“We had hungrier consumers looking for a little bit more sandwich.”
Growing up around Philadelphia, I learned a thing or two about sandwiches. (People in New Jersey know what I’m talking about.) We called them hoagies, but you can call them anything you want: subs, heroes, grinders—the list of regional names goes on and on. And as anyone who’s ever regularly patronized an authentic sub shop can tell you, the national chains don’t always nail the beloved intricacies. A subtle one is size: At my favorite hardcore hoagie shops, a “regular” size 12-inch sandwich was actually half a sandwich. The rolls were two-feet long, and if you wanted a two-foot sandwich, by all means it was on the menu. You’d walk home holding a giant wrapped up sandwich like a baton of pride ready to feed a family of four… or yourself after a six-pack of Yuenglings.
So I say cheers to Jimmy Johns. The Illinois-based sandwich chain with over 2,600 locations recently announced it was adding a 16-inch submarine sandwich that’s double the size of their usual eight-inch sandwich. “It really came about because of consumer demand for it,” John Shea, Jimmy John’s chief marketing officer, said according to USA Today. “We had hungrier consumers looking for a little bit more sandwich.”
Of course, double the sandwich also means double the calories. Customers who opt for 16-inch version of the Gargantuan—Jimmy John’s most caloric sandwich that's jam-packed with salami, capicola, turkey, roast beef, ham, as well as provolone cheese, vegetables, oil, vinegar and mayo—are looking at 2,190 calories for a single sandwich. It makes Arby’s recent Bourbon BBQ Triple Stack look like a dainty snack.
But as Jimmy John’s points out, counting calories in a sandwich this size isn’t so straightforward, especially when the chain offers a price break for going bigger. Because unlike Chili’s massive, foot-tall 1,650-calorie Boss Burger—an item that is rarely shared—slicing up a giant sub for sharing is part of its DNA. “We’ve got the value consumer who is looking at getting two sandwiches,” Shea continued, but instead, these larger sandwiches can be a chance for “splitting a sandwich among a couple of kids or among a couple of people that are sharing it.”
That’s what I call family values the sandwich shop way! Just watch out for those Yuenglings! They can change your sandwich sharing plans real quick!