Market Force Information, a Georgia-based customer-experience management company, polled nearly 11,500 consumers earlier this year for the 2018 survey. Respondents were asked about quick-service restaurants in five popular food categories: burgers, sandwiches, Mexican, pizza and chicken.
When the votes were counted, Wawa topped the survey’s “Sandwich Composite Loyalty Index,” beating Firehouse Subs, Jersey Mike's, Arby’s and Jimmy John's among others. East Coasters lucky enough to have a Wawa close by know the chain for its made-to-order sandwiches, which currently includes a Thanksgiving-themed Hot Turkey Gobbler. That sandwich features turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce, all on a hoagie roll.
Wawa also offers cheesesteaks, sourdough melts, wraps, flatbread sandwiches, quesadillas and burritos, plus deli sandwiches on white, wheat or rye bread, and layered club sandwiches as well.
Some of the survey’s other top scorers were huge national chains, such as Chipotle in the Mexican category. But others, including Chick-fil-A for chicken and In-N-Out for burgers, have a more limited reach. That certainly describes Wawa, a Pennsylvania-based chain of convenience stores and gas stations with 790 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Florida.
And although not everyone has heard of it, the chain's true fans are dedicated and loyal. In 2017, a man who robbed a New Jersey Wawa didn't just steal money, he nabbed himself a chicken Caesar wrap as well.
This was the first time a convenience store landed in the survey’s best-sandwich stop. Wawa moved up from fourth place in 2017. Last year’s winner, Firehouse Subs slipped 15 percentage points to land in second place.
Why is it called Wawa? The chain’s website says that “Wawa is a Native American word for the Canada goose that was found in the Delaware Valley over 100 years ago,” and that the chain’s original dairy farm was built in rural Wawa, Pennsylvania. If you don’t live near a Wawa, never fear. Check out where to find the best sandwich in every state.