Maybe Quiznos Should Find A Better Place For This Cleaning Rag

This is the view when you order a toasted whatever from the Quiznos in Warren, New Jersey: a cleaning rag and a bug zapping racket. Mmmm…toasty!

Tipster Alexander writes:

These were in plain view at the Warren NJ Quiznos. It’s one of those creepy bug zapper raquets with the dirty rag the guy used to pick up hot things with on top of it. This is taken with my iphone from right where you stand when you order a sandwich. I am never eating there again.

Whatever is up there, it’s not artisan bread.


Edit Your Comment

  1. mgy says:

    Rags kind of disgust me in the first place. I hate washing dishes and having that “wet rag smell” all over my hands.

    Of course, I just admitted to licking batteries in another thread, so maybe I’m just insane.

  2. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    This reminds me of the gas station/coffee house I stopped in one day only to see the woman cleaning the counter wipe up everything on the counter with a similar rag, including the spilled coffee grounds, and dump the whole works into the hopper with the fresh ground coffee. When I called her on it she didn’t understand at all what the problem was, and actually got upset with me for calling her on it. Fortunately her manager and the local Health Dept. had a different view than hers…

  3. What hot things are they picking up with a rag? Every Quiznos I have been in picks up stuff with tongs, like the trays as they come out of the oven, and the meat cups they heat the meat up with.

  4. nicemarmot617 says:

    I once stopped at a Quiznos in Utah on a cross-country drive. The smell that hit me when I opened the door is something I’ve never been able to fully describe – my best explanation is that they had laid out the entirety of their fridge under a heat lamp until it rotted, at which point they tossed all the rotting food directly into their HVAC. I’ve never eaten at a Quiznos since. I just can’t shake the memory of that smell which is now associated with Quiznos in my mind.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @nicemarmot617: There was a grocery store in our town when I was growing up, that every time you would enter smelled like the insides of a cow stomach.. or what I imagine it smelled like.

      After leaving one winter, my mittens smelled like it too. I was so sad!

  5. cromartie says:

    Those bug zapper racquets aren’t creepy, they’re fun. I love sitting out on my back deck at sunset with mine swiping bugs.

    Out front of a Quizno’s, though…probably not a good idea.

  6. jonworld says:

    My friend got food poisoning twice from the same Quiznos and the health department wouldn’t do anything about it.

  7. goobwit says:

    We made an attempt at the local Quiznos after succumbing to the endless barrage of adverts for the place, only to leave within minutes of entering. They were tossing meat onto a clearly dirty scale with flies buzzing onto the meat. Upon site of that, we decided McDs was a better choice, so that tells it all!


    Gotta agree with cromartie, those zapper raquets are freaking awesome. That being said, I wouldn’t want one anywhere near my food.

  9. jecowa says:

    It’s kind of gross to have to look at that rag while ordering food, but is this really that big of a deal? The rag and bug zapper don’t touch the food, do they?

  10. ppiddy says:

    No doubt bugs are gross, but what disease are you going to catch from a bug zapper with nuked bugs on it? I’d be a lot more concerned about meat juices contaminating something than bug guts.

  11. geekgrrl77 says:

    Yeah, this doesn’t bother me that much, and I am easily squeamish about restaurant cleanliness.

    From my brief time managing the cafe at Borders a while ago, I know that the health code only stipulated that cleaning chemicals and cleaning items (sponges, rags etc.) could not be stored on the same surface as, or directly above, food or food prep surfaces. So having this rag, with the bug zapper and what looks like other non-food-prep stuff, doesn’t seem too bad. Although having it out of sight of the customer would be nice. If it was all on the sandwich-making counter, that would be a different story.

    I also think it is important not to disparage an entire company or even an entire restaurant b/c of something like a dirty rag out in view of customers (and I’m not saying consumerist is doing this on purpose, but sometimes stories here can be construed that way). There are a lot of lazy, careless people who work in food service who don’t care about cleanliness, but there are A LOT of people who do.

    • Underbyte says:

      @geekgrrl77: dude, The surface that that stuff was stored on contains bread directly underneath it.

      Trust me, when Quiznos corperate sees that picture, that kid is getting fired.

      They should count themselves lucky if that manager (if he keeps his job) wont get a nice little suprise inspection by the local health dept.

  12. taylorb says:

    The hand held bug zappers are fun, but most unshielded bug zappers fling bug parts up to about 20 feet. I wouldn’t be too excited to see the zapper itself in a restaurant.

  13. Ubermunch says:

    Love the zapper… but the point is…

    Is this exactly the best idea for a business that sells food? I’m pretty sure that the Quiznos franchise guide has something to say about the appearance and condition of the customer area.

    Seriously… it’s gross to think that there are so many bugs in the restaurant that a zapper is even required. I’d have turned around, left, and never gone back.

    • Eilonwynn says:


      Have you ever worked in a restaurant?… These are pretty well required equpment, and were in every place I’ve ever worked. Flies exist, and you have to get rid of them, it’s just that in most cases, it’s far in the back and a bit more contained (ours had large metal shields around the general area of zapping, but there were also “lure” scent strips… which are gross.) Of course, if the food prep is being done out in the open, then it only makes sense that the zapper would be too.

      • Ubermunch says:


        Have you ever worked in a restaurant?…

        Answer: Yes. For years and years. And behind the bar, too. Ever deal with bar flies (not skanks and drunks)?

        These are pretty well required equpment, and were in every place I’ve ever worked.

        Sure, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to use a tennis racket fly swatter in lieu of a commercial, restaurant, bug device (like the uv/purple glowing ones) or pest strips in a location that the customer does not see. NO employee should be swinging that kind of thing around a restaurant. It’s for fun… at a f’ing backyard BBQ not a national franchise!

        Secondly… Even if I did allow the use of something stupid like that bug zapper… I’d NEVER let customers see it.

        OK, So you say you worked in a food service and yet you seem to ignore the obvious issues here. Bottom line: I’d hate to eat in the places you worked at because the standards must be very, very, low.

  14. Elviswasntmyhero says:

    Restaurant inspection reports are hard to come by in New Jersey. According to this 2004 news article ([]), “None of the state’s 115 health departments put their inspection reports online.”

    Maybe the flies drawn to that Quiznos location figured out where Jimmy Hoffa was buried.

  15. Just FYI, the bug-zapper racket is the FUNNEST THING I HAVE EVER OWNED.

  16. BytheSea says:

    At the resturants I’ve worked at, the cleaning rags go back in the legally-defined cleaning buckets that’re filled with the cleaning stuff that kills germs but not people. Rag sitting out = someone’s in trouble, or the rag’s on the way to the wash.

  17. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Bug zapper? Bah. At my Quiznos they used those cool fly strips. They’re multicolored so it looks like a birthday party.

  18. chaosofdante says:

    dude i used to work at a quizno’s, and we had mold growing on our wall that was partially hidden by drinks lol…..yeah, not the best place to eat food

  19. Underbyte says:

    As a former assistant manager for a Omaha quiznos, i can tell you that this kind kind of thing would get an employee immediately in some very serious trouble if it was a recurring thing with him. Our rags are stored in the “red bucket” (which is Sanitizer and water mix) when not in use, and they should be going nowhere else, ESPECIALLY above the bread closet. In fact, nothing should ever be above the bread closet other then a CAMBRO full of pita’s(if that). The fact that they had a bug zapper (which is NOT NSF approved, so it shoulden’t even be in the store, let alone the front) on top of that closet is just ridiculous.

    Also, your really not supposed to use rags for taking sandwiches (on metal trays) out of the oven. Thats what the metal tongs are for. To use a rag is disgusting and the employee would of been yelled at for that, too.

    Guys i’m not a paid poster or pusher or whatever for quiznos, i’m just saying; i’ve worked for quiznos and i’ve worked with subway and i can tell you that quiznos is a very well-run sandwich franchise that really does (for the most part) do things right. Dont blame the whole chain for some pimply faced idiot.


  20. pixiegirl1 says:

    Rags always creep me out in restaurants its like the store sock in a shoe store god only knows where it’s been and IF it’s ever been cleaned. Why not use paper towels and you can just toss them when done makes life SO much easier.

  21. ophello says:

    All of you who would vow never to eat at a restaurant because it has flies: FLIES ARE AN INESCAPABLE REALITY THAT NO RESTAURANT SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR. If you are seriously never going to eat somewhere because it has flies, you are an asshole and an idiot. I bet that the rag in question was never intended to be used at the time the photo was taken.

  22. Pal says:

    In Quizos’ defense, this is the franchisee’s fault. There are clean managers and then there are the slobs. It’s not directly the franchise’s fault.

  23. Carbonic says:

    sheesh! give the guy a break,

    he was probably too busy taking a bath in the sink.

  24. elswat says:

    NO!! That’s my Quiznos…first my best buy is caught selling bricks instead of hard drives, now my Quiznos is a dirty buggy mess. Thanks again consumerist for making me see the dirty underside that is my otherwise beautiful part of north central NJ…oh well.

  25. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I’m impressed… They have a cleaning cloth… and a bug zapper… Wow… insert surprise look here!

  26. The_Atomic_Pod says:

    I realize this is OT, but does anyone else get as disgusted as I do when people say they did something with their iphone?

    Since the vast majority of phones on the market today have cameras in them, is it really necessary to specify which one?

    Anyway, since I don’t want to threadshit, I’ll say that that seems to be some sort of utility bin, so whatever that rag is for, I doubt it’s touching food.

  27. mariospants says:

    What do you expect when you pay minimum wage for your employees? Actually, I take that back: it doesn’t matter what you pay but people are pigs and when it comes to serving food or safety for someone else, they’re even bigger pigs.

    I’ll never forget the time I went to a dentist (of all people) recommended to me and the guy went ahead and put on rubber gloves (so far, so good) but then proceeded to handle his coffe mug, dirty tools, handles, a phone and other surfaces before he started proceeded to come after my mouth. I got up and left before he had the chance.

  28. xwildebeestx says:

    This is easily the least disgusting thing happening in New Jersey right now.

  29. HogwartsAlum says:

    So gross.

    When I worked at a sandwich/soup cafe in California, we washed the rags every morning in the industrial dishwasher, with tons of bleach poured over them. And they went right back into the dirty rag bucket after being used once. I had to squirt the sprouts off them with the sink hose before I washed them. Those little suckers stuck fast.

    Needless to say, they didn’t last long. Also, I love Quiznos.

  30. theblackdog says:

    That store’s employees will be getting a re-training very quickly if corporate sees that.

  31. LVP says:

    That blue light you see in some food establishments. Thats not for ambience, it’s a bug zapper.

  32. theBIG says:

    All the Quiznos around here that I have been to seem to be owned by someone who is trying to scrape by with the bare minimum. Every time I go in it seems that just the owner and one employee are there and the owner is watching things like a hawk just to make sure that no “extra” money is being used – one shop didnt even have their air conditioner on and it was 100 degrees outside! We said something and she said she would turn it on, but never did. Add to that the fact that things just seem dirty and unkempt and Its not my favorite place to eat.

    To add – I have worked in 4 restaurants, one being fast food and we would never have the place looking of smelling like that.

  33. StevieQ says:

    I have only gone there once. A friend raved about it and dragged me along. When I saw him “heat” the sandwich meat by dunking it in hot “water”, which was obviously used over and over, I almost threw up. Never again.

    At least Subway sticks stuff in an oven to heat it.

  34. AllenK says:

    Well, you could wrap a Quizno’s sub in that dirty rag and I would still take it over Subway.

    I’ve been to tons of Quizno’s,and I’ve never had a bad experience with the food or with employees. Well,I did figure out that their honey mustard gives me the squirts,but everything else has been fine.

    Quizno’s is easily my favorite chain restaurant.

  35. disneyninja says:

    Luckily there are plenty of other Sub places to go…oh how I miss Jimmy Johns…

    My problem with chains like Quiznos is that the “standards” they have might be fine, but from store to store they may or may not hold to them.

  36. Decaye says:

    That’s gross, but I’ve had nothing but good experiences at Quiznos. I’ve eaten at 7-8 different ones in 3 different states, and they’ve all been tasty, and at least reasonably well kept. Nothing like JJ, but I worked at JJ, and JJ corporate is insane. We got yelled -yelled- at for not cleaning well enough on the bottom of the prep tables, and the bottom of the railing in the lobby.

  37. pdxdon says:

    I have left two different Quiznos stores because I saw something totally unsanitary going down. I’ll never go there again.. something is systematically wrong with the franchise.

  38. matttt says:

    Kinda gross…I’ve eaten at this particular location a few times. I’m not too shaken up over it but I’ll keep a closer eye on my food while it is being prepared should I decide to return.