The decision was made after collaborating with Udi’s, a gluten-free sub rolls producer based in Denver, Colorado. Jersey Mike’s COO Michael Manzo said Udi’s is the number one brand in the US gluten-free bread category.
“[For folks] with celiac disease or who are gluten-intolerant, we now have a serving for them,” he said.
“[For folks] with celiac disease or who are gluten-intolerant, we now have a serving for them."
Prior to the partnership with Udi’s, Jersey Mike’s had received partnership offers from other gluten-free companies, according to Manzo.
“We had a good number of requests [from other gluten-free producers], but they were not enough for us to pull something off,” he said.
Manzo said Jersey Mike’s did not have problems working with a gluten-free brand in regards to cross-contamination, but the types of batter it is now using are more sensitive to time and temperature than its regular buns.
Training for handling gluten-free buns
The company recently ran a test run of Udi’s gluten-free buns in 200 stores in seven states, which proved "successful,” said Manzo.
However, before the national launch, the company has to spend time training team members on how to handle the products properly.
“Udi’s gluten-free sub rolls arrive at a restaurant individually wrapped and fully baked. The packaging is not opened until the sub is ordered and, as a result, there is little risk of cross contamination with other subs,” said Manzo.
“Our team members wear new gloves when handling the rolls, and use knives and other utensils that haven’t touched other bread products when slicing the gluten-free rolls,” he added. “They also prepare each sub on parchment paper to avoid contact with gluten.”
Manzo said Jersey Mike’s does not set the pricing with its franchisees, but recommends charging $1.50 for a regular gluten-free sub and $3 for a giant sub.
The company is also about to launch a gluten-free cookie.
“We’re coming out with 1,300 units for testing. It will be a national brand,” said Manzo.