

While the sandwiches at this chain are generally better than what you'll find at a place like Subway, that doesn't mean they're necessarily that good. Rather, they have slightly better ingredients and are often served toasted instead of being uncooked. However, with those extra ingredients and cooking method, you see a higher price than you would at a budget chain like Subway.

If the sandwiches aren't that much better than your standard sub, then we don't see the point in paying more for them. After all, just because a sandwich is toasted doesn't necessarily make it inherently better.

12. Which Wich

There's a lot to love about Which Wich. Perhaps the most notable positive feature of this restaurant chain is the fact that it's way easier to order your sandwich than it is at most shops. That's because, instead of having to stand there outlining your order to the person working behind the counter, you just mark your order on a piece of paper. It tells you all the different options available, so you can customize your sandwich to your heart's content. That's a pretty big bonus in our book. After all, who likes having to yell your order over a glass partition?

However, the ease of ordering doesn't make the sandwiches at this shop taste any better. Despite the wide variety of options this place offers, we don't find many of them particularly compelling. The meat seems just alright, and the veggies aren't always up to snuff. Despite the ingenious design of this restaurant, it's still one that we would avoid nonetheless.

11. Panera Bread

Ahh, Panera Bread: every college student's favorite place to study and eat enough bread to fill their calorie needs for an entire day. Sure, it's not just a sandwich place, but their sandwiches do comprise a significant portion of the menu. And while many of the options look fantastic, once you actually try them, you may be more than a little bit disappointed.

For example, the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich looks absolutely delicious, but in reality, it just doesn't have that much flavor. If you're not a veggie lover, that may not sound surprising, but it doesn't get much better with the meat-filled offerings either. The Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sandwich should be one of the most delicious items on the menu, but the meat is dry, and there are few toppings to give the sandwich any depth of flavor.

We're not saying that you should skip this place entirely — but next time, instead of getting a sandwich, you may want to stick with the bread bowl instead. (It's hard to mess that up.)

10. Atlanta Bread Company

This chain isn't available throughout the country, but you can find several locations throughout the South and up the East Coast. You might think that Atlanta Bread Company would offer some of the most delicious sandwiches in the country with its Southern influence and roots. Unfortunately, we're here to tell you that that's not necessarily the case. Don't get us wrong: Not everything on the menu is bad. But you should be careful with what you order if you want to make sure you're getting the best sandwich possible.

Let's get one thing straight: The classic sandwiches are downright boring. You get to choose your bread and meat, but they all come with onion, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, and spicy mustard. Basically, they're simple sandwiches you could easily make at home, and they don't pack a lot of flavor. If you're looking for something more interesting, you might want to opt for one of the signature sandwiches, though they can be kind of hit-or-miss.

Your best bet when you visit Atlanta Bread Company? Go for the paninis. From the Cubano to the Hot Pastrami, they are pretty solid options across the board.

9. Corner Bakery Cafe

There are many different dishes you can snag at Corner Bakery Cafe, but sandwiches are their bread and butter (no pun intended). Some of these sandwiches are unlike any other we've seen at other major sandwich chains. For example, the steak and arugula sandwich is fantastic, and if you're looking for a sandwich that feels a bit fancy in the middle of your day, then this option may just be the way to go. However, not every sandwich on the menu is equally as interesting. We could take or leave options such as the tomato mozzarella or carved ham and Swiss. There's just nothing that interesting or different about them, and we think different sandwich places do these basics better.

The breakfast sandwich options here are not plentiful, but some of them are more delicious than you might expect. The Anaheim panini, with its wide assortment of vegetables, is an ideal way to get a busy day off to a successful start.

8. Schlotzsky's

When it comes to freshly baked bread, you know you're going to be getting quality when you make your way to Schlotzky's. According to Insider, this sandwich shop was founded in 1971, and it was based on the New Orleans classic sandwich, the muffaletta. It has three different meats between thick slices of bread, and it comes with a smattering of condiments that ups the flavor ante. There are also different versions of it that include different types of meat, so you can decide what kind of protein you prefer. It's simply called "The Original," and it's something you should try if you ever find yourself at this chain.

Apart from the muffaletta, though, we aren't too excited with this restaurant's selection of sandwiches. The French Dip might be worth a try, but most of the other options are pretty basic. If you're out and about and looking for someplace to eat, this sandwich shop isn't likely to disappoint you, but you're probably not going to be blown away by most of the menu items either.

7. Potbelly Sandwich Shop

If there's one thing we love about the Potbelly menu, it's the fact that this chain sandwich shop offers so many different choices. At the time of writing, the menu included a whopping 21 sandwiches to choose from. Therefore, we figure that pretty much anyone can find a sandwich they're going to enjoy at this spot (there are even vegetarian options for those who prefer to leave meat out of their diets and a PB&J for the kids — or whoever wants to feel like they're in an elementary school cafeteria). However, it doesn't stop there. This place also purportedly has a secret menu, meaning you can combine your favorite aspects of their different sandwiches to create a meal that's perfect for your taste buds.

We love anyplace that provides us with a wide variety from which to choose. Some of the sandwiches on the menu are fantastic, like the Italian sandwich. However, others are kind of lackluster, such as the Meditteranean. Choose wisely, and you're not going to be let down by the selection at Potbelly.

6. Pret a Manger

Pret a Manger was founded in London in 1986, and since then, it's expanded considerably. In the past, it was unusual to find a location in the United States, but that's changing now. Most of the store's U.S. locations are located in New York state, but they are popping up all over the East Coast and the Midwest, so you may start to see more of them soon. That's a good thing, since the sandwiches here are super tasty (and the coffee there isn't bad, either).

If you're checking out the chain in the morning, you may want to opt for the egg salad and avocado breakfast baguette. It certainly has a European feel to it, and the baguettes they use are good-quality. Other sandwiches, including the cheddar and tomato sandwich and the Bang Bang Chicken Wrap, are also solid options. In fact, this place would rank higher on our list if there were just more options. We wish there were more to choose from, but considering that the items that are on the menu are top-quality, we can't complain too much.

5. Firehouse Subs

When you're used to grabbing your lunch at a sandwich shop like Subway, you may walk into a Firehouse Subs and find yourself a little bit shocked at the prices. Sure, it is more expensive, but that's because you're going to be getting a higher-quality product when you go to a place like this. This sub spot has a reputation for using high-quality meats and cheeses, which makes every sandwich taste better. After all, if the ingredients aren't good, even the most creative pairings aren't going to make a good sandwich.

Why does the meat and cheese taste so good here? Part of it has to do with the fact that they're steamed before being served in the sandwiches, which gives them a tenderness and a flavor that can't be matched by most sandwich spots. Though the sandwiches may be slightly simple, to begin with, you can personalize them to your liking. The end result is almost always something delicious, so if you haven't checked out this spot for yourself, you should visit soon.

4. Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's is every late-night snacker's dream. First of all, it's super easy to order delivery from this place at pretty much any point in the day if you live close to one. Second of all, you know you're going to get your order "freaky fast." The best part of this sandwich shop, though? The food is really incredible. At first glance, it may seem like most of the items are plain, boring sandwiches that you can find anywhere. But once you try one of these bad boys for yourself, you might change your tune.

If you're looking for the best this menu has to offer, we'd recommend one of the more creative options available there, such as the Vito or the Jimmy Cubano. However, even if you do go with one of the simpler choices, chances are, you're still going to be happy with the outcome. Our advice? Get the oil and vinegar on whatever sandwich you order, and it's guaranteed to be 50 percent better.

3. Au Bon Pain

When you think of a standard sandwich shop, you probably don't think of anything too upscale. Instead, what probably comes to mind is a simple space with a counter where you can walk up and order what you want. But when you decide to get a sandwich at Au Bon Pain, you're going to get a completely different experience. That's because this place isn't your average sandwich shop. Instead, it's a sit-down restaurant where you can order amazing sandwiches along with French-inspired dishes that'll have you coming back for more.

We love the ambience at this restaurant, but the food is incredible too. From the spicy tuna melt to the country grilled cheese, you know you're going to get a fantastic sandwich made with high-quality bread when you grab lunch here. But you can also get a variety of other dishes here, which makes it a good option when you're eating out with a group and everyone wants something different. If you're looking for an incredible sandwich-eating experience, you can't go wrong with a trip to Au Bon Pain.

2. Publix Deli

Unfortunately, you won't find a Publix deli in every state in the country. The grocery retailer is mostly located in the South, and if you live in this region, then you'll know that one of the best places to snag a sandwich is at a Publix deli. These sandwiches are legendary, and you can personalize them to your specifications so you get what you want every single time. In fact, Thrillist loves these sandwiches so much that they even named "Pub Subs" as the best subs in the country.

This publication isn't alone. Many agree that these top-quality subs take the cake for the best sub in the country. Unfortunately, the Publix deli couldn't make the top spot because the grocery store's locations are so limited in scope. But if you ever find yourself in the South and want to get an amazing sandwich that you may never forget, a trip to Publix is in order. Just make sure you score the Boar's Head meat instead of the standard deli slices, and you may just be a convert too.

1. Jersey Mike's

Finally, we have the best of the best: Jersey Mike's. At first, this chain sandwich shop doesn't seem like anything that's especially impressive. It looks like an average sandwich shop. However, it's the sandwiches themselves, and not the locations, that make this place our favorite of the bunch. We love that the meats and cheeses are sliced right in front of you when you order your sandwich — that way, you know that all the ingredients are going to be fresh. Many of the ingredients are locally sourced as well, so you can feel good about whatever you're ordering.

We love the fact that you can find an amazing selection of both hot and cold sandwiches at this spot, while many other sandwich shops specialize in one of the other. Oh, and we can't forget about "the Juice," the special mixture of olive oil and vinegar that blesses the sandwiches you order here. This is the condiment that will take your sandwich to a whole new level, so don't forget to ask for extra if you want your sandwich to have a little extra zing.