Update Traditional Sandwiches for Lunchtime Success


Who doesn’t like sandwiches?

Updating traditional comfort foods is an obvious way to create a successful menu. Guests feel like they are being adventurous and yet still enjoying a food that has good memories associated with it.

Sandwiches are a great lunch item to have on your menu because they can be put together and served quickly and they are definitely something nearly everyone enjoys. Add a cup of soup to the dish and you’ll have no problem selling it to your customers. If you expect to really nail it, though, you are going to need to update those sandwiches and soups to create a culinary adventure.

Change Up the Bread

Bread is a basic component of a sandwich and changing it up can make your creation really stand out from the crowd. Don’t just consider white or wheat – think of the flavors you are using.

  • Banana bread works beautifully with peanut butter or ham.
  • Pretzel rolls with ham, turkey, or cheese.
  • Hawaiian bread with ham or chicken salad.
  • Olive bread with salami, cheese, or smoked meats.

You get the idea. Consider the filling that you’ll be using and think outside of the box when it comes to the bread.

Change Up the Filling

Sandwich fillings don’t have to be the same day after day, either.

  • Add macadamia nuts and mango to your chicken salad instead of the more traditional grapes and pecans.
  • Grilled cheese is always popular but try different combinations of cheese and bread. What about Gruyere and sauteed apple on sourdough, for example?
  • Hot, open faced turkey or roast beef sandwiches with gravy is nearly always a big hit. Add caramelized onions, peppers, or other vegetables to change it up.
  • Have at least one vegetarian sandwich on the menu.

Soup de Jour

Many people like soup and sandwiches together but the combinations are too predictable.  A little imagination will  let your guests experience something extraordinary.

  • Instead of toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup what about tomato sandwiches and a cup of cheese soup?
  • Add some jalapeno, cumin, and cilantro to your traditional corn chowder to give it some Southwestern flavor.
  • Instead of potato soup put sweet potato soup on the menu.

Cater to Low-Carb

It can be hard for someone on a low-carb diet to find a quick lunch. Consider ways that you can fill this need easily and deliciously.

  • Offer sandwich fillings on a salad. You can get any Subway sandwich filling combination on a salad so the can cater to low carb and gluten free dieters.
  • Consider other ways of holding fillings. Lettuce wraps, hollowed out cucumbers, or even an unconstructed sandwich on tasting spoons might just turn in to a local favorite.
  • Read up on low carb and gluten free dietary needs and set apart a couple of dishes that follow these guidelines.

Offer Build Your Own Sandwiches and Tasting Menus

Almost everyone likes to be able to create their own favorites. Allow customers to mix and match breads, fillings, sides, and soups to create unique, individual items. You can also fulfill the fantasy of every person who could not choose between two things by creating tasting plates.

  • Flatbreads with different toppings
  • Small shots of different soups
  • Several types of sandwiches in bite sized form

Maintain an open mind and continually looks for ways to make eating more interesting, and faster, for your lunch crowd. You’re payoff will come in increased business, increased profits, and loyal return customers.

image credit: Susan Hoffman



- Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. Cooking, baking, and recipe development have been a major part of her life since she baked her first loaf of bread at age 13. Luckily, with a husband, eight children, a son in law, and three grandchildren she has enough test-tasters to handle the steady stream of experiments that come from her kitchen.

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