Quiznos Manual: Natural Disasters Are Good PR Opps

According to the Quiznos Operations Manual sitting on our desk, Quiznos instructs owners to mine earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and flood evacuations for publicity opportunities.

This directive seeks to exploit the plight of victims of natural disasters for corporate benefit. It’s almost as disgusting as hot lettuce, or the lazy local press that eats up this spoonfed pablum. Barf. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. rbb says:

    I think you are being a bit harsh on Quiznos (this time ;) I have absolutely no problem with any business owner who shows up to help out in a constructive way after a disaster.

    Within a day or two after the Pentagon was attacked, the South parking lot had portable trailer kitchens from Burger King, McDonalds and Outback. These trailers are something the companies maintain for special events and in this case, disasters. Tysons Chicken brought in a trailer filled with chicken and grills to cook it on. All the food was free. Were we grateful? You bet. Did the companies mention it to the press and try to get publicity from it. Sure, they had every right to. They did good.

    So if Quiznos is just instructing them to look for PR opportunities without giving back to the community, then that’s wrong. But if they are out there passing out free sandwiches to the rescue crews, then more power to them.

  2. WitchKing says:

    But whatever you do, DO NOT show up at the TV truck with free Quizno’s samples.

  3. mike1731 says:

    I tend to agree with rbb’s comments above. Every company – even – gasp! – WalMart – tries to obtain positive PR mileage from disasters. Nothing here to get too excited about, just more of the same. Donate a few thousand to a good cause, spend a few million in advertising to celebrate it.

  4. astroworf says:

    It would be disgusting if the stores were informed to take advantage of victims. Alerting them to the fact that they could take advantage of some free media coverage is not, depending on how it’s done. Providing free meals on-site for relief workers in hopes of being noticed by the media is not a bad thing.

  5. critical_matt says:

    Oh come on. Every company who get on board for this disaster or that medical research is doing it for the PR. Otherwise there wouldn’t be giant checks in the universe.

  6. critical_matt says:

    Oops. My comment may have been eaten or this is a double post. Anyway, my comment had to do with giant sized checks and why they exist.

  7. dantsea says:


  8. JamesBruni says:

    From a PR pro’s standpoint, I’d have to say this is a little too opportunistic.

  9. rbb says:

    @mike1731: I honestly believe that in the case of the Pentagon, they spent far more on donations than the PR. But, I have seen cases exactly like you said where a company donates a few bucks and then spends megabucks trumpeting it to the world. That is just wrong.

    Another example of corporate donations – one of the bigger suppliers of fresh water after a disaster are the beer companies. It doesn’t take much to redirect the brewery to “can” water instead of beer (although some of you may claim tht iwth American beer, there is no distinction ;)

  10. FLConsumer says:

    The only thing that I find objectionable about this is that we now find it necessary to tell people to help one another (even if for an ulterior motive) when a disaster hits.

  11. typetive says:

    I think it at least enables the local shop to feel like they can go help instead of “guarding” the property and inventory. If a local manager feels empowered to help in an emergency because he knows that he won’t get in trouble, I think it’s a decent policy. So what if they get positive publicity out of it … some people might end up with a decent meal when they’d otherwise be hungry.

  12. i found a flyer for quiznos in the ny daily news yesterday. does quiznos consider the news a “natural disaster”?

  13. Bix says:

    In fairness to Quiznos, this could be a badly worded instruction to not be insensitive idiots and charge for the stuff.

  14. yeah, Budweiser doesn’t show up at disasters with fresh water in beer tankers covered with logo because they love humanity.

  15. Sudonum says:

    Any of you ever had that water that Budweiser puts in a beer can? I had some post Katrina and all I can say is if thats what they put in the beer no wonder it tastes like sh*t.

  16. jgodsey says:

    being TOLD to be generous when the time comes is better than then the alternative…a corporate policy of greed über alles.

  17. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    What they are saying does make sense from a business point of view. Showing up at a shelter with 150 sub sandwiches is the kind of PR money can’t normally buy. It makes for a feel good story that news stations are desperate for when reporting 5 tornadoes just touched down and put a whole town homeless.

    It may sound heartless coming from a memo like that, but showing up in the community you do business in and giving people who just lost everything a truck full of submarine sandwiches and cases of water would go a long way towards goodwill in that area. From a marketing point of view, a $2,000 cable spot of commercials compared to seeing a shelter full of people munching your food on local news, it’s just not better for everyone, but gives a really nice impression on the people there when they need help and food.
    During Katrina if any of the major fast food places shipped in prepared food it would have been good for them and a public relations boon they couldn’t even have bought. I know it sounds manipulative when you read a clip from a training manual, but in desperate times I can forgive some company giving out food and water to earn some goodwill. Screw it.

  18. EBW says:

    @rbb: Actually, NOT taking advantage of the good PR helping out in a disaster can get you is disasterous for PR. Starbucks still gets shit for charging for water near the WTC 6 years later.


  19. John Stracke says:

    There’s a nasty little subtlety here: they’re not being told to be helpful automatically; they’re being told to check with corporate first. I bet only the first one that calls in will be told to go for it; after that, the whole chain will get the PR, and the first mover will get the bill.

  20. razz4901 says:

    Quiznos is only doing what most major American Corporations do. However, the difference is Quiznos is just stupid enough to put it in writing.

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    I think that, to get the extra OOOOMPH that PR mavens strive for, Quiznos should take the pro-active approach: cause a natural disaster, then be the first Johnny-on-the-spot offering aid.

    C’mon, people – good PR is never an accident!

  22. B says:

    Can their rolls be used as flotation devices?