It’s enough to make Subway’s Jared hit the fried chicken bucket again. Quiznos emerged in 2004 as a serious competitor to the sandwich giant, opening up 1,000 stores (more than any other restaurant in America last year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News). Tom Ryan, previously McDonald’s chief concept officer, spurred the growth by focusing Quiznos’s brand on high-quality, fresh ingredients. He expanded the menu to reach more people, adding low-carb options and a line of hearty salads using Quiznos’s signature ingredients such as steak and blue cheese. Ryan accomplished all this while overcoming Quiznos’s over-the-line “Spongemonkeys” ad campaign in February 2004 featuring odd ratlike creatures. Ryan insists he had nothing to do with the critters, and their quick retirement let him get back to dressing up his brand.
2005 FAST 50 WINNER
Tom Ryan, 48
Executive vice president of branding