Analysis is love. I love sandwiches. Ergo, I analyze Sandwiches.
This is the first version of an attempt to better understand sandwiches. All good analysis is easily summarized into a 2×2 plot that somehow includes everything. For sandwiches this manifests as the “‘Wich Plot©” and shows all sandwiches in the context of “Strategy” and “Execution”.
Execution is a scale of how well the sandwich is made, in reality. This is the simpler axis as it’s directly observable by eating the sandwich! Some factors that influence the execution axis:
- How well is the sandwich made? Does it fall apart when you eat it?
- What is the quality of the ingredients? (Is the bread hard and nasty? Are the meats unnatural square shapes?)
- How appetizing does the sandwich look?
- How much love went into building the sandwich?
Strategy is a rating of the sandwich recipe complexity. It’s the rating of the sandwich in theory. Kind of like how each performance in the Olympics gets a difficulty rating. Some factors that influence sandwich strategy ranking include:
- Are there lots of ingredients?
- Does each ingredient require special preparation (roasting, skinning, cooking, etc.)?
- Does the sandwich require a very delicate or specific construction process to be properly made (like a croque monsieur)?
By combining the two axis we can start to get a feel for what it means when a sandwich falls in each of the four quadrants. In counter-clockwise from the bottom left:
- Poor execution of low strategy sandwiches: You must be hungry; you are making the simplest of sandwiches without regard to quality or love for sandwiches. Skip these sandwiches, and go have some pasta. Seriously, don’t bother.
- Good execution of low strategy sandwiches: Now we’re talking! You’re practicing the basic sandwiches because you love them. The sandwiches are simple, but delicious and don’t deserve any harassment for their imbalance.
- Good execution of high strategy sandwiches: Now we’re REALLY talking! These are the special sandwiches that allow the whole category to rival the rest of the food world. In extremes, these are the tiny open faced sandwiches that you can find at some of the best restaurants in the world.
- Poor execution of high strategy sandwiches: This is just silly. Why bother making a complicated sandwich if you aren’t going to put any love into it? Some kind of a sick ingredient fetish? More processed meats and cheeses do not a better sandwich make!
Let’s plot some sandwiches! I put 5 on the chart, though you can ask yourself “Where would the last sandwich I had fall?” The actual plotting is rather fuzzy since this is not math and there are no numbers.
To really get value out of this analysis, we have to draw some conclusions about certain groups of sandwiches and get some information that might help us in reality. I tried to aggregate some common groups of sandwiches and highlighted them on the chart below with colored circles. You can see that the chain sandwich shops generally, use poor quality ingredients (I hate that shredded lettuce!) and that if you have a few fancy ingredients leftover from dinner, you can whip up a tasty sandwich (though they are usually fairly simple). Specialty sandwich shops are where the love is: decent construction with decent strategy! Now when someone asks why you don’t like Subway or Quizno’s you can say “Oh, yuck, you eat low execution sandwiches?” That is love.