by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
April 15, 2011 – Begun in April 2010 at approximately fifty Subway™ Chicago locations, the successful falafel test menu item will be offered "in a few weeks" at all Illinois Subway™ stores according to the Subway™ regional office in Chicago. Falafel is a Middle Eastern food made principally with garbanzo beans.
According to the regional Subway™ office in Chicago, the falafel patty itself is all-vegetable. As is customary, it may be ordered on any bread product offered at Subway™.
The all-vegetable falafel "puck," identified as such by Zaibak Brothers and Company™, the family-owned Chicago manufacturer of the falafel test item, arrives "flash frozen and 80% cooked" at Subway™ locations according to the regional Chicago Subway™ office. The cooking process is completed in a TurboChef™ oven separate from all egg and meat products. Pucks are placed on specially designed paper intended for one-time use and heated until crispy on the outside and "fluffy and moist" on the inside. Three pucks come on a six-inch sub; six on a foot-long. Now, in Chicago stores, a foot-long falafel sub is offered for $5.00.
The falafel sandwich is served with a cucumber sauce that contains dairy. Patrons may request the Fat Free Sweet Onion Sauce that is an all-vegetable sauce available at Subway™. Tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and olive oil are standard at all Subway™ stores and may be selected as condiments for the falafel menu item.
The VRG is very pleased that Subway™, which now is the leader among all restaurant chains, including McDonald's™, in terms of number of store locations, offers a "non-traditional" menu item that is a favorite among many vegetarians and vegans. This is not surprising for Subway™ given its non-traditional tendencies. In fact, according to a March 2011 Wall Street Journal article, Subway™ regularly opens outlets in non-traditional locations such as an automobile showroom in California; an appliance store in Brazil; a ferry terminal in Seattle; a riverboat in Germany; and a Goodwill store in South Carolina. Currently, approximately one-fourth of Subway locations are in non-traditional locations.
Mr. Don Fertman, Subway’s™ Chief Development Officer, stated, “The non-traditional is becoming traditional.” With the falafel sandwich, Subway™ is non-traditional in a fast food/quick service chain food sense, too. With time and customer support, the "non-traditional' falafel can become "traditional" fast food/quick service chain fare.
To show support for this sandwich, and to encourage Subway™ to adopt is as part of its standard menu, purchase this item when in an Illinois Subway™ and encourage your Midwest friends and family to do so. Become a friend of Subway™ falafel on Facebook and post a favorable comment requesting that it become a permanent menu item: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=144712849001&v=wall#!/group.php?gid=144712849001&v=info
For more information on quick service chains, see