Made-to-order sandwiches have their share of loyal fans. But, according to Chicago-based Q1 Consulting, grab and go still rules the roost in the sandwich category. In its Grocerant Consumer Survey for 2018, Q1 reported that 71% of consumers of prepared take-out food who purchased a cold deli sandwich went the grab-and-go route.
The grab-and-go cases at the 44 Kent Kwik Convenience Stores in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico are a popular stop-off for the construction and oil field workers who come in for breakfast and pick up sandwiches to take with them for lunch, said Stormy Williams, the company’s director of operations-foodservice division.
Kent Kwik produces five different sub sandwiches and two wedge varieties for its Kwik Eats deli in its 1,000 square-foot proprietary commissary. Another three or four kinds of sandwiches come from an outside supplier.
LTOS PROVIDE SPICE
In its MenuTrends Sandwich Keynote 2017, Datassential research firm found that a growing number of Americans are looking to other cultures for new sandwich ingredients and combinations. Among the top-trending globally-inspired specialties called out by Datassential are the Vietnamese banh mi, Mexican torta, French croque madame, Indian shawarma and all-American lobster roll.
While the traditional ham and cheese still reigns supreme, Kent Kwik customers have shown that they are willing to try something new and interesting. One major example is the house-made chicken salad with cranberries and pecans on wheatberry bread that has become a best seller, Williams noted. In fact, the wheatberry bread has been so heartily embraced by customers that the company switched to it from the usual white bread for all its wedge sandwiches.
“The wheatberry bread tastes better and stays fresher than white bread, and it appeals to customers who are looking for a ‘better-for-you’ option,” said Williams.
In addition to the usual selection of Kwik Eats sandwiches, Kent Kwik rotates in limited time offer (LTO) made-to-order and grab-and-go hot and cold varieties every other month. In January, for example, the LTO was a chicken-bacon, Caesar-salad, garlic-herb wrap that was a big hit with customers. Sometimes an LTO sandwich, such as the recently featured Philly Cheesesteak, is so popular it can earn a permanent place on the regular menu.
Some LTOs do double duty as both made-to-order and grab-and-go selections. Williams pointed to a ham and cheese sub that was a favorite choice in both formats.
Kent Kwik offers an always-available sub-chips-drink combo, but Williams said it’s more for customer convenience than it is a necessity to drive sales.
“We sell many more subs by themselves than we do combos,” she said.
When it comes to breakfast sandwiches, the 97-cent sausage biscuits have long been a draw. The stores sell an average of 250 per day.