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Top 16 Sandwich Franchises AUV, Costs & Stats (2023)

If you’re considering getting into the sandwich industry, buying a franchise can be a great option. Yet, which franchise should you choose? There are a number of sandwich franchises you can choose from, each with their own pros and cons.

In this article we are giving you our top 10 picks of the best sandwich franchises in the US.

For each we’re giving you the key financials: the average initial investment cost and Average Unit Volume (AUV). Also, if you want to dig deeper, you’ll find the links to our complete review for each franchise below.

FranchiseUS franchised unitsInvestmentAUVNet worthLiquid capital
Subway21,147371,000454,00080,00030,000
Jimmy John's2,616514,000875,000300,00080,000
Arby's2,2911,185,0001,126,0001,000,000500,000
Jersey Mike's2,087574,0001,221,000300,000100,000
Firehouse Subs1,1251,195,0001,395,000350,000100,000
Charleys Philly Steaks538510,000786,000500,000100,000
McAlister’s Deli4721,425,0001,866,0001,000,000500,000
Schlotzsky’s3001,658,0001,801,0001,000,000300,000
Which Wich264330,000282,000500,000150,000
Capriotti’s115365,000856,000500,000150,000

Subway

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
21,147$371,000$454,000

Subway is a popular fast-food franchise known for its fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and salads. It was founded in 1965 by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company is currently headquartered in Milford, Connecticut.

Subway began franchising in 1974 and has since grown to become one of the largest franchisors in the world. As of 2021, there are over 40,000 Subway restaurants in over 100 countries, of which more than 20,000 are franchised-owned in the US.


Jimmy John’s

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
2,616$514,000$875,000

Jimmy Johns is a fast-growing American gourmet sandwich franchise that serves made-to-order sandwiches, freshly baked bread, and other food and beverage products. Its founder, Jimmy John Liautaud, started the chain store in 1983 with his first store in Charleston, Illinois.

At first, Jimmy wanted to start a hot dog restaurant but later abandoned it as it was very costly. He partnered with his dad, sharing profits equally, but he later bought his dad out and became the sole owner of the business. And by 1993, he had established over 10 stores in the US.

In 1994, Jimmy Johns’ franchising journey began with its first franchise in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. And by 2001, it had reached 100 stores.

Today, Jimmy Johns has over 2,700 stores in 43 states in the US, and that number is still growing. Jimmy John SPV LLC and its parent company, Inspire Brands, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois own the Jimmy Johns franchise.


Arby’s

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
2,291$1,185,000$1,126,000

Arby’s is a leading American fast-food sandwich franchise with over 3,400 stores in the US.

The chain was founded in 1964 by the Raffel brothers, Forrest and Leroy, and its first restaurant was in Boardman, Ohio.

It originally served roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks. In addition, it offers a deli-style Market Fresh line of sandwiches, Greek gyros, curly fries, and Jamocha shakes.

Arby’s franchising journey began in 1965 with the opening of its first franchise in Akron, Ohio.

Headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia, the Arby’s franchise is one of the fastest-growing sandwich chain restaurants in the US. It is operated by Arby’s franchisor, LLC, which has 2 parent companies, Inspire Brands and Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc.


Jersey Mike’s

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
2,087$574,000$1,221,000

Headquartered in Manasquan, New Jersey, Jersey Mike’s Subs is an American multinational submarine sandwich franchise.

The chain offers made-to-order submarine sandwiches in which meat and cheese is sliced as required. Toppings include shredded lettuce, sliced onions, oregano, tomatoes, salts & spices, and mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

According Jersey Mike’s website, there are 2,401 stores operating in the US and a total of 2,403 stores operating worldwide. Another 260 locations will be opened soon.


Firehouse Subs

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
1,125$1,195,000$1,395,000

Firehouse Subs is a leading fast-casual food chain restaurant with over 1,200 stores in the USA, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

The chain was founded in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida, by firefighter brothers Chris and Robin Sorensen.

It serves hot specialty subs, salads, and other seasonal items. The subs are made with meats and cheeses and served on toasted sub rolls “Fully Involved” with vegetables and condiments.

Firehouse Subs began franchising in 1995 and is owned by Restaurant Brands International (RBI).


Charleys Philly Steaks

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
538$510,000$786,000

Charleys Philly Steaks, formerly Charley’s Grilled Subs and Charley’s Steaks, is an American restaurant chain headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. 

The brand’s story began in 1985, at Ohio State University, as a simple 450-square-foot restaurant satisfying the college students’ appetite for made-to-order cheesesteaks, lemonade, and gourmet fries.

Charley Shin founded the restaurant chain after tasting the Philly cheesesteak for the first time and falling in love with it. 

The chain is famous for its tasty cheesesteaks, soft drinks, fruit lemonades, and French fries. In addition, select stores serve frozen shakes, fried appetizers, and boneless wings. 

Charley Philly Steaks began its franchising operations in 1991, long before it became a subsidiary of Gosh Enterprises, another Shin-owned company. Currently, the chain has 700 locations spread across 46 US states and in 17 other countries around the world.


McAlister’s Deli

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
472$1,425,000$1,866,000

McAlister’s Deli is an American chain of fast food restaurants owned by the Focus Brands Group, along with Jamba’sCinnabonMoe’s Southwest GrillAuntie Anne’s, Carvel, and Schlotzky’s.

The chain was founded in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1989 by Dr. Don Newcomb. It started as Checkers before later changing to McAlister’s.

Its menu includes deli sandwiches, baked potatoes, soup, salads, desserts, catering items, and the famous sweet McAlister’s tea.

McAlister’s Deli began franchising in 1994 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, the chain has over 500 stores in 28 US states and is still growing.


Schlotzsky’s

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
300$1,658,000$1,801,000

Schlotzsky’s Bakery Café is an American fast-casual restaurant chain that is owned by Focus Brands along with Auntie Anne’sJamba’sMoe’s Southwest GrillCinnabon, Carvels, and McAlister’s Deli.

The chain was founded in 1971 by Don and Dolores Dissman in Austin, Texas.

It specializes in pizza, sandwiches, salads, calzones, soups, and other related foods and beverages. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Schlotzsky’s Bakery Café began franchising in 1976. Today, it has over 330 locations in the US.


Which Wich

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
264$330,000$282,000

Which Wich is an American fast-casual restaurant and sandwich franchise with over 400 stores in 36 US states and around the globe.

It was founded by restaurant entrepreneur Jeff Sinelli in 2003 in Downtown Dallas, Texas, where it is headquartered. Which Wich began franchising in 2005 and is owned by Sinelli Concepts Int’l. Inc.

The brand offers sandwiches, salads, cheese, chips, milkshakes, cookies, spreads, and vegetables.


Capriotti’s

US franchised unitsInvestmentAverage Unit Volume
115$365,000$856,000

Capriotti’s (also known as Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop) is an American fast-casual dining restaurant chain headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The chain was founded in 1976 by siblings Lois and Alan Margolet in Wilmington, Delaware. It is named after the founders’ grandfather, Philip Capriotti.

It serves sandwiches, subs, salads, desserts, and soft drinks.

Capriotti’s franchising journey began in 1991, and currently, it has more than 175 restaurants in the US, mostly in Nevada.


Erbert & Gerbert’s

Erbert & Gerbert’s is a sandwich restaurant franchise headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It offers submarine sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups with signature flavor profiles.

Erbert & Gerbert’s was founded in 1988 by Kevin Schippers and his wife Beth in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Kevin named his shop, Erbert & Gerbert’s, after a series of bedtime stories, “The Adventures of Erbert & Gerbert Herbert” that his father told them when they were children. In addition, he gave the sandwiches on the menu the names of characters in the stories as a tribute to his family, father and those stories.

The chain has recorded great growth, opening more locations and in 2021 it announced double-digit growth through a refocused menu, new branding and shop design, store expansion and additional operational and technical leadership. Erbert & Gerbert’s franchising journey began in 1992 and currently has 75 locations in total, with 72 being franchised in the US.


Primo Hoagies

Primo Hoagies is a Westville, New Jersey-based fast-casual restaurant concept known for its Italian hoagies. Its menu features some of the finest meats and cheeses on the market, as well as the brand’s award-winning bread, which is a fan favorite.

It was founded in 1992 on Ritner Street in South Philadelphia by Richard and Colleen. It has since grown to be one of the leading franchise delis, with locations in six states across the country and had opened 89 locations by 2018.

With an unrelenting commitment to quality and consistency, Primo Hoagies continues to foster the Primo difference and drive success in line with the brand’s vision of reaching 150 locations by the end of 2023 and its five-year plan of 300 to 350 new locations.

Primo Hoagies began franchising in 2002 and currently has 101 franchises in the US.


Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Founded in 1971 in Chicago, Potbelly Sandwich Shop is a chain of fast-casual restaurants that specializes in submarine sandwiches, shakes, soups, smoothies, to name a few.

Peter Hastings started an antique shop, Hindsight, that had a potbelly stove, which he used to make toasted sandwiches to sell to his customers.

Its major expansion began in 1997 under Bryant Keil’s leadership, with the brand expanding into several states and the District of Columbia.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop began issuing franchises in 2009 and by the end of 2022 it had opened 443 locations, with 46 franchises in the US and 397 international locations.

Today, Potbelly Sandwich Shop offers an opportunity for franchisees looking to offer simple, quality foods, friendly customer service and a warm environment to join the franchise in opening more locations across the country. The brand continues with its commitment to communities and plans to refranchise 100 units of the company-owned locations by 2024.


Togo’s

Togo’s is a chain of fast-casual restaurants that specializes in sandwiches headquartered in San Jose, California. Its menu also features a variety of wraps, salads, soups, kids’ meals and more.

It was founded in 1971 when a student of San Jose University purchased a small sandwich shack near the university and started selling big, made-to-order sandwiches stuffed with fresh ingredients. The shop was small and had “Sandwiches To Go” as the sign out front, with To Go being on the second line. It soon became a favorite, opening a second location in Oregon the same year.

What began as a sandwich shack where only four people could dine at a time has grown into a recognizable fast casual franchise in the sandwich industry, earning the title “West Coast Original“.

Togo’s began franchising in 1977 and had opened 184 locations in the US, with 178 franchises and 6 company-owned units as of 2020.


Tubby’s Sub Shop

Tubby’s Sub Shop is a submarine sandwich restaurant chain headquartered in Clinton Township, Michigan. Also, it serves a variety of salads, French fries, soups and soft drinks.

It was founded in 1968 in St. Claire Shores, Michigan, by Richard Paganes. The first location was known for its unique flavor, high-quality products and generous portions, quickly becoming a fan favorite in the area.

Starting out as a family-owned and operated business, Tubby’s Sub Shop locations are mainly found in the Midwest and southeastern United States and still have their roots firmly rooted in family, customer service and proactive public relations. 

Tubby’s Sub Shop’s growth has been at a deliberate pace, opening more dine-in locations and its first drive-through location in 1988. Tubby’s began franchising in 1978 and by 2021 it had 56 franchises in the US.


Lenny’s Grill & Subs

Lenny’s Grill & Subs is a fast-casual restaurant chain headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, famous for its Philadelphia-style sub shops. It serves a variety of deli sub sandwiches, cheesesteaks, salads, wraps, soups and more.

Lenny’s Grill & Subs was founded in 1998 by Len and Shelia Moore in Bartlett, Tennessee. From the first location, the brand has grown into multiple locations across the southeastern and south-central United States, offering sandwiches made with authentic ingredients and friendly customer service.

It began franchising in 2001 and by the end of 2022 it had opened 65 locations in the US, of which 60 were franchise-owned and 5 were company-owned.

Today, Lenny’s Grill & Subs is expanding, offering interested franchisees a unique investment opportunity in the $21 billion-a-year sub sandwich category with single and multi-unit growth opportunities available in numerous protected territories across the country.

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