Signature Series: Sandwiches & Wraps

Operators share customers' favorite deli-inspired items.

Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap
University of Kansas, Lawrence

Alecia Stultz, assistant director of retail for KU Dining Services, doesn’t quite understand what makes the Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap so popular.

“Basically it is the simplest thing ever,” Stultz says. “It’s breaded chicken tenders, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, a cheddar/Monterrey jack cheese mix and ranch dressing in a jalapeno cheddar wrap. It was part of the original menu when we launched our sandwich concept Brellas in late 2005 or early 2006. It stemmed from trying to create something out of ingredients we already had on hand. It’s been the staple of Brellas every since. To date we have served close to 400,000, more than 60,000 per year.”

The wrap has gained such a following that Stultz says the campus’s franchised Pizza Hut guy was one of its devotees. He needed something quick on his way to the airport, so the department made him a Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap. Now every time he visits campus he has to get one. The Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap’s fame even extended to a campus fundraiser in 2009, when Habitat for Humanity held a 5K run where students had to stop halfway through the race and eat a Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap and then run the rest of the race. Stultz says it was the largest single event fundraiser for that group on campus.

“I think it’s just everything that you love all rolled up into one,” Stultz says. “The flavors just go so well together that when you bite into it you get the best of everything. Plus, it’s handheld so you can take it with you. I think signature items go along with your brand. Anytime you can say, home of the famous Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap, it’s always just really cool for the customers. It creates a following. You’ll get them in to get that item, but it’s also exposing them to everything else we offer.”

Read full recipe

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

Ideas and Innovation
packaged meals

While the multiple-choice questions on FoodService Director’s annual census surveys are a great way of gathering data on trends, I’ve always been rather partial to the open-ended queries. We can’t possibly think up every answer operators might have to a particular question, and it gives respondents a chance to show some personality as well. (A special nod to one cheeky operator’s not-quite-safe-for-work response to how they’re tackling shortened lunch periods—you made my day.)

So this year, for the first time since I’ve been at FoodService Director, I chose to include a very open-...

Menu Development
ramen bowl spoon chopsticks

Asian noodle soups are a popular lunch option at YouTube’s San Bruno, Calif., campus, says Trent Page, the GM at Bon Appetit Management who runs the company’s three corporate dining venues. But Page noticed an increasing preference for customizable dishes and vegan preparations among the 1,000 customers he feeds daily. Inspired by a recent visit to Japan, he introduced tsukemen to the menu—a dish that features most of the traditional ramen ingredients (noodles, eggs and vegetable garnishes) served separately so diners can mix and match. “Separating the components makes it more customizable...

Ideas and Innovation
chicken dinner

For the last three years, we’ve hosted an event called Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. We sponsor the local chapter of Future Farmers of America to raise the chickens, and we have to arrange all the transporting from farms to the distributor, which keeps the birds in a freezer until we’re ready. We build hype by having students vote on the proprietary spice blend they would like on the chicken. It helps the nutrition team get involved in the educational process and showcase local food purchasing.

FSD Resources