Sandwiches are everywhere on menus, offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and increasingly as a snack. In fact, 40% of consumers eat at least four sandwiches a week, according to Technomic’s Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite. While some creatures of habit go for the same egg, sausage and cheese biscuit or BLT every time, others are looking for a little adventure between the bread—especially younger consumers who are more open to less familiar ingredients. Ethnic sandwiches, particularly Latin and Asian builds, present opportunity. These six operators are meeting that demand.
Iraj Fernando, executive chef and foodservice director for Southern Foodservice Management Inc. at Bosch Corp. in Broadview, Ill., introduced telera rolls to the menu. A popular filling is pulled chicken with melted cheese, but patrons seeking bolder flavors can opt for chicken braised in a broth spiced with chipotles and fresh tomatillos. “Customers enjoy getting this unexpected sandwich at an on-site cafeteria,” says Fernando. “It’s simple but authentically Mexican with so much flavor.” He also offers carnitas, curried chicken and other pork and chicken preparations on the telera rolls.
That's a wrap
Emily’s Garden, the vegan and vegetarian station at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is offering Lazy Jackfruit Egg Rolls this semester. The “bread” is actually fried egg roll wrappers filled with shredded jackfruit and drizzled with nuoc cham sauce, says Mark Miller, director of dining. The team has also created several other vegan sandwiches, including Grilled Vegetables with Black Beans on Ciabatta Bread and a Baja Black Bean Wrap with lime cilantro dressed vegetables.
A focus on sourcing local ingredients has turned the California Burger into a hit with students at Grossmont High School in La Mesa, Calif. Vince Scimone, director of child nutrition for the school, created the burger using fresh tomatoes, lettuce and avocados grown in the Fallbrook region of California. The school promotes the burger as a local star.
Chef Barry Greenberg of University of Iowa creates pork pastrami from pork collar—an underutilized and well-marbled cut of meat from the shoulder. It’s cured in a spice brine, rubbed with ground coriander, smoked paprika and black pepper, then smoked in-house. He calls the brined and smoked meat “porkstrami” and layers it on a pretzel roll with fried onions, pickles and spicy brown mustard.
Thinking outside the build
For his accounts at senior living and healthcare facilities, Jonathan Smith, senior regional chef for TouchPoint Support Services, has shaken up the sandwich lineup with ethnic options and healthier choices. Even though his customers are not in younger demographic groups, they do like to try on-trend flavors. Smith developed a street food station featuring Korean fried chicken tacos topped with pickled vegetables, cilantro lime aioli and Korean chili sauce, and a bulgogi beef and kimchi banh mi. While Korean tacos aren’t “traditional” sandwiches, they fit into the category because they consist of a carrier, filling and condiments.
A healthy twist
Adam Strauss, director of food and nutrition services at New York-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., gives a favorite sandwich a healthy makeover. He substitutes grilled chicken breast for a breaded, fried version and layers it with fig jam, goat cheese, roasted peppers and mixed field greens. A balsamic honey glaze completes the build. Strauss varies the bread, making the sandwich on ciabatta or a French baguette, and even crafts one sized for a crowd. “Sometimes we do a 4-foot version on a party hero that’s extremely popular,” he says. “It’s wrapped and tied, too, for a personal touch.”