Jimmy John's vs Subway

Jimmy John’s vs Subway: The Battle of the Sub Giants

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Shari Mason

I have tried numerous quick-service sandwiches from both Jimmy John’s and Subway.

These two popular sandwich chains may seem similar at first glance, but I’ve discovered through my taste tests that they have some notable differences. 

So, what’s the difference between Jimmy John’s and Subway? If you’re a fan of simple, tasty subs, read on to find out which one might tickle your taste buds just right.

What Sets Jimmy John’s Apart From Subway?

Subway Restaurant

Jimmy John’s stands out from Subway in several key ways. First, the freshness of its ingredients is noticeable. 

Its sandwiches often have a slightly crisper and more vibrant taste, thanks in part to the inclusion of bean sprouts, a unique touch you won’t find at Subway.

On the other hand, Subway tends to skimp on meat and cheese, loading up on veggies and bread. 

The meat options at Subway are mostly turkey-based and are generally considered to have a less appealing taste compared to Jimmy John’s.

Regarding speed, both chains are efficient, making them ideal for a quick meal on the go. 

Price-wise, Jimmy John’s sandwiches come at a slightly higher cost on average, but this is justified by including some premium ingredients that enhance the overall flavor profile.

But what are the differences between Jimmy John’s and Jersey Mike’s?

Notable Differences

AspectJimmy John’sSubway
Menu VarietyLimited bread options, various subs, and customizationsExtensive menu including drinks, pizza, salads, multiple bread choices, vegetables, cheese, breakfast sandwiches, sauces, and customization options
Food QualityFresh bread, meats, and veggies, acclaimed for tastSubs often perceived as ordinary, use of prepackaged ingredients for some items such as chips, pizzas, and frozen meats
Ambiance and PresenceBusinesslike atmosphere, 2,700 stores in 43 statesYouthful and casual ambiance, an extensive international presence with 36,800 locations in 104 countries
Speed of ServiceEmphasizes quick service, fresh sandwiches prepared rapidly, especially for online ordersCustomization options may result in longer preparation times, but allows for tailored orders
Price RangeSlightly higher prices (e.g., around $6 for an 8″ sandwich)Offers lower price points, popular meal deals, and the iconic $6 footlongs
Rewards ProgramsOffers rewards, including complimentary sandwiches on various occasionsRewards based on item cost, accumulates tokens for rebates

Menu Comparison

When it comes to their menus, Subway and Jimmy John’s offer distinct experiences. 

Subway boasts many choices, including fountain drinks, pizza, salads [1], bread options, vegetables, cheeses, breakfast sandwiches, and sauces. 

“Sandwiches are wonderful. You don’t need a spoon or a plate!”

Paul Lynde, American Comedian and Actor

The highlight is the freedom to customize your sandwich fully and even have it toasted to perfection.

In contrast, Jimmy John’s keeps it simple with a fixed menu. You’ll find just two types of bread – French and wheat. However, you still have choices. 

They offer 8″ subs, Plain Slims, Giant Club Sandwiches, and the hearty J. J. Gargantuan. 

You can still tailor your order by adding or removing fix-ins to suit your taste preferences. But what’s the distinction between Jimmy John’s Firehouse?

Ingredients and Quality

Subway Sandwiches

I’ve tried both Jimmy John’s and Subway, and the contrast in their sandwiches is clear. Jimmy John’s bread is a standout. It’s chewier and tastier than Subway’s. 

When it comes to bread, Jimmy John’s wins. Jimmy John’s ingredients are fresh and flavorful despite offering limited options like ham and cheese. 

Their house-brand chips are crispy and add a nice crunch to the meal. 

On the other hand, Subway needs to improve its quality. Its sandwiches, even with custom toppings, can be disappointing. 

Cold cuts like bologna make it feel like a school lunch, not a fresh meal. Minimal lettuce and tomatoes only do a little to improve the experience. 

Overall, Jimmy John’s is the leader when it comes to satisfying sandwiches. But how big is Jersey Mike’s giant sub?

Taste & Flavor Profile

In my taste test between Jimmy John’s and Subway, the contrast in flavor was evident. Thanks to its premium-quality ingredients, Jimmy John’s stood out with a fresher taste. 

Every component, from the crisp vegetables to the savory meats and delectable condiments like mayo, contributes to a more delicious and healthier sandwich.

On the other hand, Subway’s subs failed to deliver that special something. 

Many of their ingredients, including chips, pizzas, toppings, veggies, and meats, come prepackaged, resulting in a less memorable flavor profile. 

Check out the distinction between McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A here.

Pricing & Value

Jimmy John's Restaurant

From my own experience, I’ve noticed distinct pricing strategies between Jimmy John’s and Subway. 

Subway is known for its wallet-friendly options, offering $6 footlong deals and various meal deals. Six-inch subs typically range from $3.75 to $5, making it affordable.

Meanwhile, Jimmy John’s maintains relatively consistent pricing, although it has seen slight increases in recent years. 

The cost varies depending on your choice, but for an 8″ sub, you can expect to pay around $6. 

While Jimmy John’s may be a tad pricier than Subway, it still offers good value for its quality and freshness.


Comparing Jimmy John’s and Subway is essential if you’re trying to eat healthily. Subway lets you load up on veggies and customize your sandwich, which can be a healthy choice. 

But the nutrition depends on your picks. Meanwhile, Jimmy John’s boasts fresh ingredients and bread, but their nutrition can be hit or miss. 

Take the Pepe sandwich—it has 600 calories, which is reasonable. 

However, it’s also loaded with 29 grams of fat, 8 grams of the less healthy kind, and a whopping 1,520 milligrams of sodium [2].

Subway’s healthier options often offer a more balanced nutrition profile, making it a better choice for those watching calories, fat, and sodium intake.

Rewards Program 

Jimmy John's Sandwiches

Jimmy John’s features the “Freaky Fast Rewards” program, which pleasantly surprises customers with complimentary sandwiches on various occasions. 

These special moments include birthdays, national sandwich days, and other dates the management selects.

Next, Subway employs a more conventional method of rewarding its patrons. The number of tokens you receive is directly linked to your order’s cost. 

“Jimmy John’s brings the ‘freaky fast’ flavor to your plate, while Subway lets you build your own ‘subway’ to sandwich bliss.”

Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

With every 200 tokens accumulated, you earn approximately $2 in rebates, offering a straightforward, spend-based incentive.

Accessibility & Convenience

At Subway, it always requires a bit of movement to get your sandwich fix, whether standing in line at the store or picking up your online order. 

This means spending a minimum of five minutes, assuming there isn’t a queue. 

On the other hand, Jimmy John’s brings an unusual convenience aspect with their Freaky Fast delivery service. 

If you need more time to move or are too invested in your work or study, they deliver your order to your doorstep. 

However, even if you decide to visit the store, their preparation time is extremely swift.

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What makes Subway so well-known?

Subway is famous because it lets people make their sandwiches. You can pick different types of bread, meat, cheese, veggies, and sauces.
This way, you can get a sandwich the way you like, no matter your food preferences. This makes Subway a hit with a lot of people.

Who are Jimmy Johns’ competitors?

Jimmy John’s most prominent competitors are Domino’s Pizza, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Panera Bread, and Subway. 

Despite this competition, Jimmy John’s has managed to distinguish itself, securing 2nd place in the Product Quality Score in comparison against its rivals.

Who is the primary competitor of Subway?

The primary competitor of Subway is more than one entity, as it competes with many food chains. But within the context of fast food, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut are two major competitors.

On A Final Note

Having extensively dined at Jimmy John’s and Subway, I can confidently say that both restaurant chains and their expansive menus offer delightful options for a hearty lunch. 

However, when it comes to winning in the sandwich showdown, Jimmy John’s reigns with its overall high satisfaction ratings for food taste and services. 

In contrast, Subway stood out for its affordability. And in terms of taste and generous sandwich proportions, Jimmy John’s managed to impress more.


Shari Mason

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