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Creative, Quality Sandwiches are the Key to Boosting Sales

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail

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Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Creative, Quality Sandwiches are the Key to Boosting Sales

Sandwich consumption is on the rise, with today’s consumers eating more than three sandwiches per week. The problem with sandwiches, however, is that many people simply make them at home. A study by the research firm Technomic showed that 54 percent of consumers, up from 51 percent two years ago, are preparing sandwiches themselves.

This means operators and suppliers will need to focus on hard-to-duplicate menu items to entice consumers to purchase more sandwiches away from home.

Zeroing in on the quality of the sandwich ingredients is also essential. Compared to two years ago, today's consumers place higher importance on quality and quantity, as well as the appetizing appearance of sandwich ingredients.

I noticed during NATSO's International Study Tour companies executing this strategy flawlessly. The pictures below shows their product that appeared to be of the utmost quality and freshness regardless of the fact that it may or may not have come directly from a box of frozen sandwiches. A fresh bib of lettuce, tomato and pickle can make all the difference in presentation. 

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Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, said, "In order for sandwich operators to drive traffic and steal share, they have to strengthen the quality perception by promoting freshness and customization opportunities, while giving guests a more interesting range of toppings, breads and proteins that emphasize variety."

Understanding the current trends in sandwiches can help operators shape their menus and better meet consumers’ needs. Technomic recently published its Sandwich Consumer Trend Report. According to the report:

  • 61 percent of sandwiches that consumers order are taken to go
  • 49 percent of consumers sometimes purchase grab-and-go sandwiches
  • 51 percent of consumers place high importance on health for sandwiches at lunch and 53 percent place a high important on health for sandwiches at dinner
    • 43 percent are satisfied with the healthfulness of sandwiches away from home
    • 50 percent would like to see more healthy sides to pair with sandwiches
    • 35 percent of consumers said they would like more restaurants to offer mini sandwiches, up from just 26 percent in 2010

If you have not yet considered it, a robust sandwich program should be part of your overall food service offering. Specifically it should anchor your grab-n-go program. If you have a kitchen, maximize the products that you are already serving daily into awesome sandwiches that complement your hot box and roller grill programs. 

Who would have thought that bologna could still be driving your sales these days?

 

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  

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Join the conversation! No really - Did you think that bologna could still be driving your sales these days?

 

Photo Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.