The Simple Reason Subway Has Lost My Business

I’m switching sub sandwich restaurants for a very simple reason. Customer loyalty is a funny thing. We may live and breathe a specific brand name or restaurant because of a great experience, a certain product, or proximity to our home or work. But we can also switch in an instant for an equally, seemingly trivial thing. For me the thing that is causing me to change sub sandwich restaurants is the very simple thing of saving a little money.

For my entire adult life, I’ve been a huge fan of Subway. Whenever anyone would suggest trying another sub sandwich shop, I resisted to the bone. I was a Subway guy. But as of this weekend, I’m switching to Erbert and Gerbert’s. You may be asking yourself why would someone who has spent years dedicated to the Subway Melt suddenly switch?


First let’s take a look at how they’re the same:

Same Concept

Both restaurants have sub sandwiches of varying types made on varying types of bread. The standard meal is a sandwich with a soda and chips. Of course, I won’t be buying those. No thanks!

Equal Quality

Which each restaurant has different types of sandwiches, I have my favorite at each that I like equally as much. I do have to give a slight edge to the bread at Erbert and Gerbert’s though. It just seems to be more consistently soft.

Comparable Prices

If I get a sub for each of the members of my family of 4, I’ll walk out the door with a bill of about $15-$18 at either restaurant.

Online Ordering

Did you know that you can order your sandwich online at either place, and just go pick it up without waiting for them to make it?  I had no idea, until my wife called me and said I just had to pick up her sandwich.  No ordering needed.  I’ll be taking advantage of this.

Why I’m Switching

The two restaurants are very similar in concept, quality and price, but their sandwich selection does have differences. So why wouldn’t I just go to either one, depending what I’m in the mood for? How has Erbert and Gerbert’s stolen my heart? The answer is very simple:

I’m switching to Erbert and Gerbert’s Subs because they have a rewards program.

Subway used to have a punch car, and after so many purchases you would get a free 6” sandwich. They discontinued that years ago. But over the weekend when I stopped at Erbert and Gerbert’s to buy a sub via request of my wife they handed me a card and said I should slide it each time I visit, and every 10th sandwich is free.

It’s not that big of a savings, probably about $7 every 10th time I visit. But frugality is a mindset. It’s a lifestyle. If I have two restaurants that are essentially equal, the rewards program is the little bit extra that gets me inside their door instead of Subway’s.

Subway, volley to you. How will you win me back?

How about you, EOD Nation, have you had a rewards program or something else that sways you to go to a specific restaurant or buy a specific product over another?

About Travis

5 Responses to “The Simple Reason Subway Has Lost My Business”

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  1. Sassy Mamaw says:

    I eat at Subway often. I miss their old rewards program. Around the holidays they offer a free 6″ sandwich when you buy a gift card. I always buy several gift cards, since I know I will use them over the course of the next few months.

    But I totally understand your reason for switching. Those $$ add up over time!

  2. Kay says:

    Being as frugal as I am, I have no loyalty other than to the bottom line. It just so happens my next sandwich visit will be to Subway since I was able to get a Groupon with a special discount. $3 for a $20 value which will be 2 12″ subs with sides. Who knows next month.

  3. Brian says:

    We don’t have any Erbert and Gerbert’s locally. I can certainly see why you’d switch, if everything is the same, except for the reward program why not. I can’t think of a specific programs, but when eating fast food or quick service I always look for deals or coupons to use.

    Give the amount of this type of food my son eats I will there were more rewards programs offered by these types of places. 🙂

  4. Don says:

    I haven’t eaten at a Subway for a couple years. They have a restaurant very near my workplace that I used to eat at about once per week.

    Two things happened. First, just like for you, when they dropped their loyalty program, I was quite disappointed. Second, the restaurants in our area decided they wouldn’t honor the national advertising campaigns. Whenever I noticed a special promotion advertised, I would check in with our local restaurant and was told that they didn’t offer that here.

    I wish we had Erbert and Gerbert’s here.

  5. Trip says:

    I totally agree on the Rewards program aspect. I love the rewards programs with Blue Baker and Southwest Airlines.

    It’s ironic to me that you’ve written a post about Subway. My first non-family job was with Subway during my final 2 years in high school. I do have some insights into the franchise business model from having worked there.

    Furthermore, I lost a significant amount of weight in ’98 and ’99 from eating only a 12″ turkey (or roast beef or ham) sandwich (no cheese or mayo) and a bag of chips per day — and nothing else. Unfortunately, I didn’t monetize it or call it to Subway’s attention the way Jared Fogle did. Subway would have been much better off for it if I had though.

    In the end, it didn’t matter anyway as I didn’t learn how to finally keep the weight off until losing more in ’07 and ’08.

    I personally avoid Subway and any other form of fast food after having read Fast Food Nation in 2007.

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