Jimmy John's Menu Items The Staff Won't Eat

Jimmy John's sandwich closeup
Jimmy John's sandwich closeup - Deutschlandreform/Shutterstock

There's something oddly comforting about Jimmy John's. Every shop beckons you in with dark tiles and '50s diner vibes, decked out in tin signs engraved with everything from short punch lines to cheeky run-on sentences. The atmosphere is often buzzing, in front of and behind the counter. That's because, for many, it's always the right time for a Jimmy John's sandwich –– from lunch rush breaks, post-workout dinners, or late-night munchies. The French bread baked on-site is even so good that the chain brazenly offers free smells.

Despite the bold decor, the sandwich chain offers a no-frills menu with the same steady sandwich lineup as when it opened in 1983. Now operating over 2,600 locations, Jimmy's John's growth isn't the only thing that's been freaky fast. Employees can reportedly build your sandwich in under 30 seconds and some delivery drivers have even been ticketed for speeding. Maybe their efficiency is partly due to a corporate iron fist, considering the founder Jimmy John Liautaud has come under heat for several controversies, including dodgy labor practices and a big-game hunting scandal.

Regardless of Jimmy John's untold truths, the staff has remained famously friendly, awarding every customer with a hello and goodbye. But we have to ask: what's behind the cheery dispositions and smiling faces? For a chain known for being freaky fast, surely quality must suffer somewhere, right? Let's uncover what Jimmy John's employees really think and take a look at the menu items even the staff won't eat.

Read more: McDonald's Menu Items That Even The Staff Won't Eat


sprouts warning sign
sprouts warning sign - Jimmy John's / Facebook

Alfalfa sprouts once helped cement the chain as a national favorite and gave JJ's sandwiches a bright and earthy crunch, offering a delightfully unique alternative to iceberg lettuce. But now, they're gone.

While the sprouts offered Jimmy John's a fresh competitive edge, they're a thing of the past, and for possibly a good reason. A Reddit thread asked, "What wouldn't you eat from your menu" and a purported former employee shared that all the vegetables were sourced locally and cut fresh daily, before cryptically but ominously adding, "But then there are the sprouts." The employee described the microgreen's sudden and mysterious disappearance, only to return with "eat at your own risk" signs plastered around the store and a pop-up warning if you ordered them online. On Reddit, an alleged JJ's general manager explained, "The biggest problem with sprouts is longevity." The delicate microgreens are extremely susceptible to food poisoning and as the Redditor warned, if a store tried to use up all of its supply to cut costs, it could reap dangerous consequences.

Food Safety News reported that around 2010, several E. coli and salmonella outbreaks were linked to Jimmy John's sprouts, afflicting dozens of customers with severe illnesses. The sandwich chain tried to correct course, removing the microgreens and then replacing alfalfa with easier-to-clean clover sprouts. However, after a messy history of more outbreaks and an FDA warning letter, the sandwich chain permanently removed its iconic sprouts from the menu in early 2020.

The JJ Gargantuan

Jimmy John's gargantuan sub
Jimmy John's gargantuan sub - Jimmy John's / Facebook

Sub sandwiches are great because they're convenient, personalized, and filling without slowing you down. For the most part, Jimmy John's understood the assignment and made freaky fast simplicity the core of its business –– but we're not sure where the JJ Gargantuan fits into this model. Stuffed with five types of meat and seemingly every topping imaginable, the Gargantuan lives up to its name. it's so big and bizarre it's currently even sectioned off in a category by itself on the online menu.

Employees of the sandwich chain have taken to Reddit to air their gargantuan grievances, questioning whether the sub was serious or if Jimmy John's was trolling us. The apparent employee who started the thread wrote that the sandwich is just "meat for the sake of meat," while a GM likened it to an attention-grabbing scheme. The Redditor who started the thread complained that the combination of meats was anything but tasty, deeming it to be an ungodly pairing of JJ's Vito (containing salami and capocollo) with roast beef.

The gargantuan boasts a whopping 2,160 calories and 98 grams of fat, but even more horrifying is that Jimmy John's rolled out the option to order any sandwich in a 16-inch giant form. Only one-eighth of the colossal version would cost you around 500 calories and leave you comatose the rest of the day. One wrote that they hated making the huge sandwich, as the massive amount of fillings was almost impossible to make it look good.

9-Grain Sliced Wheat Bread

Stacked sandwiches with wheat bread slices
Stacked sandwiches with wheat bread slices - Jimmy John's / Facebook

Sliced wheat bread is a prominent feature on the Jimmy John´s menu, where any sandwich can be ordered with that version of wheat instead of the classic French sub. Yet, while opting for wheat seems more nutrient-dense, JJ's employees claim that the chain's sliced wheat is a hit or miss.

Despite sounding like the healthier option, wheat bread is often something to avoid ordering at sandwich chains. A past employee clarified on Reddit that JJ's wheat bread has more carbs than the French while another chimed in, "Both the French and wheat are loaded with sugar and salt." Jimmy John's Nutritional Guide reveals that the thick-sliced wheat has 290 calories compared to the 8-inch French sub's 230. The former also has more sugar and a similar amount of sodium and carbs. Nutritional score aside, the wheat bread's texture can frustrate both employees and customers. "The wheat bread never tastes fully baked, and the act of holding it compresses it down to nothing," one Reddit commenter complained, with an apparent Jimmy John's night manager agreeing that they felt the same.

In 2018, the sandwich chain tried adding a wheat sub to the menu. It was promptly discontinued because it "didn't really sell that well. Was more labor intensive," an anonymous employee shared on Reddit.  "[I]t was very temperamental and easy to mess up," said another apparent employee commenting on the thread. "Part of that was the dough being inconsistent."

Jalapeño Ranch

jalapeño ranch chicken wrap
jalapeño ranch chicken wrap - J.P. Hovey / X

Jimmy John's has replaced its famed Kickin' Ranch with a new Jalapeño version and it seems like quite a few people are spiraling. The jalapeño dressing is featured in one of the chain's chicken wraps but can also be ordered as a dip. Although the new sauce packs a bit of heat, staff reviews are in and they're not hot. A former employee on Reddit scoffed that, compared to the Kickin' Ranch, the jalapeño version was "Not at all comparable IMO [...] I took one dip of Jalapeño and threw it away." Fervent ranch enthusiasts complained that the Jalapeño Ranch was too creamy and lacked any satisfying kick or flavor. Rather than tangy, the new sauce is disappointingly bitter. On a separate Reddit thread, a purported manager encouraged readers to complain to HQ to get Kickin' Ranch to return.

Jimmy John's had established a loyal following for its Kickin' ranch sauce –– the tangy, cherry pepper-based dressing that's arguably the perfect accompaniment to anything on the menu. JJ's let all that power slip through its fingers and announced in early 2024 that it would discontinue the cult classic sauce. No one has officially disclosed why, but an apparent JJ's regional manager commented, "Easy. Money." on a Reddit thread mourning the loss of Kickin' Ranch. The Redditor explained that despite the sauce's fame, the profits weren't compensating. Many also speculate it was due to the time and labor of preparing two in-house ranches.


Person holding Jimmy John's turkey sub
Person holding Jimmy John's turkey sub - Jimmy John's / Facebook

Anyone who's worked in fast food can confirm that there are certain things you can never unsee. The consensus among Jimmy John's employees seems to be that it's the turkey that will haunt them forever. As a purported general manager shared on Reddit, "i refuse to go near our turkey.. i got the juice on my arm once and got a burning rash immediately." Uh oh.

Most of us consider turkey a perfectly innocuous, healthy option. According to Jimmy John's Nutritional Guide, the Turkey Tom has one of the lowest calorie and fat counts compared to the other 8-inch sandwiches. The chain even prides itself on sourcing all-natural meats that are free of artificial ingredients. So, what's got almost half of the staff voting to "get that nasty stuff away from me" on a Reddit poll?

The problem is the goo. Apparently, before slicing the turkey on-site, it arrives at the sandwich shop pre-packaged in a concoction of its juices, a salty brine, and preservatives. This mixture settles into a meaty gelatin, sending employees over the edge. "We just call it the afterbirth," another GM member recounted on Reddit. What compounds the problem is the dichotomy between the congealed mush and the turkey's alleged tastelessness. A review from Tasting Table reported that the flavor of Jimmy John's turkey was more of an afterthought than actual taste. "The turkey having no flavor & the turkey 'jelly' visual gets to me," yet another apparent GM concluded on the Reddit turkey poll.

Jimmy Cubano

A cubano sandwich from Jimmy Johns
A cubano sandwich from Jimmy Johns - adizzzy_ / Reddit

Although it's listed on the menu as one of the favorites, Jimmy John's probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when craving a Cuban. A classic Cuban sandwich should be the meeting place of savory pork, gooey cheese, crunchy pickles, and toasty bread, tied together with a bright mustard. The JJ's take isn't fooling anyone. After a Redditor posted a photo of a barren Jimmy Cubano, an apparent regional manager admitted, "The Cubano is a dumpster fire of a sandwich [even] when it's made well."

The Jimmy's version includes bacon, ham, and provolone, loaded with mayo and mustard. Because it isn't toasted, the sandwich tends to become soggy rather than crispy. Perhaps these tweaks could be forgiven, but a recent mustard change is what really has the staff up in arms. Earlier this year, Jimmy John's corporate revealed it would stop using Grey Poupon in its shops, replacing it with a standard yellow variety. The decision directly affected the Cubano whose saving grace was a mustard with some depth of flavor.

Disgruntled employees complained on Reddit that JJ's higher-ups were out of touch and the new mustard, "Straight up reminds us of bile." Staff on another Reddit thread went so far as to recommend ordering the Cubano sans mustard and enhancing it with your own Grey Poupon from the nearest grocery store.


Employee adding mayo to tuna salad
Employee adding mayo to tuna salad - Jimmy John's / Facebook

Apart from classic cold cuts, you can also find tuna salad sandwiches at Jimmy John's. Your current options for ordering the fish amount to the Club Tuna or Totally Tuna –– both feature cucumbers, lettuce, and tomato, while the former includes provolone. For the health-conscious, tuna is typically an excellent choice packed with lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but a fair amount of JJ's staff can't stomach the chain's shredded fish. Airing out their least favorite sandwiches on Reddit, employees slammed the tuna salad as one of the worst offenders. "Nothing grossed me out more than those disgusting tuna buckets," a self-reported former employee recalled.

Jimmy's tuna salad is prepared in-house, mixing canned tuna with chopped celery, onion, and mayo. The problem may be the consistency, with another anonymous employee describing it as having a "mucous and shredded cat food texture." It probably doesn't help that the tuna is topped off with water-laden additions like tomato and cucumber which are already prone to increasing sogginess. Other staff members complained that pairing tuna with the squeaky provolone cheese was at best unorthodox, if not utterly appalling.

Another issue could be the tuna's quality. "Most places (JJs included) use the crappy 'chunk light,' " an apparent worker mentioned on a separate Reddit thread. Considering the quality and copious amounts of mayo, JJ's tuna isn't exactly the healthy option you might expect, anyway. At 860 calories, the Club Tuna is one of the most caloric options on the menu.


Pile of pre-cooked bacon on the counter at Jimmy John's
Pile of pre-cooked bacon on the counter at Jimmy John's - Jimmy John's / Facebook

Nothing matches biting into a sandwich with crispy, salty, and dripping bacon. Jimmy John's offers a few bacon sandwiches, including a classic BLT, but you can order it as an additional topping on any sub. JJ's staff might advise you not to order it at all, however, claiming it just doesn't hit that greasy goodness spot. According to a company tweet, bacon is one of the few items not prepared on-site at Jimmy John's restaurants, arriving instead pre-cooked and about as fresh as packaged grocery store slices. A purported employee even admitted on Reddit, "I hate our disgusting bacon, and am ashamed to serve it."

One YouTuber uploaded a video of eating and reviewing Jimmy's BLT, backing up the employees' claims. After he took his first bite, he immediately expressed disappointment over the cold and chewy bacon. Since the sandwich chain infamously only serves cold sandwiches, no one sears or sizzles the bacon to give it a fighting chance.

Another issue the staff has with the bacon is its quality. One purported employee posted a photo on Reddit showing exactly how the bacon arrives and is served, revealing a heap of sagging, gray strips. Another worker confirmed, "Our bacon looks like those beggin' strips dog treats." More staff chimed in that the quality of the bacon upon arrival was unreliable –– sometimes congealed in fat or raw in appearance. After endless customer complaints, some employees confessed to throwing the strips in the bread oven for a little color.

Roast Beef

Close up of Jimmy John's roast beef slices
Close up of Jimmy John's roast beef slices - KeefHerban / Reddit

Even the staff at Jimmy John's will admit the chain's roast beef is a potentially risky bet. A former JJ's worker questioned on Reddit what had happened to the roast beef, fondly remembering when the meat was red and delicious, only to evolve into what's now "Gray and kinda sad." The staff isn't alone –– our ranking of Jimmy John's popular menu items placed not one but two roast beef sandwiches as the worst, noting that they were bereft of flavor or juiciness.

Plenty of the freaky fast chain's sandwiches feature roast beef, proudly advertised as hand-sliced at each location. Slicing on-site is a good sign, meaning the meat can retain more natural juices. However, "[t]he quality varies a TON for roast beef," a reported employee explained on Reddit, blaming it on inconsistent supply chain issues. An apparent manager confirmed that sometimes they receive the meat perfectly rare but, "I've also had my share of gray, well-done BS."

A JJ's driver on the thread also claimed, "[the roast beef is] only good fresh off the slicer." And while it's normal for sliced roast beef to develop iridescent shades thanks to natural compounds in the meat, JJ's seems to glow an abnormal brown. A purported general manager on a separate Reddit thread claimed the caramel hue comes from an additive, introduced after customers complained about the beef's bright red color.

Avocado Spread

Jimmy John's sandwich with avocado spread
Jimmy John's sandwich with avocado spread - BarryBabyBarry / Reddit

Don't be surprised if you ask for "guac" at Jimmy John's and a friendly employee corrects you, "You mean avocado spread?" What's more, a cursory dive into Reddit reveals some dissatisfied customers sharing pictures of the pathetic lack of avo spread on their sandwiches. Could the staff implicitly be trying to tell us something?

Jimmy John's is careful to call it avocado spread because otherwise, the bright green smear would be even more deceiving. "It is avocado spread because they know not to disrespect guacamole like that," a past employee mentioned on Reddit. "To me it just tastes like mashed up plain avocado," another worker claimed, implying they're not exactly snacking on it at break time. Staff on another Reddit thread explained that they receive the sauce in packets, with listed ingredients like blended avocado, garlic, onion, and cilantro. While all the right components are there, it's more of a paste than anything, lacking a great guac's hearty chunks and rich flavor.

You can order the sauce as an add-on or substitute, but it's only prominently featured on one sandwich: The Veggie. You might assume this is a health-conscious choice, but the avo spread deceives us again. Jimmy's Nutritional Guide lists The Veggie as one of the most caloric and fattening 8-inch sandwiches. Of course, avocados are packed with good fats, but The Veggie can't even hold its own in taste. A Tasting Table report lamented that the avo spread was "as bland as bland can be."

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