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Anyone Get Their Free Quizno’s Sub?

Quiznos recently did a “Million Sub Giveaway.” As someone who likes subs, I decided to get a coupon and stop by the Quiznos that I normally pass on my Saturday errands. I don’t frequent Quiznos (or any sub store), but I remember enjoying the last time I’d been to one.

When using coupons, I’m always nervous that they won’t be accepted, so when I got there the first thing I did was ask whether or not they were taking the coupon. The man at the register, who appeared to be the manager or even franchisee said, “Nope.” So I smiled and left. Not worth my time or energy to argue over something free.

Reading over the stories and comments on the Consumerist, I learned that I’m not alone. But more disturbing was the news that Quiznos was expecting the franchise owners to eat 100% of the cost. Franchise owners were in no way reimbursed for the cost of honoring the coupon. That’s almost like my declaring that my neighbor’s stuff is free for the taking.

Frankly, that’s ridiculous.

I can also see why some franchises felt they couldn’t honor the coupon…if they’re barely breaking even due to the economy, this could be the final straw. The bad thing is that this only punishes failing franchises further. I doubt I’ll go back to that Quiznos. I don’t really hold it against them, but I am in no way motivated to return, as I might have been if I’d really enjoyed my lunch.

Would eating the cost pay off for franchise holders in the long run? I think that depends entirely on the franchise and that’s what’s so wrong about Quiznos corporate headquarters making a nationwide promotion that other people would have to offer. Some franchises will take a chance and it’ll probably pay off for some of them. Other franchises will be in good shape and it may pay off even better for them. But the ones who are doing the worst are the ones that’ll come out of this even worse.

This whole situation has offered an interesting perspective on the responsibilities of holding a franchise and how you’re still not your own boss. It’s also put me off Quiznos. I’ve written to corporate HQ about my disappointment with their unwillingness to honor any part of the coupons and putting some of their franchisees in an untenable situation.

Did you get your sub?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott March 6, 2009 at 7:34 am

My wife and I did get ours, but we had to suffer through a mini-interrogation first. We handed our coupon over and the sandwich artist, he stared at it for a long time. After a while, he yelled for someone else to come take a look at it. Before long, every worker in there was examining the coupon. One started asking us questions. Where did you get this? Did you Xerox it? It was quite the process, not really any arguing, but a very intense questioning. In the end, I got my free Bourbon Chicken, so I’m not complaining.

BeThisWay March 6, 2009 at 8:17 am

I wasn’t able to use mine.

From what I read, Quiznos did eventually relent and announce they would pay franchisees $.75 per sub for the first 300 subs, then increased it to the first 500, then removed the limit altogether.

I wrote to Quiznos to express my disappointment, too. They sent me a canned answer and asked me to complete a survey.

A lousy campaign all around, and what it most advertised is the sucky deal Quiznos gives it’s franchisees, and lost many potential customers forever.

Fail Quiznos!

mrsmicah March 6, 2009 at 8:31 am

@Scott, from what I heard, Quiznos didn’t do a great job telling their franchisees about this. And it wasn’t so widely advertised…I didn’t see it anywhere but online anyway…that they just picked it up. Glad to hear they honored it once they were sure it was real.

@BeThisWay, fail indeed. I and many others now have bad opinions of Quiznos which we wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t tried this stunt to begin with.

Ron March 6, 2009 at 8:51 am

I came very close to buying a Quiznos franchise several years ago. What turned me off was the Home Office’s insistence on absolute control over everything. They control where you buy your straws, your cups, your furniture, your bottled water, your cash register tape, your napkins, literally everything. Not only that, but they “sweep” 7 percent of your gross receipts every day, plus franchisees have to pay a certain percentage of their sales for national advertising. So, under this coupon deal, franchisees would have PAID for the ads that caused them to lose!

Kate March 6, 2009 at 10:01 am

I did get my free sub, but now I’m wishing that I hadn’t. The store was not difficult about it, though not necessarily friendly either. It may have helped that I was accompanied by a paying customer who wasn’t stingy (she got the bigger sub and combo’d it.)

What a stinky thing for corporate to do! While I’d like to stick it to Quizno’s, I don’t know how without hurting all the franchisees.

mrsmicah March 6, 2009 at 10:07 am

@Kate, that’s a good point. It would be hard to “stick it to” Quiznos corporate directly because our only real access to them is the franchises. And franchisees will suffer. As it is, I’m not planning to patronize them casually in the future (but I’m not boycotting, if I need food and they’re the best option, I’ll buy). Franchisees will suffer, but I’d rather give my business to places that treat people better.

@Ron, they paid for the ads? Dang. One can only hope that they make out better for it somehow by people having seen the ads, not gotten the coupon, and decided to choose them for lunch anyway. Sounds like you made the right decision.

Sarah March 6, 2009 at 11:43 am

Wow. I had no idea. My husband and I got our free subs last week. While we were there, there were probably 8 people in line – and every one of them had the coupon. I ordered water, so mine really was free, but hubs got a soda and chips also, so we paid $2.58 in total.

We don’t normally eat at Quizno’s (or most other fast food) because it’s so expensive. Had I known franchisees were eating the cost, I might not have redeemed the coupon!

Craig March 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I did not but I also am not really a Quiznos or Subway fan.

Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet March 6, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I got my free sub. I had no idea that the franchise got stiffed on the deal. That sucks. I have heard in the past that owning a Quiznos franchise isn’t very profitable. Although I’ve heard the same thing about Subway.

I guess to make a profit, you have to charge more than people are willing to pay for sandwiches.

Stacy March 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm

I did get mine and the store manager was even nice enough to let me upgrade from the small to the regular and just pay the difference.

Jesse March 6, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I have probably spent over $100 at Quiznos in my life. Not a ton over several year, but enough to know their food is good but pricey. So I was excited to print out a free sub coupon since I pass a Quiznos a lot in Lancaster, PA. My wife and I ended up stopping in for subs (one paid and one free) but the manager had an eagle eye for coupon carriers. While we were still in line he saw the coupon in my hand and told me “we don’t take that coupon”. Then he pointed to a sign on the door saying they don’t take it. Turns out they had several normal coupons posted that they don’t take, not just the free one. I was ticked enough to leave at this point, since they don’t even take NORMAL coupons, no less the free promotion. But my wife must have really craved guacamole because she wouldn’t leave. So we stuck it out and split a sub. The manager could obviously read my frustration so he gave us a free cookie. I appreciated the sentiment but I definitely have a bad taste in my mouth for Quiznos after hearing about this whole fiasco. You would just think a $10 sandwich lunch place could afford to run promotions effectively. I have never been impressed with that location so maybe it’s just a poorly managed location.

SmashBurger March 7, 2009 at 10:20 am

Quiznos used to make the best sub sandwiches bar none – but this was at least 4 or 5 years ago. I used to buy an Italian sub at least twice a week. Then they changed the meat and the bread and their sandwich was no better than Subway’s, just more expensive. I stopped eating sub sandwiches at this point until Jimmy John’s came to town. Thank God Jimmy John’s came to town and reintroduced a quality sandwich. I eat at JJ’s at least three times a week (without a free coupon and I still get the better deal). 🙂

sfordinarygirl March 9, 2009 at 3:24 am

I had no idea franchisees had to eat the cost of the coupons. That’s ridiculous in this economy. I’m surprised they’re barely breaking even … the raw materials aren’t that expensive especially the vegetables. Food prices have gone up but most of their ingredients are mass produced or frozen. I doubt they’re using fresh chicken or beef on those subs.

Quiznos wouldn’t honor the coupon so I gave up. One of the franchises down the street from work was served with an eviction notice a few weeks ago. I honestly would feel awful if they honored the coupon but were not compensated in some way. They’re a business too!

Cheap Like Me March 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Wow! I had no idea. We redeemed ours with no problem whatsoever. I expected to be ID’d per the instructions, but was not. We bought two subs (one free, one paid) and a drink so spent $8 for lunch for two. Plus tip.

Revanche March 10, 2009 at 12:56 am

Thanks to your tweet, I called ahead before stopping by – errand running or not, I didn’t want to bother with an extra stop. Many other customers were redeeming their coupons as well with no problems, they just asked for ID.

Patrick March 10, 2009 at 7:45 am

I got the free sub. I knew Quiznos was a franchise, but didn’t know how they ran this promotion. Can’t say I like the way they do business if that is the case.

The franchisee was there when we made our order and my friend and I talked to him for a few minutes. He mentioned the Quiznos HQ only owns a couple stores (as in like 2 or 3) – the rest are franchises. I thought that was interesting… what an out of touch way to run a business.

Asim March 16, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I got the free sub. I called my local location and asked before visiting and presenting the coupon. I was treated well, service was prompt. Visted asagin the following week as a paying customer…

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