January 20th, 2008 by Potato

Some time ago I discovered that Quiznos did have very good sandwiches. I had put off trying them for years because I didn’t see the appeal of toasting a veggie sandwich, and figured it was mostly just a place for meat-eaters. Once I did try it and like it, I still didn’t go there very often because a sandwich there is $2 more than at Subway, so I usually only went when I had a coupon or really felt like going upscale. Then I think Quiznos started to try to cut costs or something, because the coupons stopped coming (even the crappier online coupons!) and the quality really took a nose-dive. In particular, it seemed like the bread just wasn’t as tasty any more, and a big reason for going was lost when they cancelled Wayfare’s favourite sandwich, the Tzatziki chicken. I have no idea why they discontinued that sandwich, it always seemed really popular, sometimes they’d even run out of tzatziki sauce. So, I stopped going entirely for pretty much all of the end of summer and the fall.

We just got another batch of coupons in the mail and decided to give them another try, plus Wayfare wanted to try their new “Sammie” mini pita thingies. It’s still not as good as I remember when I first got hooked on it, but the quality has come a huge way from where it was a few months ago. I noticed that my sandwich was toasted a lot better today, and wonder if that might have been part of the issue; the few subs I’d had before had been barely warmed by the heat, and it seems like their bread is just not very good cold. Wayfare liked her Sammie, which is just a tiny little thing, maybe 3 bites to it.

I was puzzled by their pricing scheme though, since it seemed to defy all usual retail sense. First off was the sammie pricing: $2 per sammie, or 2 for $3.99! Wow, I could save a whole penny? That’s pretty retarded. I know the sad thing is that it might convince some people to buy two just from putting the thought into their mind, but if I was going to buy a sammie, I’d probably just buy one, and then go up and reorder if I wanted a second, just to spite their stupid non-discount. They couldn’t have even made it 2 for $3.75 or something? It’s just so sad.

For their sub sandwiches, which form most of their business, the pricing is also really weird. Usually, there’s a lower incremental cost for an upgrade to try to entice a consumer into buying more, to upsell. The customer perceives a benefit of buying more, since the last bit of upgrade cost them less than the first bit, and the company makes more profit since it costs them less still to offer a bit more. This is something that’s generally true for companies selling food, including movie theatres, as well as other types of sales, such as long distance minutes. Not so for Quiznos, however. There, there isn’t much incentive to go beyond a 9″. A 6″ sandwich costs $5. A 9″ one costs $6, so the extra 3″ upgrade from the 6″ costs you a dollar. But a 12″ costs $7.50, so the 3″ to go from the 9″ to the 12″ costs $1.50, which goes against the usual upselling price points as well as the economies of scale. I wonder how many people just order a 12″ without considering that — I know I did, being in the habit of just ordering that size without really checking the price of the smaller ones. However, now that I know, it bugs me that they do that, possibly trying to wring that last 50 cents out of me, trying to just sneak it in, so I order a 9″ instead. Which is good, since a 9″ sub is just about the perfect lunch sized portion for me: 6″ is too small for my appetite, but with a 12″ it’s sometimes a struggle to stuff in that last bite or two. While the incremental cost to upsize to a 12″ out of whack, the total cost per inch of sandwich is still marginally less for the 12″. A 6″ sub is $0.83/inch, the 9″ is $0.66/inch, and the 12″ is $0.63/inch. It would make more sense to me to see that cost per inch go down more for the 12″, but at least it is lower so I don’t feel too bad when I do order a 12″, and it does leave some (very minor) justification for trying to upsell.

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