You’ve probably heard by now that Jason’s Deli is in the process of rolling out a gluten-free sandwich option. They’re using Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread, complemented by a full gluten-free menu, to make gluten-free diners in 25 states tout the Texas-based company with an enthusiasm usually reserved for small, dedicated bakeries and restaurants.
Now that the gluten-free sandwich program has been active for almost two full weeks, I wanted to investigate its progress. How many gluten-free diners were heading out to try the sandwiches? How many have approved? I’d already heard from Tiffany, read on some great blogs, and seen on this YouTube review that Udi’s makes a mean gluten-free whole grain bread, but I wanted to find out how Jason’s Deli was turning loaves over.
A summary: The small test market became a large test market on July 5th, but still, not all Jason’s Deli locations have gotten their first shipments of Udi’s bread. Those that have, though, report that the program is off to a good, crackling start, even if it hasn’t been an instant firework.
“We just started this week,” reported Manager Erin of the Shreveport, Louisiana location. She noted that they had received “a couple” of requests for the gluten-free sandwiches, but admitted that they weren’t exactly selling out.
Manager Brian of the 16th Street location in Denver sang a slightly different tune. “You know,” he said, “it has been increasingly popular. We probably get several requests a week, and we’re getting more as word gets around.” And word does get around in a town like Denver. With almost 30 options for gluten-free dining (according to our Restaurant Guide) in a relatively small city, Denverites have a solid gluten-free community that is bound to pass along good news like this.
All of the managers I contacted confirmed that Jason’s Deli employees had received proper training on preparing and serving gluten-free meals. They learned to clean the knives and boards that they use, as well as other preparation surfaces. Another big kudos to Jason’s: Every staff member who picked up the phone knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked about the gluten-free sandwiches (we all know that’s not always the case – ever been to a restaurant where the hostess doesn’t know about the gluten-free menu hiding under her stand?).
This training, the yummy bread, and all the publicity we’ve seen on so many gluten-free blogs has helped Jason’s to ignite what seems to be a slow, spreading fire in the gluten-free marketplace. Manager Paul of the North Hurstbourne location in Louisville, Kentucky, said they’ve been selling “a couple of gluten-free sandwiches a day,” and then he added that they’ve seen “a lot of people get really excited about it.”
All managers agreed that the gluten-free sandwiches would be available for awhile, and they all expressed hope that the news of their gluten-free sandwiches would spread by word of mouth. If they get enough business from the gluten-free additions, said Manager Brian of Denver, “these things will stick around indefinitely. I guarantee it.”
So, gluten-free diners, get out there and support this gluten-free initiative from Jason’s Deli. Buy yourself a gluten-free sandwich and tell us, in our comments section, how much you enjoyed it. Let other gluten-free diners know it’s worth it, so that they, too, go buy themselves sandwiches. Now that Jason’s has done its part, it’s up to us to make the gluten-free sandwiches stay on the menu for good! Plus, we’ll forward your comments to Jason’s Deli, because they deserve to know how much we appreciate their efforts!