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Sandwiches star on summer menus

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Convenient, quick and endlessly customizable, sandwiches are a cornerstone of summer eating. From a fried-chicken biscuit for breakfast to a tasty club sandwich for lunch to a backyard barbecue pulled pork sandwich for dinner, there are numerous ways to enjoy sandwiches all summer long.

With 61% of consumers eating a sandwich at least once a week, according to Technomic’s 2018Sandwich report, they’re an important part of any menu. They’re great grab-and-go options, but they’re ideal for dine-in occasions as well.

Chicken sandwiches are the most common sandwich on the menu, leading the charge with more than 19,000 iterations across the country’s restaurants, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. But what makes a chicken sandwich a summertime chicken sandwich?

Fresh produce and lighter preparations

Sandwiches over the summer tend to be a bit lighter than their cool-weather counterparts. For instance, instead of a gooey, rich meatball sandwich, topped with melted mozzarella and just the right amount of marinara, diners might be more interested in a chicken banh mi, with roasted or barbecue chicken, piled high with pickled carrots, daikon radish, cucumber and cilantro.

Thai lettuce wraps are also a sandwich iteration that’s great during the summer. Made with sliced beef or chicken, these low-carb wraps are great for beating the heat and can be topped with ingredients such as cabbage, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms and more.

Tangy and unique sauces, toppings and condiments

Some of the fastest-growing sandwich ingredients include harissa (up 38% year over year, according to MenuMonitor), lemon dressing (+33%), malt vinegar (+30%) and Mexican cheese (+30%). These flavorful additions to sandwiches are great for diners who want to try something new.

Despite soaring temperatures, spicy chicken sandwiches are especially popular right now, perhaps because fried chicken is a cookout staple and comfort food fave. Fried chicken sandwiches topped off with a fiery sauce such as Buffalo or Sriracha are popping up on menus all over. For instance, at three top chains (Whataburger, Hardee’s and Culver’s), spicy chicken limited-time offers are on the summer menu now, in the form of a Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strip Sandwich, a Hot Chicken Sandwich and a Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich, respectively.

Other unique sauces and condiments that are perfect for summertime include pesto, chipotle ranch (a creamy dressing with a bit of smoky heat) and roasted red pepper aioli (a rich, tangy spread).

From grab-and-go eats for diners on the go, to options stacked high with all the fixings, sandwiches during summertime are the perfect food. Diners can choose what toppings they want, explore new flavors or order a comfort-food favorite, making this a hot area of opportunity.

This post is sponsored by Pierce Chicken

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