If you think the vegetarian segment is too small for you to market to, you might want to think again. According to one study, while the percentage of strict vegetarians in the U.S. is relatively small (3%), nearly half of all Americans are the new “flexitarians,” eating vegetarian dishes when they dine out.  And, since only 15 percent of restaurants are currently offering vegetarian sandwiches,savvy operators are capitalizing on this untapped menu opportunity. Take a look at what some operators around the country are doing with their meatless sandwiches.

 San Francisco’s Kitchenette, which bills itself as “spontaneous organic covert nourishment,” features several grilled vegetable sandwiches on its menu. Popular selections include a Grilled Zucchini and Chopped Mushroom Baguette with fromage blanc and wild arugula ($7) and a Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with sliced heirloom tomato, onion jam and herb salad for $6.50.

 In Chicago, the QSR chain Pockets features seven basic vegetarian sandwiches, based around crunchy raw vegetables. Selections include the Southwest Pocket (with a corn and black bean mix, assorted vegetables and cheddar cheese) and the Asian Pocket (with vegetables, crunchy noodles and a sesame dressing). Sandwiches range in price from $3.99 to $4.29 (meat is available at an extra charge).

As you might expect from its name, celebrity chef Tom (“Top Chef”) Colicchio’s 12-unit ’wichcraft chain in New York City specializes in upscale sandwiches. The chain’s Goat Cheese Sandwich features avocado, celery, walnut pesto and watercress on multigrain bred. Hot selections include a Marinated Eggplant Sandwich with chickpea puree, roasted peppers and watercress on a ciabatta roll. Sandwich prices range from $6.95 to $9.50.

In Dallas, where beef is king, the Scardello cheese shop serves up creative cheese-based meatless sandwiches. A local cheddar cheese stars on the Stewart’s Cheddar Press Sandwich, accented with pickled green tomatoes. The Cold Tomato Sandwich features Brie, sliced Roma tomatoes and mayonnaise. All sandwiches come on artisan bread and are accompanied by a side salad for $8.50.

For more information on sandwich techniques and trends, visit SandwichPro.com.




Article & image courtesy of Sandwichpro.com