As a competitor to Subway, Jersey Mike’s Subs offers fresh sub sandwiches and a selection of chips.
With an emphasis on Northeast American subs, you can find their subs loaded with meat and other ingredients.
However, with prices starting at $5 and increasing to $50, you may wonder what it is about the sandwich store that makes it expensive.
Here are 10 reasons Jersey Mike’s Subs is expensive.
Why Is Jersey Mike’s So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Fresh Bread
One of the reasons Jersey Mike’s is expensive has to do with the fact that they make their bread fresh each day.
The shop is aware that several other sandwich shops promise fresh food.
To make their food stand out, their ingredients have to actually be fresh.
This usually means they need to have all the ingredients on hand to make fresh bread each day.
Not only does this mean they need to have a steady supply of ingredients, but they also need time to make it.
If they find themselves running out of bread, they need to make more.
This makes the shop expensive because they need to invest in those ingredients and lose out on that time.
In terms of ingredients, the good news is that ingredients to make bread aren’t that expensive normally.
Fluctuations in the market can add an expense to it, but in normal market conditions, they’re relatively cheap.
That said, the shop has to order them in bulk which makes it a bit more expensive.
Since they make their bread fresh every day, they also likely import fresh ingredients as often as they can.
That’s more expensive than having pre-made bread which they freeze and then thaw when they need to use it.
In regards to time, making bread can take a while.
Since they’re unable to do business in the meantime, they’re losing out on money.
If they had frozen bread, all they’d need to do is thaw it, immediately open the store and start generating a profit.
This forces Jersey Mike’s to have slightly higher prices.
It enables them to invest in high-quality ingredients to make their bread each day.
It also gives them the time they need in which to make the bread without worrying too much about missing out on sales.
Jersey Mike’s is expensive because it makes its bread fresh each day.
2. Grain Prices
Since Jersey Mike’s is a sandwich store, one of their biggest expenses is grains.
They can’t make bread without them.
Since Jersey Mike’s only serves traditional white and whole wheat bread, they tend to lean towards premium-quality bread.
In most cases, grain is cheap, and buying premium-quality grain to make their bread isn’t a problem.
However, in recent years, grain farmers have been facing a lot of problems.
This has impacted the price of grain which has also impacted the price of the sandwiches at Jersey Mike’s.
In particular, grain farmers are having problems with wildfires and drought.
Wildfires have destroyed some farms.
However, it’s the lingering smoke that has done the most damage.
Even farmers who weren’t threatened by the fire are facing problems with the residual smoke left behind.
Smoke is made up of a dense gas that hangs heavy in the air.
Because it’s dense, it blocks out light and steals oxygen from the air.
Plant life will begin to wither if it’s exposed to smoke for too long.
For one, plants need oxygen like almost everything else.
Also, when the smoke blocks out the sun, the grains are no longer able to get their UV light.
They rely on that to make energy for growth.
Without it, they wither and die.
Due to the smoke, grain farmers have had their farms either perish or lose their quality.
Drought is also impacting grain farmers.
With many of the areas in which grain grows experiencing record drought levels, farmers have to import water to feed their grains.
This is an expensive thing to do since water is expensive and transporting water is even more expensive.
Since farmers have to take on more expenses to grow their grains, they also sell them at higher prices.
That means stores that need grain, like Jersey Mike’s, has to pay higher prices.
To cover their costs, they have to raise prices, too.
3. Slicing Meat
One step that Jersey Mike’s does that not all sandwich shops do is slicing the meat in front of you.
Most sandwich shops slice the meat in the back.
In most cases, the meat even comes already sliced.
This is a problem because the quality of the meat decreases.
After you slice meat, it is exposed to air.
This can dry the meat out which results in less flavor and an unpleasant texture.
When a Jersey Mike’s sandwich maker slices the meat in front of you, it’s fresh and maintains the moisture that meat needs to taste great.
Another benefit of freshly-sliced meat is that it’s less processed.
This meat is essentially fresher.
At the very least, it’s fresher than pre-packaged and sliced meat.
Since it’s fresh, it hasn’t needed to go through massive amounts of processing.
In particular, it doesn’t have tons of preservatives pumped into it.
As such, it’s meat that has a low number of chemicals in it.
While there are clear benefits of having meat cut in front of you, it also means you’re paying more for the meat.
That’s because Jersey Mike’s pays more for the meat to come whole rather than pre-packaged.
Whole meat may not have undergone as much processing as pre-packaged meat, but it’s more expensive.
That’s because it isn’t as mass-produced as pre-packaged meat.
Since they pay more for the meat, Jersey Mike’s is more expensive.
There’s also the time factor.
Since the shop takes the time to slice the meat in front of you, it means they have a little less time to help each customer.
They might lose some business as a result.
To cover those losses, they have slightly raised prices.
4. Quality Of Meat
Perhaps one of the biggest factors that make Jersey Mike’s expensive is its quality of meat.
When it comes to meat in sandwiches, the Northeastern part of the United States takes it seriously.
Low-quality meat won’t do.
This is where Jersey Mike’s tends to outpace its competitors.
They focus on using high-quality meat.
In particular, they use USDA Grade A Choice Meat.
Top-quality meat is Prime, according to the USDA.
Choice is mid-tier meat.
It’s still more expensive than Select meat, but it doesn’t have quite as much marbling as Prime.
Marbling is important because it makes the meat tender and flavorful.
Since Choice meat has some marbling in it, you can expect quite flavorful meat.
A lot of fast-food restaurants tend to use Select meat.
It’s the cheapest option which allows them to sell their food at cheap prices while still making a profit.
Since Jersey Mike’s relies on using Choice meat, they’re taking on higher costs.
However, it’s usually a difference that you can see and taste.
For one, the meat looks better.
It has more color to it.
It’s sometimes a bit thicker.
Where it really shines, however, is the flavor.
While Jersey Mike’s already boosts its subs with their signature mix of vinegar and olive oil, this only enhances the natural flavor of the meat.
The shop knows that its customers remain loyal because of the superior meat that they serve.
That said, it does require them to take on more operational costs.
They have to spend more to keep that loyalty.
Since they spend more money on their meat, they have higher prices.
5. Beef Costs
One of the expenses that Jersey Mike’s has to deal with is the price of beef.
Since many of their subs contain beef, their profit margin usually depends on the price of beef.
When beef costs are high, their profit margins start to narrow.
To maintain the kind of profit that the store needs to stay open, they have had to raise prices.
The problem with beef costs in the past few years, and likely in the next few years, is that they’ve been high.
There are a few factors influencing the price of beef.
The first is the lack of beef cows.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ranchers found themselves with more beef cows than they could afford.
Restaurants had closed down due to lockdowns.
Without restaurants to buy their meat, ranchers only had grocery stores to sell to.
This meant ranchers had a lot more beef than they could sell.
To keep their costs low, ranchers had to cull their herds.
While this helped them survive in the short term, it impacted beef costs in the long term.
As restaurants opened back up, there was a sudden demand for beef.
The problem was that there weren’t enough beef cows to satisfy demand.
Ranchers had to breed their cows again to replenish their numbers.
The problem with that is that it takes time to replenish a herd.
Meanwhile, the demand for beef hasn’t gone down.
This has caused beef prices to skyrocket.
Since Jersey Mike’s needs beef, it ends up paying that high price.
Their prices are even higher since they use a higher quality of beef.
This type of beef is even scarcer and in shorter supply.
Since they’re taking on such high operational costs, they have to have high prices to cover those losses.
6. Pig Costs
Beef isn’t the only type of meat currently facing high prices.
Pork is also expensive.
Jersey Mike’s also uses Choice pork to make their ham sandwiches and pulled-pork sandwiches.
Pork has some of the same reasons that beef does for being expensive.
Like cattle ranchers, pig farmers also had to cull their stock to save on costs.
While it’s easier for pigs to rebound as opposed to cattle since they can birth more than one piglet, it still created a shortage.
The two primary pressures increasing pig meat prices are the problems with agriculture.
Ranchers often feed grains to their pigs to help them fatten up and maintain a healthy diet.
With grain prices on the rise, ranchers find themselves having to pay more to get that grain.
Since it costs them more to feed their pigs, they also sell their meat at higher prices.
Another problem is the drought.
The drought is affecting ranchers in two ways.
The first is that it impacts how much grass and roots there are for the pigs to eat.
The second is that it means there isn’t much water for the pigs to drink.
Ranchers have to take on more grain costs to keep their pigs fed since they can’t rely on their usual food.
They also have to spend money to bring water to their pigs so they can survive.
Both of these add high operational costs to the rancher who then needs to sell their pig meat at higher prices to cover their losses.
Jersey Mike’s then has to pay those higher prices to get the meat they need to serve their customers.
As a result, they have to sell at higher prices, too.
7. Franchise Operating Costs
Jersey Mike’s has a unique way to support those who want to start a new shop.
Unlike other chains which place all the financial hardships on the store owner, Jersey Mike’s actually helps take some of the financial burdens off of them.
To start a Jersey Mike’s shop, the owner has to travel to the corporate headquarters.
At the headquarters, they’ll meet with the CEO and owner of the Jersey Mike’s brand, Peter Cancro.
Cancro will essentially put them through a week’s worth of training.
During that training, the owner will learn how to make the store’s sandwiches, how to run the business, and what it means to be a Jersey Mike’s franchise.
Not only does it give the new owner a chance to start on the right foot, but it also introduces them to the corporate culture of Jersey Mike’s.
Once the owner’s training is complete, the corporation also helps get it started.
They’ll send a contractor to the area who can help the owner make the necessary changes to bring the store to life.
They also pay for some of the inventory and other expenses to get the store up and running.
The corporation wants to ensure that the only worries that the owner has to start are finding help and getting subs out to the customers.
Removing many of the financial hurdles facing owners also allows more stores to open, which means more profit for the corporation.
That said, it takes a lot of money to open up a shop.
Since this is something the corporation handles rather than relying on each owner to fund themselves entirely, they need profit to fund that sort of venture.
They get those funds from their profits.
To get that amount of profits, they need to sell their food at higher prices.
Jersey Mike’s is expensive because the corporate headquarters uses its profits to help new store owners get started opening more shops.
One of the biggest perks of eating at Jersey Mike’s is your ability to customize your sandwich.
While the store sells subs of their own making, you can also ask for a specific sub made to order.
They’ve even tried to make this process easier for you.
Mike’s Way, for example, is any sub that has all the trappings of a usual sub.
It has their signature juice of red wine vinegar and an olive oil blend, lettuce, tomato, onions, oregano, and salt.
This combination can be added to any sub on the menu.
This is a quick way to get a custom sub while still enjoying the ingredients and attributes that make a Jersey Mike’s sub a signature Jersey Mike’s sub.
That said, you can also fully customize a sandwich from the start.
This makes the shop more expensive because it means they sometimes end up using more ingredients than they expected in a single day.
It also requires the workers to spend a little more time on your sub.
That means a little less time serving other customers and bringing in more sales.
Finally, there’s also the fact that when you customize a sandwich, you might end up choosing the most expensive ingredients for your sandwich.
If you’re ordering a sandwich that’s filled with expensive meat and produce, you can expect the price to be high.
9. Charity Work
Jersey Mike’s has a long history of giving back to the community.
They’re involved with several different charity organizations.
One of those includes bringing together dogs and military veterans suffering from PTSD or other disabilities brought on through their service.
They also participate in local charities.
This makes the business expensive because it means they give out a portion of their revenue to these charities every year.
Any time a business regularly gives funds to charity, they usually have high prices.
That’s because their customers are essentially supporting these charities, too, by paying the higher prices for their food.
10. Local Produce
A final reason Jersey Mike’s is expensive is that they get their produce from local farmers.
Unlike other restaurants which import food from cheap labor or have their own farms to bring down costs, Jersey Mike’s supports local farmers.
Since they choose a more expensive approach to doing business, they have to cover their expenses with higher prices.
This also means that if the local farmers face problems with their produce, it could impact their prices.
Any time they have expensive produce for sale, Jersey Mike’s is going to have to charge higher prices to cover their own expenses.
Jersey Mike’s has a reputation for fresh sandwiches at slightly higher prices than other sandwich shops.
Food costs are one of the biggest reasons Jersey Mike’s has high prices.
However, with those high prices, you’re supporting charities and local farmers as well.