Sandwiches are becoming more ethnic and branded on many college campuses today.
"The definition of a sandwich has changed. I would call a taco or fajita a sandwich. And with the demand for healthier options, we're replacing traditional versions with more flavorful items that also have more vegetables," says Pat Brussack, RD, dir. of mktg./nutrition at Univ. of Georgia. Santiago grilled turkey sandwich, a new item, has lots of spices like cumin, garlic and basil. And carrot-cheddar pita pockets appeal to vegetarians.
Swiss & sprouts: "We also created a Swiss and sprouts sandwich that we bake, using cheese, alfalfa sprouts, mayo and biscuit mix, spread on French bread and toasted in an oven."
Middle Eastern sandwiches served in the dining halls include Greek gyros, using shaved beef and cucumber sauce.
"We switched this fall to Healthy Choice meats, using the full line. We already had good quality meats, but these have a strong brand name recognition," Brussack says.
Georgia is big on barbecue—and pork, beef and pulled chicken bbq sandwiches are popular menu items, Brussack points out.
At Univ. of Wisconsin-Stout, a new specialty cart program called Expressway offers upscale sandwiches not available anywhere else on campus, says production mgr. Marvin Whitman.
Sourdough & extra meat: "We use sourdough bread, and put extra meat and cheese in the sandwiches, which we sell for $2 to $3."
Expressway, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., grosses $250 a day selling just sandwiches, bottled beverages and gourmet coffee. "We're opening a second location this fall in a building with 1,000 students and 70 office-workers, so we anticipate strong sales."
"A card-reader allows Expressway to accept declining balance cards in addition to cash," he says.
At Ashland Univ., OH, a new NY- style Deli concept has just replaced a standard serving counter, says fsd Husein Kitabwalla.
"We added a bread oven and proofer and bake breads on-site. We slice meats right in front of students, to create a real deli concept in our board-plan food-court."
On the side: The station has 8-12 breads, and offers side dishes like German red-skin potatoes, broccoli salad and traditional chicken and tuna salads.
Wartburg College in Waverly, IA has incorporated a double-sided 8-ft. salad bar into its deli area.
"We believe that it's not necessarily the meats, but the other components that make up a sandwich: how you garnish it with sauces and condiments," says fsd Don Juhl.
The concept creates a full-range of fix-it toppings, including several pickles, 3-4 cheese, salad dressings and assorted breads and rolls.
"We do the full line of roast beef, ham and turkey, but we present this as a build-your-own deli. To merchandise it, we hang simulated hams, turkey breasts and salamis, like an old-fashioned meat market."
Meats are pre-folded and stacked to help students portion more easily with serving tongs. "It's an all-you-can-eat board plan, but food-cost is helped by offering more items, like fixing and condiments, so that students actually take less."
Promoting the brand: Wartburg uses branded Hormel meats, which is promoted as a brand name on the menu and with signs on the hanging meats, he says.
At Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, a new concept called The Cellar Pub opens this fall, with a full array of new sandwich items designed by pub mgr. Pat Clelland.
The Main Jib offers grilled fresh seasonal vegetables smothered with provolone cheese, fresh garlic, and served on sourdough bread.
50-Yard Field Goal is "perfectly" roasted beef, sliced Swiss cheese and bacon crisps served on a fresh baked roll with horseradish and mayo.
Sailor's Smoked Signal Look-Out has smoked turkey, bacon crisps, smoked provolone and a zesty onion sauce.
Side Pocket Special has thinly-sliced ham & Swiss with bbq sauce and mayo.
Retail prices are $2.45 to $3.40 at the Marriott account. "And as a further signature touch, they're serving all their sandwiches with fresh-made sweet potato chips, made on campus every morning," says dist. mktg. dir. Kelly Shimkus.