After receiving positive reviews in several test markets, sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s Subs is introducing gluten-free sub rolls at all 1,300-plus U.S. locations beginning Dec. 4. Jersey Mike’s will be using Udi’s Gluten Free rolls nationwide after testing them in stores in California, Colorado and Florida. The Gluten Free Philly blog first reported news of the planned roll-out. The Udi’s rolls were chosen over another company’s gluten-free par-baked rolls that were tested earlier this year in other markets like Philadelphia, New Jersey and North Carolina. Jersey Mike’s currently has locations in 44 states and Washington, D.C.
“The idea of offering gluten-free rolls came from a franchisee whose daughter had celiac disease,” explained Michael Manzo, Jersey Mike’s Chief Operating Officer. “Before going national, we decided to try a pilot in several markets and we are happy to report success: customers loved the taste and they were excited to be able to eat a Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich again—or for the very first time.”
According to Manzo, the company is in the process of training employees on how to incorporate the new product into sandwich preparation. The rolls arrive at each store individually wrapped and fully baked. Manzo says there is little risk of cross-contamination with other subs because the Udi’s packaging is not opened until the gluten-free sub is ordered. Employees will change gloves before handling the rolls and use knives and other utensils that haven’t touched traditional bread when slicing the gluten-free version. They will also prepare each sandwich on parchment paper to avoid contact with the counter. Manzo said that the company is working with the Gluten Intolerance Group to obtain certification.
The gluten-free sub roll can be used for most hot or cold subs on Jersey Mike’s menu because the majority of sandwich varieties don’t contain gluten. Giant-size sandwiches made with the Udi’s roll will cost $3 to $4 extra, with a regular-size offering (made on a giant roll that has been cut down with a clean knife) an estimated $1 to $2 more.