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The new pasta line is the boldest menu addition Quiznos has attempted under its current ownership. With the move, Quiznos joins limited-service players like bakery-café competitor Panera Bread and the sandwich chain Earl of Sandwich, both of which rolled out new pasta lines last year.

The platform is based on a new SKU: a pre-cooked cavatappi, or corkscrew shaped, pasta that will come into the restaurants frozen and can be reheated with the various sauces. No new equipment is necessary.

The macaroni and cheese, for example, which is topped with a new sauce made with Romano, Parmesan, provolone and fontina cheese, will be available three ways: classic; with bacon; and with the lobster-seafood topping while that LTO is available. The three macaroni-and-cheese options are topped with housemade breadcrumbs and run through the oven to “toast.”

Quiznos chicken-pesto pastaA marinara pasta is topped with a light basil marinara sauce and topped with either meatballs or sausage — both existing ingredients — and a cheese blend before being toasted in the oven.

A chicken-pesto pasta option is topped with the existing ingredients of chicken and pesto sauce, tossed with a new mix of balsamic-marinated diced tomatoes. The pesto is also topped with cheese before toasting.

Lintonsmith said Quiznos tested the pastas in two markets: Minneapolis and San Diego. Test units found that the pastas brought in more traffic at dinner and on the weekends.

“It was a frequency driver, bringing in new guests but it’s also great for addressing the veto vote, or the person who just doesn’t want a sub, but might want pasta,” she said. “It’s also great for kids. For dinner and for weekends, it will help reach a broader family audience.”

The pastas fit within the sandwich chain’s positioning of offering high-quality ingredients, she said. And because the noodles work so well with a number of the chain’s existing ingredients, there is plenty of room for menu extension.

“The cavatappi gives some legs to get into sides and catering with family sizes,” she said. “We have so many high-quality ingredients that could be put on the pasta.”

With the new platform, however, Quiznos has also done some streamlining of the menu, which Lintonsmith said was part of ongoing initiatives to simplify some processes. “We’re working with our franchisees and the operations team on that,” she said.

After announcing the rollout to franchisees last week, some had questions on procedures, said Lintonsmith, adding that the feedback from franchisees about the new platform so far has been positive.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout