Questioning the Quiznos Guarantee

February 10th, 2007 by Bob Bly

A TV commercial for Quiznos says that if you do not like the sandwich they serve you, they will give you another sandwich free.

Picture walking into a sub shop. You order a sandwich. You really don’t like it. In fact, you gag on it.

Do you really want them to give you a second sandwich made at that same sub shop?

Or at that point, have you lost your appetite — and would you rather have a refund?

Yes, I know that the idea is if you don’t like their roast beef, maybe you will like their tuna.

But somehow, the idea of ordering more food from a restaurant whose food you don’t like seems unappealing.

Which offer do you think Quiznos should make?

A. No guarantee. If I don’t like my meal, tough. After all, Subway doesn’t guarantee their subs.

B. If I am not satisfied, I get a second sandwich free, just like the commercial says.

C. Forget the sandwich; I want my money back!

D. They should give me something else of equivalent value — chips, cookies, coffee, soda, soup, chili.

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16 responses about “Questioning the Quiznos Guarantee”

  1. Deborah Finnamore said:

    I’ve been in marketing for years (16+) and I have found that most people in this type of situation actually prefer the choice. Not that they don’t choose the money-back option (because they do!) but even better, they like being given the control to choose whether they want a cookie or a refund. Pointing to your alternate explanation of roast beef possibly being better than tuna, given this choice, I think people are more likely to be “understanding” and perhaps rationalize that maybe only the roast beef was bad. They may not take you up on it today, but it might garner a return visit for another chance at pleasing them.

  2. Chris Lake said:

    I agree with Deborah. A choice is the best option: your money back or any other item on the menu. I think this would tie in well with a “go crazy, try something new” promotion. I almost always order the same thing because I know I like it. I might be tempted to try a Lo-Carb Fiery Chipotle Beef and Bacon Ranch Wrap if I knew I could switch to my good ol’ faithful tuna on whole wheat.

    On the other hand, if I got a tuna that was awful, I’d go for the refund and make a mental note never to return to that Quiznos.

    However, in the spirit of the original question, I would go with C: Money back guarantee. If a customer brings her icky sandwich back to the counter, she can have her $4.67 but likely as not she’ll ask for a replacement meal. Not what was advertised, but whatever makes her happy.

  3. Jodi Kaplan said:

    Bob, I had the same reaction to those ads, as well as a similar one from an online dating service (which promises 6 months free if you’re not happy). Well, if I didn’t like the first six months, why would I want more?

    To go back to your initial question, I agree with Deborah and Chris – give the customer a choice – either a second sandwich or a refund.

  4. Jonathan Kantor said:

    Bob,

    I think it should be a choice of either B and D. New sandwich or something of equivilent value.

    I enjoy Quizno’s subs very much, and find their quality to be superior to Subway. Having this kind of promo makes a lot sense for those who are loyal to Subway as a “no risk” way to try someone else.

    When you’re not the leader in your market, you must try new ideas if you ever hope to gain on that leader, so I give them credit for trying.

  5. Richard Armstrong said:

    How about this for Quiznos? Bring us your receipt from Subway, and we’ll give you the equivalent sandwich. If you don’t think ours is better, you don’t have to pay for it.

    P.S. Who cares if they spend a couple of million bucks on free sandwiches … it costs less than a couple of do-nothing ads on the Super Bowl.

  6. Copywriting Services said:

    Bob,

    I would go for option 3, anytime.

    Give their money back if the client is not satisfied.

    Life is too short to live on somebody bitching and moaning on the way I conduct business. Much less when I get their money.

    Richard,

    Excellent idea for Quiznos.

    The same idea can be utilized by Subway or other burger chains riding on the superbowl ads.

    “If you don’t like Quiznos burger or any other burger, bring us the reciept and you’ll get a free one for the same price you paid there”

    However it is imminently implementable by a mom & pop Burger store to promote their store.

    “Not satisfied with Quiznos Burger ? Show us the receipt and enjoy a burger now and bring your family around next time and your kids eat all they can for free…”

    Edward Santosh

  7. Bob Bly said:

    Richard: The problem with your idea is that many viewers of the commercial are not Subway customers; they go to Blimpie or their local sub shop. So you’d be encouraging many to try Subway. I would change it to “bring me your receipt from your favorite sub shop, and if ours isn’t better, it’s free.”

  8. Brendan said:

    I’d go with Deborah’s point of view: choice is always better in case you have unsatisfied customer. Just image yourself not being satisfied and have one resolution option crammed down your neck, adding insult to injury. No matter the choice, I’d say a combination of two options – B or C, C or D, B or D – would be the most appropriate.

  9. Tim Schaefer said:

    Bob,

    Everyone’s approaching this from a marketing standpoint. Take a look at it in terms of inventory and sales.

    I’ve worked in a few restaurants, and its more profitable for the manager to either remake or give them something else than it is to return them their money.

    Their overall food count will be affected (yet accounted for) in order to satisfy the customer. However, the actual COST of that food is FAR LESS than what they were paid.

    The price of the sandwich reflects what it takes to make a store profitable. And since the ovens are still cooking and the workers are still clocked in, just accept a small loss of inventory and keep that customer’s money in the till.

    If each sandwich costs $2 to make, you’ll only have to spend an extra $2 to hopefully satisfy and retain a customer rather than returning their $7 purchase price and wondering if they’ll ever come back.

  10. Mr. Quiznos said:

    How about this for Quiznos? Bring us your receipt from Subway, and we’ll give you the equivalent sandwich. If you don’t think ours is better, you don’t have to pay for it.

    P.S. Who cares if they spend a couple of million bucks on free sandwiches … it costs less than a couple of do-nothing ads on the Super Bowl.

    Comment by Richard Armstrong — 2/12/2007 @ 4:43 pm

    Richard, the major problem is that it would be the individual business owner that would be giving away the sandwiches, NOT Quiznos Corp. They DO NOT reimburse the franchisee for ANY of the costs associated with couponing or other discounting alternatives. The FO must still buy the food from Quiznos and pay royalties and ad fees. You every wonder why Quiznos restaurants are going out of business left and right, just check out http://www.tsfa.info and some light will be shed on this topic.

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  12. Steve T. said:

    Back to the original question. You are HUNGRY, it’s FOOD TIME, you are THERE, you paid and don’t LIKE the sandwich. Let’s assume you are also SANE and take one bite, don’t like it and DON’T EAT ANY MORE CAUSE YOU KNOW THEY WILL ASAP GIVE YOU ANY OTHER SANDWICH YOU WISH. THIS IS AFTER ALL FAST FOOD.

    To say this is a restaurant Whose Food You Don’t like….is disingenuine since you tried one of a dozen or more sandwiches, a small fraction of the menu. Say its a place whose food you don’t like ONLY after a fair sampling.

    Also taking one bite..it’s cold, don’t like the flavor etc. is no reason to loose one’s appetite.

    REAL EX. I bought Quiznos meatball sandwich. One bite, it was COLD. So did not like it and they made me another after correcting heating error.

    Getting a REFUND is SILLY since it means leaving, wasting time and money to drive eslewhere OR GO HUNGRY all the while knowing Quiznos wants you to TRY ANOTHER ITEM.

    Also this assumes the customer did not woof down a sandwich they DID NOT LIKE knowing that another free choice is available.

    NOTE: I thought the converyer belt cooking meant it could not be cold. Seems they first cook/heat the meatballs before it hits the converyer belt.

    So:
    1) Can’t condemn for ONE sandwich one does not LIKE
    2) REFUND is meaningless if the goal is to EAT HERE AND
    now cause you are HUNGRY
    3) Offer of another item off their vast menu seems the
    only and best solution for a hungry paton unhappy with
    their sandwich choice.

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