Beef prices are expected to be slightly lower in 2018 than last year, according to analysts, due to about a 3% increase in domestic cattle production and a rise in beef imports. Additionally, pork continues to be a good buy, and consumer demand remains high for red meats, per Technomic’s Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite. Operators are taking advantage of these trends to layer beef, pork and other meats into innovative new sandwich builds like these.
1. Doubling down on beef
Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli tapped the New York City delicatessan tradition for its latest sandwich, the Bronx Pastrami Mo. Grilled pastrami shows up twice in the hearty build, per its menu description: chopped sirloin with melted aged cheddar, premium grilled pastrami, sauteed onions, Dijon mustard and roasted garlic aioli—topped with melted Swiss and even more pastrami.
2. On the leaner side
Newk’s Eatery goes in the opposite direction with its Resolution Roast Beef sandwich. A new addition to Newk’s under-600-calorie menu, it features hand-carved rare roast beef served on toasted French bread with arugula, sliced tomatoes and a bold horseradish sauce. “Roast beef is often overlooked when developing a healthful dish, but it’s low in fat, high in protein and reasonable in calories,” says Stewart Slocum, Newk’s CMO. He notes the sandwich answers the question, “What would men 25-45 look to eat when they want to be healthy?”
3. Gyros spin into chains
Gyros used to be the province of Middle Eastern street carts and mom and pop restaurants specializing in spit-roasted meats. Now that cooked and sliced gyro meat is available from several suppliers, gyro sandwiches are exploding on mainstream quick-service menus. Examples include:
• Potbelly’s new Greek Gyro Flats, which top the seasoned meat with feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, onion and tomato on a folded, toasted flatbread.
• Arby’s current LTO, a Traditional Greek Gyro, which offers the gyro meat folded into a warm pita bread with tomato, red onions, shredded iceberg lettuce and tzatziki sauce.
• A sandwich in Which Wich’s new Brunchwich line, which appeals to morning meat eaters with rotisserie beef-and-lamb gyro slices on a toasted baguette with smoked bacon, American cheese, tomatoes, harissa mayonnaise and a sunny-side up egg.
4. Meat meets the melt
IHOP is also going meatier in the morning with the launch of its Create Your Own Melt item. Customers can build a sandwich by filling grilled artisan sourdough bread with scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, American cheese and a choice of shredded corned beef as well as the more standard ham and bacon. Vegetarians can opt for fire-roasted poblano peppers and onions.
5. For white meat fans
For those looking to satisfy protein cravings with red meat alternatives, McAlister’s Deli is menuing a new Peppercorn Turkey Ranch sandwich. The item layers sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, bacon, avocado, red onions, tomatoes and spring mix on toasted nine-grain bread. The name refers to the drizzle of ranch dressing and seasoning of black pepper on top.
6. That's some bologna
Fried bologna is sizzling up the sandwich menu in several indies. Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans has become an Instagram star for its version—a sandwich piled high with artisan bologna, hot English mustard, potato chips, shredded lettuce, mayonnaise and American cheese on white bread. Tenn16 Food & Drink Co. in Nashville offers up fried bologna with provolone, romaine, tomato and local bacon and mustard on sourdough.