A good sandwich is tough to top — even in pizzerias
If you’re looking to attract a lunch crowd and don’t offer pizza by the slice, sandwiches just might be your ticket to incremental sales increases. Much like a newly opened pizza dough, two pieces of bread constitute a blank canvas awaiting your creativity.
Sandwiches are a daily staple in American life. From a blue-collar, brown-bag lunch favorite to trendy bistro fare, the item has universal appeal. Start with a high-quality bread — be it sourdough, ciabatta or a multi-grain boule — slice it thickly and get to work. The sky is literally the limit. You are only restrained by the confines of your imagination.
I had an exceptionally remarkable chicken parm panini in Parma, Italy, a couple of years ago. It came from a nondescript street vendor. It was working man’s fare at a working man’s price … and better than any sandwich I’d had in long, long time.
For this month’s cover, Creative Director Josh Keown hit the PT test kitchen with a variety of breads, cured meats, vegetables, cheeses and condiments. While I worked on pizzas, Executive Editor Denise Greer worked on a seafood dish and Art Director Katie Wilson worked on pastas, Josh was assembling the beauties that make our February issue façade pop.
The beauty of sandwiches lay in their simplicity. This isn’t high execution here. You can quickly train even less-than-astute employees to put together a good sandwich quickly.
It’s a menu item that evokes convenience, isn’t labor-intensive and carries a high profit margin. What’s not to love?
If you’re looking to impress an Italian focus on your menu, you’re going to stay away from turkey and ham and bacon and mayonnaise, and instead offer sandwiches stacked with salami, prosciutto, soppressata, etc. when it comes to cold cuts. Another popular option — vegetarian, at that — would be a Caprese sandwich complete with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then there’s the aforementioned Chicken Parm sandwich, served piping hot with plenty of tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.
The point here is merely to make use of the ingredients you already have on hand (you may need to either bring in some artisan bread or make your own if you’re up for that rewarding adventure) to add to your menu and attract the lunch crowd that needs to be in and out in a hurry. While sandwiches need not be complex, they can still be plenty vibrant, delicious, filling and profitable!
Here’s a recipe to try that is a vegetarian twist on the delicious sandwich I had in Parma:
Eggplant Parm Sandwich
Get the Eggplant Parm Sandwich recipe.
Jeremy White is Editor-in-Chief at Pizza Today.