The Jersey Mike’s sandwich chain is updating its catering program to address the new realities of that specialized off-premise market.
The two new options are aimed at smaller groups, particularly of essential workers such as healthcare professionals and first responders. Each is packaged to lessen human contact.
The new Individual Lunch Box, for instance, is a complete midday meal in a box that need only be opened by whoever is eating it. Each includes a regular-sized or mini sub, a bag of chips and a freshly baked cookie. A 20-ounce bottled drink can be added.
The other new option is closer to what sandwich chains have traditionally offered as a catering option, a box of subs. But in Jersey Mike’s new version, each is individually wrapped and labeled so no food surface is exposed and eaters don’t have to handle the choices to find their preference. Four varieties of subs are provided in each order of Subs by the Box, and the serving is intended to feed up to 12 people.
Trays of brownies and cookies are also available.
“Our updated catering program addresses the need for individually wrapped meal options requested by so many of our customers,” Rich Hope, CMO of the southern New Jersey-based brand, said in a statement. “Demand right now is for catering options for small gatherings as well as for feeding essential workers.”
Jersey Mike’s is not alone in trying to address the new sensitivities of the catering market, a sales channel that was booming before the pandemic hit. With businesses closed and socializing discouraged, demand dropped precipitously.
Portillo’s, the Chicago-based cult favorite, is attempting to rekindle the fire with a new program that helps groups match their catering needs to what the hot dog chain offers. A new website feature steers potential customers to the options that fit the size and tastes of their groups.
The brand has also introduced several new “party packs” available in both small and large sizes. The small-sized packs serve 8 to 10 people, while the large size is aimed at groups ranging from 16 to 20 people. Serving utensils and disposable tableware are included.