In 1978, Terrell Braly and a group of investors, converted a closed Sinclair gas station at in Denver, Colorado into a sandwich shop called "Sandwich World". Hussain "Jeff" Jaffarie, the store manager at the time and originally from Iran began the practice of toasting sandwiches in a pizza oven that had been provided by Tombstone pizza. In 1979, a competing resturant opened across the street from the converted fuel station. Trading as Footers Restaurant and owned by Jimmy Lambatos and Todd Disner, this business offered to buy the larger and better located Sandwich World operation. The take-over was accepted in early 1980.
The new owners of Sandwich World changed the name to Quiznos and began a franchising operation. A University of Colorado student, named Rick Schaden, decided to start a Quiznos franchise in Boulder, Colorado. Schaden, along with his father, later purchased the parent operation.
The company's first major advertising splash came with a successful advertising campaign during the 2002 Super Bowl. Early TV spots advertised the innovation of toasting sandwiches, as compared to the inventor of pants (humorously contrasted with men wearing bushes). Another ad that debuted in 2003 depicted a man "raised by wolves" suckling at a mother wolf's teat; this however was not so successful. A pair of ads in early 2004 featuring Spongmonkeys produced strongly mixed reactions by reviewers and the ads were quickly pulled.
In 2005, Quiznos launched a series of ads featuring Baby Bob; Bob originated as an Internet blog phenomenon, but was also attached to a short-lived CBS TV series. In the new commercials, Bob is voiced by Ken Hudson Campbell.
Quiznos has also been known to take advantage of underground advertising phenomena in localized areas. For example, they were one of the first advertisers to put ads on the back of famous San Francisco eccentric and alien protester Frank Chu's sign.
In June 2006, Quizno's revealed their new slogan: "Eat Up." Nationally the subs feature a Quizno's sub with digital steam emanating from it with the slogan, "Mmmm... toasty," spoken as "Mm mm mm mm mm... toasty." This slogan, the aforementioned one, and a newer one, "Love what you eat." are used interchangeably. Actor Michael Clarke Duncan currently provides the voiceover for all Quizno's commercials.
On September 18, 2006, Quiznos launched the most aggressive advertising campaign aimed at Subway. Dubbed the Prime Rib Cheesesteak Challenge, customers are challenged to compare the brand new Prime Rib Cheesesteak against Subway's Cheesesteak sandwich. The claim is that the Prime Rib Cheesesteak has twice the meat of Subway's Cheesesteak. If the customers are not satisfied, then they can fill out a form, mail the form along with their receipt, and they will receive a coupon for a free sandwich. One of said commercials features a woman saying '"It's not lacking any meat, and that's what real women need."
In more recent advertisements, Quizno's is shown competing with the fictional “Wrong Way” restaurant whose logo, name and toaster look similar to Subway's.
Towards the end of 2007, Quizno's unveiled "Sammies", small flatbread sandwiches available for $2.
After a Subway marketing promotion for $5 "foot long" sandwiches, Quizno's began matching the promotion. In May 2008, Quizno's was offering Large Deli Sandwiches called "Deli Favorite varieties" for the same price. Quizno's large sandwiches were only long.
The Coca-Cola Company was originally the primary soft drink supplier for to the franchise, up until 2006. At that time, Coca-cola went on to sign an exclusive agreement to provide soft-drinks to the competing Subway franchise. As a result Quizno's in turn signed an exclusive deal with PepsiCo (except in Canada).
Quizno's received some unusual publicity beginning in February 2005 when the Seattle Times broke the story of Dawna Lentz, a manager of a shop located in a strip mall in North Seattle, Washington. A month after the shop opened, the managing partner left, leaving an absentee owner in charge. He stopped putting money into the shop, and soon severed contact with the shop's employees altogether. Lentz kept the place running for several months, paying employees out of the cash register and buying supplies at grocery stores when the suppliers stopped delivering. Quizno's at first did not pay attention to Lentz, and her requests for help were ignored. However, when the experience became the subject of a front-page story in the Seattle Times, Quizno's swiftly took over operations of the store, and the company praised Lentz for her handling of the situation. The story was later featured in an episode of PRI's This American Life, Months later, the store was closed.