Fast Food Advertising Vs. Reality: Quiznos Baja Chicken Sandwich

Sarah writes that her recent experience at Quiznos was bad enough that she doesn’t plan to ever return. Looking at the pictures she sent in and the description of what happened, we can see why. She was served something that sort of resembled a Baja Chicken sandwich, but wasn’t much like it at all.

I went to Quiznos in [redacted] today for lunch and ordered the Baja Chicken sandwich. Now I’m not stupid and I understand that what you see is never what you get but is it really to much to ask that it at least be in the general vicinity?

The listed ingridents for the Baja Chicken sandwich are Chicken, bacon, cheddar, red onions, Mild Chipotle Mayo, Sweet & Smoky Baja Sauce.

What I ordered:

What I got:


As you can see from my picture they decided to swap out the red onions and the Baja sauce for lettuce. There are so many things different between the menu picture and what I paid for its ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that they made my husband the wrong sandwich entirely and the place was so smoky from burning sandwiches in the toaster that it made my eyes burn.

This was by far the worst visit to Quiznos I have ever had. I didn’t bring this all up to anyone there and I probably won’t, I have already made up my mind to not go there again.

Sarah, it’s a really good idea to bring all of this up to someone, even if it’s just sending this same e-mail that you sent to Consumerist to Quizno’s corporate or the franchise owner. Something is terrible wrong at this store, and if it’s going to be fixed, customers never returning without saying why won’t be the reason. Complain.


Edit Your Comment

  1. full.tang.halo says:

    Where the hell is the chicken in her picture? I see something that looks like fast food bacon, and lettuce, but other than that…ew

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yeah that looks like something that might have been regurgitated.

      • BigHeadEd says: those creepy Quiznos cats from the commercials.

        • Bremma says:

          Ugh I hate that new commerical. They’re trying to do the off key oddness of the Spongemonkey’s again, and just making it obnoxious. At least the spongmonkeys were odd enough to offset the offkey singing.

          • koalabare says:

            Turns out is is spongmonkey (no e). Just in case anyone else is going to google them.

          • humperdinck says:

            And they love the moon.

          • YOXIM says:

            Is that what those fucking things were? I thought those were rats or hamsters or something. I was like “Hmmm, that’s an odd choice in advertising. Using rats to advertise food. IT’S BRILLIANT!!!”. I’ve never been to a Quizno’s before or since, but I used to love those commercials. They were awesome.

  2. ubermex says:

    My quiznos is pretty good. That sounds like an awful experience. I would definitely complain.

    • Mighty914 says:

      Yeah, mine is pretty good too…this seems more specific to wherever OP ordered that, not necessarily Quizno’s as a whole.

  3. TuxthePenguin says:

    Did they serve it to her open faced? We’re not even comparing apples and apples here. Of course an open-faced sandwhich is going to look different to even realistic picture of it served closed.

    That and don’t people realize now that the picture is going to look nothing like the actual food product? Those pictures are prepared carefully and even adjusted to make it look appealing. Some of them aren’t even cooked (Whole Turkeys are famously just blowtorched to brown without having to cook the entire thing).

    Next are we going to see a Consumerist expose on how Victoria Secret models make the lingerie look so much better than normal women wearing them? Or all female models for that matter? I’d like a real, long, in-depth expose on that… hundreds of examples, preferably with the better looking “normal” women wearing the lingerie for comparison.

    • Dutchess says:

      Are you kidding? Closed, that sandwich would look like nothing but a big toasted roll.

      The ingredients are so paultry it’s ridiculous.

    • kricka says:

      Did you even read the piece? She said she never expects the food to look like the pictures. Reading is fundamental.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Well the bras actually look like the bras advertised.

    • GTB says:

      Corporate PR spotted.

      Or just a jerk I guess.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Wow, some people really, really can’t tell a joke, can they? I was trying to be humorous…

      • syzygy says:

        No, you’re just the victim of the Consumerist’s version of Poe’s Law.

      • Conformist138 says:

        You’re not coming across as humorous. If in doubt, use “/sarcasm” to make sure people “get it”.

        Or try more dramatic language. Text can be tough for communicating tone.

        As it stands, you sound like an OP-blaming obnoxious troll as opposed to the witty satirist I think you were aiming for.

    • SGT. E. G. ROCK says:

      * Then you eat it…
      That sandwich looks like ‘SOS’
      and to say they served it “open faced” ?
      If you were trying to be funny, don’t quit your day job….
      .. AND your comment shows no common sense.

    • ChicagoDrew says:

      I don’t know why people are knocking your comment since you are correct with everything stated. Let’s be fair here- the customer SHOULD have kept the sandwich closed and taken the photo (regardless of the ingredient screw-up issues). Sure, the sandwich isn’t how it should be, but I can personally assure everyone it’s not corporate sabotage or a personal vendetta; it’s just an employee who can’t make a sandwich correctly.

  4. Blueberry Scone says:

    That looks really unappealing.

    I understand that food portrayed in the ads versus what you actually get in the restaurant can be pretty different. But this doesn’t even look like anything advertised – it looks like it’s been dropped off the roof a building.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Heck, it looks like she has already eaten and half-digested it. That is completely unrecognizable as a food product; even the “bread” might be a sponge

    • RyGuy1152 says:

      These pictures actually made me laugh out loud. The second one looks like it came out of the freezer and was heated in the microwave. Soggy lettuce, burnt bread, mystery sauce…and this sandwich probably costs $7.00.

  5. Spöönmann says:

    Poor Sarah, the Quiznos by my work is about the only fast food place that I frequent that actually serves food that resembles the picture on the menu. From the description in the article, it sounds like this store has some serious issues.

  6. Jfielder says:

    Dear God, what is that THING?!

  7. Melt says:

    Thought this was a good campaign by Dominos to fight this sort of issue:

  8. Winteridge2 says:

    WHY would you even go to a quizno or taco bell for a sandwich? A mexican sandwich? Mexicans just cannot do an edible sandwich. Other than their chili, forget it. Hard tacos: they explode when you bite them! Hot peppers: they will torture your digestive system for days. Even a mickydee is preferable. Forget Mex.

    • c_c says:

      I take it you’ve never been to a real taqueria … torta’s are among the tastiest sandwiches!
      Chili is not even Mexican, and real tacos come fresh made soft corn tortillas, not hard shells…

      • GreyGlove says:

        Thank you “cc82”. I was thinking the same thing when I read the comment by “Winteridge2”. How ignorant and narrow-minded can we be? Any good taquería will make a torta that will make your mouth water for days afterward, especially when washed down with some ice cold horchata. Hard shell tacos are not authentic Mexican food so take those complaints to Taco Bell. Way to go “cc82”. “Winteridge2” go find a taqueria (and support small business) and open your mind before you open your mouth!

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        *drool* I would love to eat a carnitas torta right now.

    • mowz says:

      1) What does you bashing Mexican cuisine have to do with the OP’s topic?

      2) You’ve obviously never had good (even decent) Mexican fare. Let me know when you’re in the Chicago area and I’ll make you eat your words.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Taco Bell isn’t real Mexican food.

    • someToast says:

      Quizno’s is Mexican? Well, the things you learn!

    • shenaniganz08 says:

      wow never heard of a torta = ignorant fail

    • Spaceboss says:


      If you’re eating at a McDonald’s below the Mason-Dixon line, your sandwiches are probably being made by Mexicans. Also your Chinese food, your sushi, your Italian food, your Michelin-starred French dinner… There are a lot of things wrong with this post, but that’s the one that galls me. Without Mexicans (and Puerto Ricans in the Northeast), I’m pretty sure the U.S. restaurant industry would crumble. They can make some damn fine sandwiches.

  9. John B says:

    “Now I’m not stupid and I understand that what you see is never what you get”

    Actually – why not? Don’t you have a Sale of Goods over there that defines that the product advertised is the one you’ll get (unless you make a disclaimer)

    As in “This product was created by food stylists using all the tricks of the trade and photographed by a professional photographer under ideal conditioons. The product you’ll be served is prepared by an unskilled, low paid worker who doesn’t give a shit. Neither do we, for that matter…”

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      I think consumers should have a reasonable expectation of what their food will look like when ordering from a restaurant. If you order from a fast food place – especially during a lunch rush – the food won’t look like an advertisement.

      But the picture above just looks unappealing, like they fished the ingredients out of the wastebin and slopped it on the bread.

      • John B says:

        The only restaurants I go to where there’s a replica of the food I’m ordering are Japanese restaurants. In Japan. Otherwise, the menus DESCRIBE the food, but they don’t have PICTURES…..

  10. sliverworm says:

    at least the bread kinda matched

  11. smashedpotats says:

    That does not even look like something from Quiznos. Wow, I have never had that problem at my local one.

    Although the Baja Chicken does look awesome, and I will get one tonight!

  12. Osagasu says:

    Quiznos usually does pretty good with orders. Granted, they’re always smaller than the ads but not by much.

    It sounds like a problem with this specific Quiznos.

    In addition, I would like to offer a word of advice: In any food place that prepares food in front of you, always keep an eye on them making it, to prevent things like this.

    • Southern says:

      I think I’m going to print out a picture of the sandwich, go to Quizno’s, and ask them to make me one — and if it doesn’t look like it does in the picture, I’m not buying it.

      Maybe we should start forcing these restaurants to live up to their advertising.

      If Best Buy advertises a laptop with a certain configuration of CPU, Hard Drive, Memory, etc., we expect THAT laptop at the advertised price, right? Why should a sandwich be any different?

      Maybe if they have to start living up to their advertising, we’ll start seeing truthful commercials – like the Dominos one that Melt posted.

  13. jrwn says:

    This is why I close my eyes when eating. It tastes better then it looks.

  14. El-Brucio says:

    When Quiznos first arrived in my town years ago, they were awesome and a billion times better than subway. As time has gone on however, they’ve pretty much dropped down to the same level, which is kind of disappointing.

    I haven’t had a sandwich as bad as the op’s …. but when I had one last year, it was pretty bad.

    • ATXag says:

      I completely agree with this. Quiznos used to be light years ahead of Subway and it was my go-to sandwich place. I can’t stand Subway because their sandwiches are nothing but bread and lettuce. But Quiznos has really gone downhill over the last few years. Their portion sizes have gone down considerably. I used to get a small and would be full. Now I’m having to get regulars. They’ve changed things up on the menu. The Baja Chicken actually used to have cilantro on it and they’ve eliminated that. The turkey bacon guacamole used to have real strips of bacon now it’s a few pieces of crumbled “bacon”. They never have enough people working the lunch rush and those that are working can’t comprehend what you say because they are too stoned. I rarely go there now.

  15. octowussy says:

    Did this person bother to bring their complaints to the employees or did they just passive-aggressively snap a picture so they could complain later on the Internet?

    • Conformist138 says:

      Hahaha! No, she didn’t say anything, as she clearly admitted. Did you read the article, or just get snarky in the comments?

  16. zandar says:

    I usually think the fast food ad vs. reality outrage is unjustified- I mean, come on, it’s FAST FOOD- but I have to agree, this isn’t even up to the level of a consolation sandwich you’d suck it up and eat just because you have no choice and you’re hungry.

    How this happened is a bit of mystery, though, because don’t you stand there watching them make it? I would have asked as soon as it made it out of the toaster “Where’s the damn chicken?”

  17. Dallas_shopper says:

    Most of the sandwich joints around here have illegals working there who don’t habla ingles and can’t read the instructions for making the sandwiches anyway. You pretty much have to tell them in Spanish what’s supposed to be in there and keep saying “Mas (fill in name of ingredient)” because they will take a tiny pinch of it each time.

    But that’s just around here. YMMV.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Did you ask them all for their greencards or visas? How do you know they are here illegally?

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Spend enough time around here and you learn the signs. If someone appears to be mainly of Amerindian extraction, is much shorter than average (evidence of malnutrition), is missing teeth or appears to never have had dental work done (poverty, malnutrition), and cannot speak English…odds are excellent.

        Plus if you can speak Spanish, it becomes even more obvious. They have a certain way of speaking that you won’t pick up on if you don’t understand the language.

  18. cmdr.sass says:

    I’m not sure why people are insisting she complain about it. What good would that do? Voting with your feet and never going back is the only thing that will have any effect. Don’t go back to a restaurant that can’t do a good job every time. There are enough restaurants around that it’s never worth chancing a second bad meal.

    • nbs2 says:

      Because without complaining, they can’t identify their point of failure. If my bass says that my quality of work has dropped, but has never mentioned any dissatisfaction, how am I going to do things “right”? Or, getting back on topic, how is the franchise owner going to ID a slacker EE who needs retraining/firing? If all that happens is clients walking away, he isn’t going to be able to fix a fixable problem.

      After the complaint, I would give a trustworthy response one more chance – then walk away.

      • cmdr.sass says:

        It is not her responsibility to QA their work. A restaurant owner who is not paying enough attention to the quality of the food being prepared deserves to lose the business.

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          Feedback is always helpful. Yeah, some people don’t like to be helpful if they don’t “have to”. That’s hardly news.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      She needs to complain to corporate so they know what’s going on in that store.

  19. drjayphd says:

    If the market for Quizno’s is anything like it is around me, I wouldn’t worry too much; with that kind of service, I wouldn’t be sure that they haven’t closed down RIGHT NOW. I’ve seen better Quizno’s stores go tits-up en masse.

    Just looked on their site, and the two closest locations to my new job are Southington and Hartford… which obviously are nowhere near one another. Meanwhile, Connecticut’s strewn with the empty husks of former locations. Perhaps they should be a little pickier when it comes to franchisees… starting with this location.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      “Perhaps they should be a little pickier when it comes to franchisees… starting with this location.”

      That’s so true of so many restaurants. I’ve always wanted to own a Culver’s franchise (butter burgers and custard – yum!). Here are some of Culver’s requirements for potential franchisees:

      A”s the operating partner, you will attend our 16-week training program, which involves 12 weeks of intermittent classroom and on-the-job training at a family-owned Culver’s in Wisconsin. An additional four weeks of training is spent assisting with new restaurant openings at two different locations determined by us.”

      Sixteen weeks? Classroom training and on-the-job training (which I imagine includes learning how to make their burgers, cook the fries, make the custard, etc.)? Wow.

  20. El Cainos says:

    I disagree with your statement that she should complain.

    Her responsibility ended with the exchange of a money for a sandwich. Maybe she should complain to get her money back, but it’s up to the company to be aware of how they are performing. It’s not hers to tell them. Would they return the favor? Track her down and refund her money for something they did wrong? I expect not.

  21. gopena says:

    I’ve always found that the advertising representations of quiznos’ sandwiches looked pretty disgusting. Like slimy or greasy or something, so that’s kept me from ever getting anything from there. I’ll stick to Firehouse for hot subs, thanks.

  22. andrewe says:

    Well Sarah, it looks like you got a bum sandwich. I’m not exactly sure why you’re telling us about it without ever having mentioned your complaint to the people who can do something bout it. Why not contact the Quiznos shift manager, store manager, store owner, or corporate headquarters? If I remember correctly there are even customer comment cards and contact information placed around most Quiznos stores.

    Telling the internet that [redacted] store served you a lousy sandwich is not going to help you or us out at all.

    P.S. That sandwich looks like crap and even the lowest person on the totem pole at your store should know that.

  23. HogwartsProfessor says:

    That sounds like a store problem. I’ve never had that happen at a Quiznos before; the one I sometimes go to is pretty good. I hate lettuce on a sandwich with a passion, too, and if I got a substitution without being asked they’d have to remake it. Check your sammishes before you leave to be sure.

    • magus_melchior says:

      Alternatively, keep a discreet eye on the sandwich as they prepare it– as they do in fact prep the sandwiches in the open like Subway’s.

  24. Nick says:

    Never been, never will.

  25. The Seeker says:

    Anyone who expects any processed food item to look like the “ad version” is dreaming. The ad versions are rarely even the product that is being sold. They are the equivalent of photo shopped “cover girls.”

    That being said, that sandwich purchased looks like someone with the palsy shakes was dispensing the ingredients…with most of them falling on the floor.

  26. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    That sandwich looks really nasty. I would definitely complain about that.

  27. Blious says:

    If people are expecting the exact same sandwich, they are going to be in for a surprise time and time again. It just won’t happen.

    I do think though that these companies can at least try and make their sandwiches a bit better

  28. sarah.02 says:

    I am the submitter of this email and I just wanted to address some of the comments. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t see the point. I was on my lunch break and I had already waited 15 minutes for my sandwiches and they were starting to get pretty busy so i knew i would have a wait and then I probably wouldn’t be able to even eat my lunch, scary looking or not. Also I didn’t see any managers there the only employees i saw were just regular crew members or whatever Quiznos calls them. True I could have waited and complained but i was strapped for time and starved. I do think i will send this to Quiznos headquarters though. Oh and no they didnt serve it open faced, when i took it out of the bag they serve them in now and set it on a napkin it just kinda flopped open like it was doing a dying act so that’s when i took the picture.

  29. chefboyardee says:

    Welcome to the real world, where advertisements are faked and generally NOT FOOD. Isn’t there one of these covered like every other week? If you want your food to look and taste good, stop getting fast food, for christs sake.

  30. human_shield says:

    They put lettuce on it because they put lettuce on everything. They love lettuce. Every time I go, no matter what location, I ask for no lettuce, and as soon as it goes through the oven someone slides it out and tries to throw a big handful of lettuce on it, no questions asked, EVERY TIME! I have to stand at the other side and guard my sandwich and cry out NO LETTUCE! before my precious sandwich is ruined. Yes I’m crazy but they are obsessed with lettuce.

  31. amcfarla says:

    I agree with the consumerist comment, let corporate know so that they can address this store that is destroying their company image.

  32. flyairdave says:

    Subway does the same thing. Their ads show piles of meat on the sandwich. In reality, you usually get two thin slices of meat, if you are lucky. Sent Subway an e-mail saying their ads do not match reality. I was told I was wrong and what you get in their stores is exacctly what you see in their ads. #FAIL

  33. vicarp says:

    I think they went through a period of just handing out Quizno’s franchises to anyone, and some of them just aren’t up to par.

  34. BrooklynKnight says:

    Quiznos used to be really awesome. I think the majority of the problems lies in the individual franchisee. Quizno’s needs to do better quality control in the businesses it sells its name and food too.

  35. spazztastic says:

    I don’t do Quiznos because their commercials annoy me greatly.

  36. Saltpork says:

    Looks like something I’d feed my dog.

  37. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    The Quiznos in our area closed, too. When it first opened, we ordered lunch at work a few times, and the quality got progressively worse and the sandwiches were very small compared to what you paid for them. Once I paid nearly $7 for a cheese steak sandwich, and got something quite a bit smaller than a Subway 6″ sub. The salads were good, but it looked like they may have been pre-made somewhere else.

    I think they were open for a few months, tops. And that was next door to a college.

  38. sopmodm14 says:

    there was another consumerist thread about it

    fast food chain or not, its sort of deceptive and not what a paying customer should get

    most sub places prep the food in front of you, and i’d at least ask them to fix up the one they made….not make an entirely new one, thats unreasonable… at least sort of resemble what was advertised.

    don’t u see the sub before you purchase it ? if it didn’t look close to what was pictured, i’d ask for them to fix it up, maybe a few extra toppings or something, and if they refused, i’d decline the sandwich and service and transaction.

  39. Sardis says:

    My last trip to quiznos was a few years back. A customer asked for hers to be lightly toasted, and the employee said, “we cant control how they come out.” Figured I would take my money elsewhere.

  40. italianbaby says:

    quizno’s is the stingiest when it comes to their meats. i have watched them the make sandwiches and it’s 3 slices of salami and loads of fillers like shredded lettuce.
    it’s all bread and hardly any meats. and their sandwiches are very expensive for what you get.
    i no longer go there for that reason.
    i complained once on deaf ears to the foreign owners.
    so i called corporate and they took care of the situation. at the same time, they told me that particular store get lot’s of complaints for the same reason that i called. the sandwich is mostly lettuce!
    they corporate told me to go to a corporate store rather than a franchised own store. go figure…

  41. VouxCroux says:

    1) You opened up the sandwich when the ad was not opened. 2) You can ask for what you want on your sandwich, so if you didn’t get onions, it’s YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT!! 3) How did it taste? Did you like it? If so, THEN WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT???

    • sarah.02 says:

      You are absolutely right what was I thinking! Of course the sandwich must look the same opened! How stupid of me! Thank you soo much for your awesome insight! I also never thought that I had to ASK for the ingredients offered on the sandwich! Thank you sooo much you’re an angel!

    • sipsake says:

      She didn’t order the sandwich from you. She didn’t blame you for the poor quality. She didn’t insist that you pay for it. What the hell are YOU complaining about?

  42. The Cybernetic Entomologist says:

    The Baja is one of my Quizno’s faves, and I get them frequently (in fact, I had one for lunch today!). While they don’t look like the ones in the picture, they also typically don’t look like the disaster pictured. Someone badly pooched the build on that one and this should be brought to the attention of the franchise owner (the feedback form on Quizno’s website actually does go to the franchisee, and pretty quickly), as this does not meet quality standards.

    When Q dropped the fresh cilantro on the Baja about a year ago, I complained to corporate (they’d replaced the fresh herb with a powdered dry version… NOT THE SAME THING!). They helpfully forwarded it on the the franchise owner (who pulled the powder within a day because he’s a Baja Chicken fan himself). To this day he still has fresh cilantro for the Baja.

    (By the way, you should also try the Baja with a few jalapenos and some Cholula on it. It’s amazing)

  43. jcargill says:

    Looks like a raccoon vomited onto a stale baguette.

  44. pegasi says:

    When you order a sandwich that’s “themed” it should contain the “theme” ingredients at a minimum, plus any additional requested items the person ordering it wants. If the person asks that an item in the “theme” be omitted because of allergy, or stomach issue, etc, that’s the person’s preference.

    A “standard” “themed” sandwich with no customization, which is what the OP wanted… should have had onions, and should NOT have had lettuce! I don’t care how much time it takes, the second someone picked up lettuce I hadn’t asked for, they’d have started over on a new sandwich…. and I’d have had a free drink to go with it.

    I prefer Subway, but I ALWAYS watch every second of the sandwich-making, and will speak up the instant a bit of non-requested ingredient slips into my sandwich, which has happened before, by accident, I’m sure, but I wanted it promptly noticed and removed, before it got to me! I’ve noticed that if they see you watching them with eagle eyes, they’re much better about how they handle your food.

  45. Sublover says:

    The employee at my local quiznos told me the owners buy their meat at the local supermarket because quiznos meat is too expensive. Why eat there then? I can shop at the market myself. Have not been back.

  46. Miracleman says:

    You won’t catch me complaining about my fast food to the folks at the counter. They’ll insist on making me another and I don’t want to contemplate the “special” ingredients that one would have on it….

  47. ronnysagle says:

    I am about to get lunch at Subway as i have done for years in Oberlin Ohio. Several years back a Quiznos opened down the street. The picture of the sandwich was inviting and the price competitive. I order the sandwich and it was nothing like the one in the picture. In order to get anywhere near the picture I would have had to add another two dollars. I said no thanks and walked out without the sandwich that was already made. Never went back. Quiznos in Oberlin closed about a year ago.

  48. Sublover says:

    When i told a quiznos employee my sandwich tasted funny, not like when previous owner ran store, she told me the new owner buys the meat at local supermarket because quiznos meat is too expensive. Haven’t been back since.