Artisan rolls are a major driver of sandwich success in recent years.
Gone are the days of a sandwich shop serving ham and cheese on a white bread bun. As the consumer’s palette has evolved, so too have sandwich ingredients and the bread that encases them.
Health and taste have become the two top factors in food changes, which is why the artisan roll has triumphed over its ordinary bread peers. National sandwich chains have always been the trend-setters in this department. We’ve seen customers come in droves to these restaurants in search of gourmet sandwiches, and that has trickled down to local retail bakeries and cafes.
Sharing a space with the Santa Barbara (California) Wine Collective, newly opened Helena Avenue Bakery specializes in sweet and savory, and chef Weston Richards (of Spare Parts pop-up acclaim) oversees the take-out picnic counter. Country Walnut bâtard, hand pies with seasonal jam, and the cold fried chicken sandwich on ciabatta are just a few of the signature treats offered.
To examine which direction your bakery should head in, you can look at the successful retailers to see the types of artisan rolls that have been at the top of their sales.
For instance, Schlotzsky’s has long been at or near the top of many Best of Sandwich Chains lists for a reason. Its use of sourdough bread in its signature sandwiches, such as the Deluxe Original, accentuates their taste. This artisan roll is thick, with a chewy crust and a course interior, making it a perfect canopy on which sandwich artists can create.
Another unique bread that has been employed at high-end sandwich chains is focaccia. This flat, oven-baked Italian style bread is similar to pizza dough in texture. Major players in the sandwich world such as Atlanta Bread Company have made variations on this, using flavors like Mediterranean and onion. It can be thicker than a typical flatbread, which makes it a perfect match for artisan sandwiches.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention consistently popular breads like ciabatta and multigrain. Bakeries and cafes across the country have used these to great effect, and both for different reasons. Some refer to ciabatta as the Pinot Noir of artisan breads. While it isn’t the easiest bread to make, it is certainly one of the most rewarding. Sales of ciabatta sandwiches have motivated national sandwich chains for years.
Multigrain, on the other hand, is motivated more by the healthy-eating movement. It is usually very tasty, sure, but more importantly it satisfies the healthy eater’s goal of finding a nutritious meal option that has the added benefit of a delicious artisan taste.
Sandwich sales can be a major driver of bakery business success, and your mastery of these artisan rolls will make your menu the shining light in your local sandwich community.