Give me 100 sandwiches... every day for the rest of your life.
May 16, 2014 7:35 AM   Subscribe

A large thrift retail store wants to start selling pre-made sandwiches in south Austin. Specific and general recommendations welcome, i.e. bakers, caterers, sandwich shops, etc. Who should I ask?!

I figure it's guaranteed money to them, but all of the caterers I'm looking at are WAAAAYYYYY too fancy, and most of the bakeries don't do sandwiches. It's hard to judge the volume. The store serves over 1,000 customers a day, maybe more.
posted by OnTheLastCastle to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Ideefixe at 7:41 AM on May 16, 2014

Check with Sysco for supplies. They should have a sales rep who will educate you.

Do they have to be pre-made? Do you have kitchen facilities where you can make them up yourself in the early hours? There may be tax incentives for creating a kitchen and hiring staff for it.
posted by myselfasme at 7:45 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I loved Texas French Bread when I was living in Austin.
posted by goggie at 7:51 AM on May 16, 2014

Talk to some of the local food truck operators. One of my close friends has a food truck in SA and she often does this kind of thing during the truck's off hours. I'm not sure one truck could handle this on a daily basis, but having a rotating selection could be very cool.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:54 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

In Austin? What's the demographic? Older people, college students, etc?

Just off the top of my head (without knowing what kind of customers they get) I would avoid Sysco and Costco unless they have some organic offerings or something to appeal to the more... artsy crowd. I have visited friends in Austin and people there are far more progressive than most of Texas, with tons of amazing food trucks, community gardens, etc.

Sounds like a great opportunity to start a sandwich business, actually. Source locally grown ingredients, talk to those bakeries about bulk discounts for breads, engage with some food trucks or other smaller eateries that might want to help with the load.
posted by dozo at 7:56 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you only looking for specific places to buy pre-made sandwiches or would you be open to other suggestions/feedback on the idea? I'm trying to imagine buying a pre-made sandwich at a thrift shop and the whole thing just sounds...unappealing. Maybe if you tell us a bit more about the set-up (i.e. you have space for a nice cafe on the side of the building, with shade and seats and a place to buy cold drinks?) but right now it's hard to imagine what problem this is trying to solve, because maybe there's a better way to solve it.
posted by barnone at 8:10 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think you're going to need licenses for this. Talk to the city government.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:13 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Making the food there isn't an option. It's not what we're looking to do. We just have a lot of customers at that specific location that stay all day so we sell food now.

Food trucks are a great idea! I might have to tour south congress tomorrow to "sample" some options.

We have the counter and licenses. I don't need "have you thought of X" logistics, just specific place or type of business suggestions. I hadn't considered food trucks at all for instance. Thanks!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:14 AM on May 16, 2014

Are you looking for pre-packaged ham and cheese sandwiches you can put on a shelf in a cooler? Or more for a cafe style display of baguettes with prosciutto and brie that you can lovingly arrange on ceramic platters in a glass display case?

For the former, look to companies that do "Direct Store Delivery" of sandwiches, like Landshire or Deli Express.

If you're looking for more cafe-style products, talk to businesses that already sell the type of sandwiches that you're interested in and see if they take wholesale accounts. My sister-in-law owns a bakery cafe (not in Austin) where they sell soup and sandwiches and scones and cookies and such, and they wholesale their baked goods to several other places around town. You don't necessarily want a commercial bread bakery for this, you want someone that is already making a hundred sandwiches every morning for their own display cases and has the capacity to make more for you. If there's a small local chain with a few stores, they're more likely to have the capacity and quality control you're looking for than a one-off location.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:15 AM on May 16, 2014

I have a friend who owns a couple of Subway sandwich franchises, and he has a contract with another company to do this. His employees make the sandwiches for the contract in the morning before they open the store to walk-ins.
posted by vignettist at 8:17 AM on May 16, 2014

Pre-packaged stuff in a cooler. Nothing too fancy. It's not a fancy place. :)
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2014

In that case, maybe try to offer a bunch of things including sandwiches: little greek yogurts, granola bars, bananas, nice local-bakery pre-packaged cookies. Lots of folks (like me) wouldn't really buy 99% of pre-packaged sandwiches but would pick up another snack.

It looks like The Green Cart sells pre-packaged wholesale sandwiches in your area. They already provide sandwiches to 40+ locations in Austin. Seems like a decent place to start.
posted by barnone at 9:16 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Second The Green Cart!
posted by jaksemas at 1:57 PM on May 19, 2014

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