Consumer Trends

Sandwich cravers pick faves

Panera landed the honor of favorite sandwich chain in America, according to a consumer survey conducted in August by Market Force Information. The survey polled more than 7,600 people and looked at 14 sandwich/wrap chains. A voting system was used, which accounted for chain size and customer visits, to narrow down the top picks to Panera, Jason’s Deli, McAlister’s Deli, Firehouse Subs, Quiznos, Jimmy Johns and Subway.  

  • Panera won all regions except the Midwest, where Jason’s Deli came out on top
  • The survey found respondents appreciated healthy food options, like those offered at Jason’s Deli
  • Jason’s Deli ranked highest in food, value and cleanliness categories
  • Jimmy Johns ranked highest in service
  • Panera had the most inviting atmosphere
  • McAlister’s performed consistently well in all four regions
  • The Northeast included more large chains (such as Arby’s and Quiznos) in its top picks than any other region
  • Panera’s successful loyalty program allows it to track customers’ purchases and tailor the menu to customers’ preferences
  • Jason’s Deli and McAlister’s Deli saw sales and unit growth in 2011
  • Subway had the most consumer visits of all the chains

“We’re seeing a shift in the sandwich industry, where now the customer experience is just as important as the convenience factor,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “Brands like Panera and Jason’s Deli are differentiating in areas like atmosphere and health-conscious food, and that’s drawing customers in the door and making them return visitors.”


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