Firehouse Subs vs Subway

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I’ve both eaten and worked at Firehouse and Subway, so I thought it would be right to do a comparison to see which is better. The one that has the best sandwiches is left up to you to decide, but I will provide the statistics here for you to make that decision.

From my own personal experience, when it comes to taste, Firehouse Subs is better than Subway. Their subs are centered around producing the best tasting subs possible. However, Subway is focused on providing fresh ingredients to let you decide how you want your sub made, as they let you choose what you want all the way through.

Subway’s Motto: “Eat Fresh!”

Firehouse Sub’s Motto: “Let’s Eat!”

It is expected that when you enter a Subway restaurant, building your personal favorite sub with specific ingredients to your liking is what you are going to get. Firehouse Subs on the other hand, already has the selection chosen for you, trusting that they have already created the perfect master sandwich.

This gives Subway the edge over Firehouse, because it puts the power of choice in the eaters hands, and removes some skepticism from newcomers. This doesn’t mean that you can’t build your own sub at Firehouse. It can certainly be done, but it just isn’t that obvious, and it’s done a lot differently.

It is easier for Firehouse to mess up an order, when it is made in-house, than it is for Subway, since Subway makes the sub right in front of you. You can literally watch them. Firehouse does theirs behind the counter, and has a whole team that relies on communication in order for them to get it right.

If one person isn’t paying attention to what they are doing, you can easily end up with a steak sandwich when you ordered a veggie with no meat. I know this because I have seen things like this happen many times. You can’t see what they are doing with your order, so it has to be checked after it is made, and remade if it is wrong.

On the other hand, since Firehouse Subs normally has more staff than Subway, if the team knows what they are doing, the customer experience can be better. Of course, this depends on the individual stores and the people working there too.


The quality of the subs of Firehouse is better than the quality of Subway. Their bread is thicker, more durable, and overall better looking. The bread is almost good enough to eat just by itself.

The bread from Subway is more flimsy compared to Firehouse’s firmer bread.

However, when it comes to the bread, Subway provides a better selection. They have Artisan Italian, Hearty Multigrain,  Italian Cheese & Herb, Artisan Flatbread, and even wraps. Spinach wraps and Tomato Basil. Gluten-free may be available depending on where you order from.

Firehouse Subs only has wheat bread, white bread, and gluten-free, they do not have wraps like Subway. This goes back to what was said earlier about Subway’s edge over Firehouse Subs in this department. It is more about letting the customer decide.

However, if an individual is looking more for overall quality and appearance for subs, than Firehouse would win. Even their meats are better with more flavor, as they are sliced right at the store.


This leads us to the next comparison. The pricing. Because Firehouse Sub’s focus is more on providing the best meats, bread, and cheese, their prices can easily double that of Subway’s.

One thing I hear often from the customers when working at Firehouse Subs is the cost to size ratio of the subs. Despite knowing the length of the sandwiches beforehand, they are often expecting more after paying 6 to 7 dollars for a medium sized sub.

Customers often state that the sandwiches are a bit small in size. Their small size sub can be finished in a few bites. The price of these small 4 inch subs is around 4 dollars. That is a dollar an inch. The prices do seem to get better has the sizes increase, yet some have claimed to pay 14 dollars for a meal that actually fills them up.

Some of them even feel a little cheated. Fortunately, there are a lot of people that are happy to pay whatever for their tasty subs.

A footlong at Subway, vs Firehouse Subs, can be custom made for around 5 bucks. A footlong at Firehouse can reach 11 bucks or more.

If the desire is to eat well on a budget, then Subway is definitely the way to go. They provide chips, cookies, condiments, and fountain drinks, just like Firehouse.

The cookies would be better at Subway. Both restaurants have the regular chocolate chip and oatmeal, but Subway has an additional seasonal cookie every now and then. I have never seen Firehouse have any other selections than the two mentioned. Lemon cookies are also available.

This could change in the future, and may depend on location.

Their cookies are just the regular boxed packages that you stick in the oven that are found at most restaurants, but it is nice to have a change every once in awhile from the regular.

The pricing for cookies at Subway are even a bit better. 1 cookie can cost around $0.65, with bulk deals, while Firehouse offers theirs at around $0.85.

Conclusion: Despite being able to build a towering veggie and meat sub at Firehouse Subs, packed with cheese and sauce, you are getting more food for your dollar with Subway. They are the better choice on a budget.


So which place takes longer to make an order when you are in a rush? As mentioned, Subway usually has less staff, since only one person can actually make an individual sub order at a time. Firehouse has a whole team making an order (usually).

This means that Firehouse is capable of having an entire order done in under 5 minutes. However, this doesn’t usually happen when their is a rush and there is a big line. It can take up to 30 minutes for the people still waiting in line.

During a rush, both restaurants can take a long time to clear a line of hungry customers. However, if we are just talking about the time from when you actually begin to order, to when it is finished, Firehouse is more productive.

Also, since Subway’s speed is reliant on how long it takes the customer to pick all their ingredients, this could put them at a disadvantage at times.

What is the difference between Firehouse Subs and Subway?

The main difference between Firehouse Subs and Subway is the quality and flavor. Firehouse’s focus is on flavor, steaming their deli meats and cheese before placing them on toasted bread. Subway is focused on providing healthier fresh ingredients for personal sub customization.

Subway is a cheaper, healthier choice than Firehouse Subs because of this. They have lesser calories, fats, and a lot less sodium in their sub sandwiches. Firehouse has very high sodium levels.

Subway has more options when it comes to the basics for making subs, but Firehouse has more sauces, focusing on flavor. However, Subway has more salad dressings, like Caesar and Oregano for instance. Firehouse doesn’t have these. They have Chipotle Southwest too, and Firehouse does not.

For the veggies, they both have about the same with a few differences:

  • Firehouse Subs has Sauteed Bell Peppers, Sauteed Onions, and Cherry Peppers, the other doesn’t.
  • Subway has Spinach and Avocados, the other doesn’t.

The condiments for both places are mostly different, except for the basics, like ranch, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and honey mustard. The other condiments are independent to each restaraunt.

For example, the sweet onion sauce is found at Subway, and Firehouse Subs has their Datil Sauce, focusing more on burger type subs with more spices.

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