If You Could Say Something to the CEO of Quiznos, What Would it Be?

The complaints are still rolling in about the Quiznos free sub promotion, and they’ve issued this official response:

The response to the Quiznos Millions Subs Giveaway has been nothing short of overwhelming. That’s great, right? Right… but given that we have had over a million consumers respond in only three days, there are a handful of people who have reported some problem redeeming their free sandwich. If you’re one of them, please let us know right away by emailing millionsubs@quiznos.com. We’re working hard to address every issue very quickly. 

They also sent me a personal email, asking if I’d be interested in a phone or e-mail interview with Quiznos’ CMO, Rebecca Steinfort.  According to the PR person ”she’d love the opportunity to respond to you and your reader’s concerns regarding the Million Subs campaign.”  Oh yeah?  Are you sure you know what you’re getting into?  Alright… you heard them right.  Got something you’d like to say or ask the Quiznos CEO? Post it in the comments, and I’ll forward it along.

40 Comments

  • They are in the business of selling meat. They could give a got damn about the issues some silly internet scam causes.

  • Point is, if you offer something for free you should honor it. End of Story.
    Steven L. is only offering excuses and trying to talk him out of it is pointless. Excuses are excuses. They don’t work at work and they don’t work at lunch.
    Yes its nice they offered free subs, but offering and then not honoring is a rip off and DESERVES some anger.
    In any case, now that I have given them my name and email address, I am sure I’ll be on some mailing list. And trust me, I’ll be lucky if it’s just THEIR mailing list. They could totally sell those lists to other spammers and voila they’ve made their “million subs” cost back. Marketing disguised as altruism.
    AND THATS WHY I will no longer even consider Quiznos. (even though I have a personal connection to Quiznos and was a lifelong fan)

  • I think it best for everyone if Quizno’s were to just go away. They obviously treat their franchisees bad, and this has shown that they use the rift between the parent company and the franchisees to treat the customer bad.

    And the price war with Subway never made sense to me, because Quizno’s generally had better ingredients that warranted a slightly higher price.

    I can’t support this company anymore, and I feel bad for the franchisees, but in classic NYC style, they were jerks about it and directed their anger with corporate at the customers.

    It is a failed company.

  • I would want to relate my story.

    As some commenters on WalletPop and consumerist noted, this promotion made public the rift between the franchisees and Quiznos corporate. It should *not* have involved the customer. Even a hugely loyal customer like me, you could even call me a brand evangelist and I would not complain, is left with a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended.)

    The problems I had with my local store (80 Broad St) in honoring my coupon led to my being forced to make a complaint. I in no way enjoyed doing this. I love Quiznos and to have to make a complaint actually hurts. The manager ended up emailing me back to apologize and sending me a coupon for a combo. He was very very nice and did what he could to rectify the situation.

    Now, I don’t feel that I should use the free coupon he emailed me, and I have not used the million sub coupon either.

    The day I had to complain to corporate was the second day I had attempted to use the coupon. The first day, I went for lunch at 1:56 PM only to see the posted signs saying that the free subs would only be offered between 3 and 6 pm. I shared that information here, then waited until 3 pm the next day to go for my sub at which point I was starving, only to find that no coupons at all would be honored! To have to fight with my local store over this was horrible, even though the manager was so nice in the end. I don’t want to have any unpleasantness ever at Quiznos. Sappy as it sounds, I go to Quiznos as a respite from my otherwise often unpleasant worklife. I look forward to my toasty subs and the friendly employees, and have had many great experiences with Quiznos.

    So I never used this coupon, which I’d had emailed to my work address, since it seemed that Quiznos was only mailing out coupons to “new” email addresses that weren’t in the system, leading myself and others to believe that this was just a marketing ploy to harvest email addresses. I never got the one I’d originally requested from the email address known to Quiznos.

    On Saturday, I received an email from Quiznos to this known email address stating that they’d noticed I’d never printed this coupon (because I’d never received it, and it’s not b/c it was in a spam folder as I have my own domain and don’t filter quiznos mail to any spam folder). I tried to this coupon at my local Quiznos on Long Island. I thought about the delicious, hot, toasty prime rib and peppercorn sub I was going to enjoy later in the day as I worked hard all morning on my homework. I was going to enjoy the pepper bar too, and get a free small sub for consumption at a later point, to stretch out the enjoyment.

    I printed the cupon out, following all of their rules – after reading consumerist.com, I realized that there’s a special watermark and the coupon had to be printed in color, fine, I put a new magenta cartridge in the Epson 500 and printed the coupon, then drove several miles to the local store.

    From all of my reading, I was aware that there was some degree of coupon fraud going on and so I understood when they took time entering my code into their computer to verify that it was a genuine, unused coupon.

    While I was waiting, I ordered and paid for a regular size prime rib with peppercorn sandwich, which cost me $7.05.

    This is because I’d originally read that the franchises were bearing 100% of the cost of the coupon program, which I later found an update on stating that they’d be reimbursed about 72 cents per sub. I knew they were still operating at a loss so I felt that the least I could do was buy something to accompany my free sub.

    But the store said that something was wrong with my coupon! They refused to let me use it. A fight ensued, where I had to complain that I understood about the fraud and knew everything about the promotion, but this coupon was genuine and they should accept it, and that I was unhappy that they claimed they would honor the coupon, yet found a loophole not to, (what I am calling a “submarine clause”) even after I’d paid $7.05 for a sandwich!

    Ultimately, after I explained the situation to the manager and had to tell him what the ultimate consequences of his refusing a legitimate coupon would be (i.e., I *would* email corporate, I’d done it before, I would post to a blog, I would stop my once a day visits, never return to that store and so on) the manager apologized and gave me a card that he signed for a free sub, but after all this, I won’t use it, and I *still* have never used my free sub coupon.

    But honestly, who wants to go through this? I don’t like to have to feel like a bully to the poor hard working store owner, and so I haven’t been back to Quiznos since.

    I *will* go back, but this program was a huge disaster. It was handled extremely badly. It generated loads of bad publicity for Quiznos. The franchises should have honored the coupon from the start without dragging the customer into it, and corporate should subsidize the franchises for the sandwiches at 100% of the cost.

  • Fair enough to all – This promotion was obviously a disaster. I didn’t have all the details at first, but see why so many are upset. Too bad that an idea that stood to benefit so many ended up hurting both the establishment and the consumer.

  • I have been eating at Quiznos for about 6 months and after this promotion I was left feeling tricked and was a little embarrased when they refused my coupon and acted like I was trying to pull something. I will not be back.

  • whatever happened to the commercials with the ugly mascots???

  • @Monique: You mean the Spongmonkeys? The Spongmonkeys rule! Quiznos, bring them back, that’s the only way to save the brand! :)

  • @ Cosi – Yes
    and that awful song that got stuck in my head!

  • Dear Ms. Steinfort,

    You probably feel that this promotion was an overwhelming success despite the “handful of people who have reported some problem redeeming their free sandwich.”

    Respectfully, while I only have anecdotal evidence to the contrary, the amount of ill generated by the giveaway to your franchise owners as well as old and potential new customers has permanently damaged the good corporate image of Quizno’s so carefully crafted by your Spongemonkeys and last season appearance on Mr. Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.

    That said, any chance of running this promotion again next week? Kind of craving a free toasted prime rib and peppercorn.

  • THEY GOT A PEPPER BAR!

    My serious question for the Quizno’s CEO: What sort of detailed training protocols do you require your franchises to follow? I ask because I’ve experienced a tremendous range of quality from store to store — some Quizno’s have friendly employees who make a proper sandwich quickly and neatly, while other locations always seem to have trouble putting the simplest sandwiches together.

    Compare to a chain like Starbucks — which, say what you will about the product, but their employees are well and thoroughly trained, and I’ve rarely seen a barista who was having trouble making the drinks.

  • Here’s an idea. Maybe they should do a better job contacting the franchise owners when they have such a genius idea. Instead of the vague disclaimer of “participating stores”, they should list which stores are participating on their website. That way you don’t waste people’s time when they can get a better deal without all the bull at Subway. They managed to drive people to their locations and drove them away for good.

  • FYI, I was hoping that the Quiznos at 34th and 8th had perhaps risen to the occasion and were honoring the coupons. They are still denying them and still have the signs posted on their doors that they will only honor coupons for those who live or work within five specified zip codes. This is my third attempt to use the coupon, my third store and third FAIL! Once again I paid for my food and guess what, they messed up the chicken cantina sammie which is NOT supposed to come with hot sauce. Sigh. I have one more day. I plan to try the Chambers Street store tomorrow.

  • I haven’t stepped foot in a Quizno’s since they thought a rat in a sombrero was a smart marketing campaign. Barf.

  • It appears that Subway doesn’t want to be left out of being full of shit. They are running a “Limited time” promotion now that says “All Footlongs for $5″, not just the select that normally are, but when you read the fine print, it turns out that all footlongs that previously weren’t $5 still won’t be $5. The exact same subs as before are $5, they just decided to call that “All” of them.

    The marketing people at these companies are fucking satan.

  • Cosilicious, i can’t believe you actually ended up paying for a meal. You got weak!

  • @Jeff: I paid for a meal each time I visited Quiznos. What can I say, I was hungry… and I crave Quiznos particularly when I can’t get my Cosi, banh mi or dumpling fix. Plus the Treats Truck has not been near Wall Street in weeks!

    I have been hoping to read a response from the CMO. I found a response here if anyone is interested:

    http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/03/02/exclusive-quiznos-exec-speaks-may-compensate-customers-for-b/

  • Follow-up: I got a phone call a few days ago from who i assume is the manager at the store i visited. He was really nice, apologized, explained a bit of his side of the story, and invited me back for a free sub. We’ll see how/if this actually goes over.

    That CMO strikes me as a snake and, after reading lots of the comments posted on consumer & food blogs about this, i think she is full of crap that they are reimbursing 90% of the cost of the subs. I am sure that there is some kind of accounting magic (involving overheads, COGS, etc.) that would produce that 90% number, but not in a way as beneficial to the franchisee as it sounds.

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    ….it would be:

    More ads like this please:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15W1eAMy_pI&feature=related

    Thank you

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