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eG Spotlight Forum Conversation with Spiro Baltas


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This Monday through Friday, 20 through 24 February 2006, we’ll be welcoming Spiro Baltas of Starwich for an eG Spotlight Forum Conversation. Although the official start is on Monday, you may begin posting questions and comments for Spiro now.

gallery_1_2470_537820.jpg

Pomegranate chicken, one of Starwich's specialty sandwiches. Photo courtesy of Starwich.

Starwich, now with four stores in Manhattan and two more on the way this month (the Upper East Side store, at 84th and Lexington, is opening this month), wants to revolutionize the salad and sandwich business with upscale, high-quality ingredients (soft shell crab, lobster, Wagyu beef and even shaved black Perigord truffles in season) and diverse options (there are typically more than 150 ingredients available). Spiro will be here to discuss the Starwich philosophy and business model in what promises to be a lively conversation.

A little bit about Spiro Baltas. His first job out of college had him working as the morning front desk manager at a Marriott hotel near his home town of Boston. Not being an early riser by nature, however, he jumped on an opportunity to move into a management position at the hotel’s restaurant, at night. He threw himself into learning the computer systems and models behind a successful modern restaurant and later parlayed his expertise into a position at La Familia, an Italian family-style restaurant mini-empire with two restaurants doing a combined $5 million a year in the Boston area. Two years later, he had transformed La Familia into a five-restaurant group generating $20 million in sales annually. He quickly became a sought-after restaurant industry consultant.

After a stint at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, where he learned the wine side of the business, he came to New York in 1998 as restaurant and wine director of the legendary Tavern on the Green restaurant. Later, he worked for the Sbarro restaurant group (which, in addition to the shopping-mall Italian eateries it operates worldwide, also runs fine-dining restaurants in New York) and the BR Guest group (operator of Blue Water Grill, Fiamma and other popular New York restaurants).

Spiro and his team were recently our guests for an eG Radio foodcast. You can also read an excerpt from my book, Turning the Tables, about Starwich: “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Starwich,” reprinted in the Daily Gullet.

We've also published Ride of a Lifetime: the Starwich startup story," as told by Spiro.

For existing eG Forums discussion and information relating to Starwich please see Starwich Salads & Sandwiches: Reviews & Discussion.

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The flagship Starwich store on 42nd Street in New York City. Photo courtesy of Starwich.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Spiro, thanks very much for joining us. As you know, I've been following and chronicling Starwich since before the first store even opened, and since it opened I've been a regular at the 42nd Street flagship. Whenever I eat there, my reaction is that even though Starwich is technically a sandwich shop it has a lot of the individuality and attention to detail one might expect at an upscale, single-establishment, chef-owned restaurant. And always when I'm there, I see either you, your business partner Mike Ryan or your executive chef Jack Kiggins.

So my question is this: as you go from one store to six and beyond, and you open in other cities, how are you going to maintain the current level of performance? How can you make sure that the sandwich I order at store number eight in Boston or store number one hundred in Vancouver looks and tastes the same as the one Jack made for me last week, and is served in a similar environment accompanied by service as dynamic as I get when Mike Ryan is directly monitoring the staff? How can you capture this kind of individuality and intimacy in a chain? Is it possible, and if so how do you plan to pull it off?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Hey Spiro! Thanks for joining us.

When you first started the company, I was made to understand that one of the unique peices of your business model was the integration of smart card technology.

From Steven's initial writeup of Starwich on our original discussion thread:

Starwich is a high-tech, culinarily ambitious, classy sandwich-and-salad endeavor. Customers will soon be issued "smart cards," which are small plastic credit-card-sized devices with an embedded computer chip (100 of them have been distributed for testing, and they'll be implemented for all customers soon). The Starwich smart card remembers your name, your three favorite sandwich combinations (right down to special requests like "extra mayo"), and your last ten orders. Customers can also soon access their profiles online at http://www.starwich.com, where they can add money to a virtual account that lets them pay for sandwiches with the smart card. In the course of writing my book, I was offered more free meals than I can count, yet the Starwich smart card was the freebie I wanted most.

Those smart cards will come in handy, because a customer has a lot of choice at Starwich: there are in the neighborhood of 130 ingredients available, including yellowfoot mushrooms, boneless short ribs, soft shell crabs, serrano ham, cheeses ranging from roncal to manchego to port salut, caramelized onions, lobster, fresh sashimi-grade tuna, pine nuts, and figs. Dressings include roasted garlic pesto, roasted pepper aioli, and sherry vinaigrette.

As the resident technologist and cynical bastard on the team, I said the following:

Could be cool and the next big thing. Could be a colossal failure.

I suspect the smart card thing will be the first to go as will a mega simplification of the menu the second its evident that normal human beings are too stupid to grok the concept, much like what happened with the original Craft. Smart cards suck. Force people to use them as part of your business model and you are asking for trouble. I've never seen a smart card implementation work yet. The technology isn't ready for prime time yet. Just ask the people at VISA, they've wasted an obscene amount of money researching it and they've deep sixed every attempt to integrate them as part of their product line.

130 ingredients to individually choose from is just too damnned much. It isnt going to work in the back of the house during a busy lunch hour in the middle of manhattan, especially if people are indecisive -- do you know a single one of these working girls that know what the hell they want to eat when they get to the counter? I sure don't. You expect them to read a handout on line so they can figure out the 6 things they want on their sandwich? 'Cause they sure as hell aren't going to be able to read from a list of 130 choices listed above the counter area. The ingredients need to be grouped in pre-set combos which can then be matched, otherwise you are going to have complete chaos.

All I gotta say is if it takes them more than 3 minutes to prepare my sandwich to my specifications, the place aint gonna work. If the smartcard technology ends up making the response time slower than that, they're hosed. And don't even think about what will happen the first time their fancy schmancy POS system they rely on breaks down during the height of manhattan lunch hour. Utter chaos. The customers will be resorting to cannibalism and it will be mass hysteria, they will have to call in a SWAT team.

There was much spirited argument afterwards.

Now, two and a half years later, it looks like some of what I predicted came to pass. You ditched the smartcards (or rather, chose not to introduce the technology for the same reasons for which it was originally intended -- you use them for other purposes now instead, such as tracking usage of Wi-Fi and Phone Chargers, Fax Machines and Photocopiers) you added 8 specialty sandwiches and 8 salads (all of which are very good, by the way -- I love the shortrib and soft shell crab!) but you kept the ingredient card.

Why did you finally decide not to use the Smart Cards for sandwich preference tracking and quick ordering? For the reasons I outlined above? Or for some other reasons? Was the implementation more complex than originally thought? Perhaps its on hold?

I originally had my doubts about Starwich's long term viability, but it seems like you guys have adapted to fit actual business realities and are now doing very well -- It's always a hard choice to make those changes when you have strong emotional and philosophical ties as the business founder and so wanted to make those things work. I salute you and respect you for doing so and modifying your convictions and concept rather than doggedly persuing a bad strategy, which many new businesses end up doing and folding as a result.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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First let me say that I am really intrigued by the notion of essentially simple, everyday food elevated through the use of quality ingredients. So bravo for what you're doing.

I am sure Kansas City is not on the top five list of markets into which you plan to expand, and you mentioned in the radio broadcast with Steve that you want to stay geographically tight in the early stages so you have the ability to quickly put out fires.

I am curious, though, if you have a timeline or roadmap for expanding once your proof of concept is complete in the northeast? Have you come up with a formula (or adapted an existing formula) of demographics required in an area to make the gamble of locating there viable? Living in a third-tier city I am always interested in how these decisions are made. We have had a Dean & DeLuca for several years, for example, but have yet to attract a Trader Joe's.

Lastly, if you succumb to the NYC trend of naming sandwiches after famous patrons, what will the Steve Shaw have on it?

Thanks!

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I join Judy (a.k.a. "moosnsqrl") in welcoming Starwich to the American food-scape. I also join Judy in extending an (selfishly) enthusiastic invitation for you all to consider Kansas City as a part of your future expansion!

Ulterior Epicure.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Spiro, I wonder if there are any ingredients or preparations that you are not currently using but either considered and discarded or are considering introducing in the future. Or, if you prefer, you could address the question of what goes into your choices of ingredients to carry in the first place (other than quality, which should go without saying). Do you survey your customers about these kinds of things?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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you mentioned in the radio broadcast with Steve that you want to stay geographically tight in the early stages so you have the ability to quickly put out fires.

I am curious, though, if you have a timeline or roadmap for expanding once your proof of concept is complete in the northeast?  Have you come up with a formula (or adapted an existing formula) of demographics required in an area to make the gamble of locating there viable? 

To build on that, when I had my plans for a fast-casual sandwich joint (all written up and everything!), I thought I'd want to limit it to the Northeast for phase 1, then perhaps California for phase 2, then perhaps the rest of the country eventually.

Have you made similar plans regarding how to target your growth

geographically (highest density vs. fastest growing vs. distribution network-based)

and as to ownership model (franchise versus corporate versus combination)?

Also, how soon do you think operations will have been standardized such that you feel comfortable expanding to Philadelphia and elsewhere?

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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The upscale sandwich market appears to have blossomed. How do you assess your competition from 'wichCraft and such...

What do you think of the Pret a Manger entry into the NYC market? Does the Craft brand tie-in give them an undeserved leg up, or do you see them as fighting fair on an even playing field? How do you assess the rest of the upscale sandwich joints that are all over the place?

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Hi, Steve. The key to starting up a multi-part chain is having people who worked with you in the past who understand your culture, and hiring well-enough in advance to give new managers time to grasp the systems, ambiance and culture before going to another restaurant. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being system-oriented. We focused on building these systems into the first restaurant, and we have been refining them as we grow.

Spiro, thanks very much for joining us. As you know, I've been following and chronicling Starwich since before the first store even opened, and since it opened I've been a regular at the 42nd Street flagship. Whenever I eat there, my reaction is that even though Starwich is technically a sandwich shop it has a lot of the individuality and attention to detail one might expect at an upscale, single-establishment, chef-owned restaurant. And always when I'm there, I see either you, your business partner Mike Ryan or your executive chef Jack Kiggins.

So my question is this: as you go from one store to six and beyond, and you open in other cities, how are you going to maintain the current level of performance? How can you make sure that the sandwich I order at store number eight in Boston or store number one hundred in Vancouver looks and tastes the same as the one Jack made for me last week, and is served in a similar environment accompanied by service as dynamic as I get when Mike Ryan is directly monitoring the staff? How can you capture this kind of individuality and intimacy in a chain? Is it possible, and if so how do you plan to pull it off?

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Hi Jason,

Actually, we ended up not rolling out the smart card as a response to our customers. When we were designing the concept, we felt that consumers would come in and create their own salads and sandwiches, and consistently order the same thing. We have found, however, that our customers are continually creating new recipes. Few people order the same thing time after time, so the smart card was not as useful to our customers as we had predicted. With the exception of the smart card, the concept, including the vast selection of ingredients, has stayed consistent from day one.

Hey Spiro! Thanks for joining us.

When you first started the company, I was made to understand that one of the unique peices of your business model was the integration of smart card technology.

From Steven's initial writeup of Starwich on our original discussion thread:

Starwich is a high-tech, culinarily ambitious, classy sandwich-and-salad endeavor. Customers will soon be issued "smart cards," which are small plastic credit-card-sized devices with an embedded computer chip (100 of them have been distributed for testing, and they'll be implemented for all customers soon). The Starwich smart card remembers your name, your three favorite sandwich combinations (right down to special requests like "extra mayo"), and your last ten orders. Customers can also soon access their profiles online at http://www.starwich.com, where they can add money to a virtual account that lets them pay for sandwiches with the smart card. In the course of writing my book, I was offered more free meals than I can count, yet the Starwich smart card was the freebie I wanted most.

Those smart cards will come in handy, because a customer has a lot of choice at Starwich: there are in the neighborhood of 130 ingredients available, including yellowfoot mushrooms, boneless short ribs, soft shell crabs, serrano ham, cheeses ranging from roncal to manchego to port salut, caramelized onions, lobster, fresh sashimi-grade tuna, pine nuts, and figs. Dressings include roasted garlic pesto, roasted pepper aioli, and sherry vinaigrette.

As the resident technologist and cynical bastard on the team, I said the following:

Could be cool and the next big thing. Could be a colossal failure.

I suspect the smart card thing will be the first to go as will a mega simplification of the menu the second its evident that normal human beings are too stupid to grok the concept, much like what happened with the original Craft. Smart cards suck. Force people to use them as part of your business model and you are asking for trouble. I've never seen a smart card implementation work yet. The technology isn't ready for prime time yet. Just ask the people at VISA, they've wasted an obscene amount of money researching it and they've deep sixed every attempt to integrate them as part of their product line.

130 ingredients to individually choose from is just too damnned much. It isnt going to work in the back of the house during a busy lunch hour in the middle of manhattan, especially if people are indecisive -- do you know a single one of these working girls that know what the hell they want to eat when they get to the counter? I sure don't. You expect them to read a handout on line so they can figure out the 6 things they want on their sandwich? 'Cause they sure as hell aren't going to be able to read from a list of 130 choices listed above the counter area. The ingredients need to be grouped in pre-set combos which can then be matched, otherwise you are going to have complete chaos.

All I gotta say is if it takes them more than 3 minutes to prepare my sandwich to my specifications, the place aint gonna work. If the smartcard technology ends up making the response time slower than that, they're hosed. And don't even think about what will happen the first time their fancy schmancy POS system they rely on breaks down during the height of manhattan lunch hour. Utter chaos. The customers will be resorting to cannibalism and it will be mass hysteria, they will have to call in a SWAT team.

There was much spirited argument afterwards.

Now, two and a half years later, it looks like some of what I predicted came to pass. You ditched the smartcards (or rather, chose not to introduce the technology for the same reasons for which it was originally intended -- you use them for other purposes now instead, such as tracking usage of Wi-Fi and Phone Chargers, Fax Machines and Photocopiers) you added 8 specialty sandwiches and 8 salads (all of which are very good, by the way -- I love the shortrib and soft shell crab!) but you kept the ingredient card.

Why did you finally decide not to use the Smart Cards for sandwich preference tracking and quick ordering? For the reasons I outlined above? Or for some other reasons? Was the implementation more complex than originally thought? Perhaps its on hold?

I originally had my doubts about Starwich's long term viability, but it seems like you guys have adapted to fit actual business realities and are now doing very well -- It's always a hard choice to make those changes when you have strong emotional and philosophical ties as the business founder and so wanted to make those things work. I salute you and respect you for doing so and modifying your convictions and concept rather than doggedly persuing a bad strategy, which many new businesses end up doing and folding as a result.

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Hi Judy,

The good thing about choosing cities is that there have been so many advancements in statistical analysis of demographics that companies can now make much more informed location decisions. The demographics play a large part in location decisions, but you also have to use your instincts, and that's our formula. Over the next two years we will continue to focus on the Northeast, especially New York, Boston, and DC. We will assess future growth plans after that.

As for the Steve Shaw, I’m not quite sure about the complete ingredient list, but it will definitely feature bacon.

First let me say that I am really intrigued by the notion of essentially simple, everyday food elevated through the use of quality ingredients. So bravo for what you're doing.

I am sure Kansas City is not on the top five list of markets into which you plan to expand, and you mentioned in the radio broadcast with Steve that you want to stay geographically tight in the early stages so you have the ability to quickly put out fires.

I am curious, though, if you have a timeline or roadmap for expanding once your proof of concept is complete in the northeast?  Have you come up with a formula (or adapted an existing formula) of demographics required in an area to make the gamble of locating there viable?  Living in a third-tier city I am always interested in how these decisions are made.  We have had a Dean & DeLuca for several years, for example, but have yet to attract a Trader Joe's.

Lastly, if you succumb to the NYC trend of naming sandwiches after famous patrons, what will the Steve Shaw have on it?

Thanks!

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Kansas City, here we come!

I join Judy (a.k.a. "moosnsqrl") in welcoming Starwich to the American food-scape.  I also join Judy in extending an (selfishly) enthusiastic invitation for you all to consider Kansas City as a part of your future expansion! 

Ulterior Epicure.

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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my first restaurant working experience was at Subway - and sandwiches have always been close to heart.

the whole industry is being shaken up by breakfast places introducing sandwiches, burger joints pushing them big, and different competitors opening up.

you are entering the market from a different side of the spectrum.

What would be your take on the market growing on the whole? Do you think it will start entering the gourmet meal market (it already has by you) - where you can have quality - high quality ingredients and a balanced meal *to go*.

Thank you in advance.

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We wanted to include high-quality (and some eccentric) ingredients that we were familiar with from our years of restaurant industry experience, and that other restaurants weren’t using. At this point, we have enough choices to keep our customers satisfied, so we don’t see a need for more. However, we constantly monitor which ingredients are ordered by location and season. We have done consumer research, and we also monitor the results from our online surveys. As we expand, we will continue to track which ingredients are consumer favorites.

Spiro, I wonder if there are any ingredients or preparations that you are not currently using but either considered and discarded or are considering introducing in the future. Or, if you prefer, you could address the question of what goes into your choices of ingredients to carry in the first place (other than quality, which should go without saying). Do you survey your customers about these kinds of things?

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Hi Herb,

When my partner Mike and I were developing the concept, we realized that the operations side of the business would be very complex. So our plan focuses more on getting the operations tight and putting a fantastic team together, and I mentioned earlier that we have been busy hiring great people and refining our systems. We’re close to the point at which our systems will be robust enough to expand to a new city, and our future expansion will depend on how quickly we learn lessons from that expansion, and how well we learn them.

We’ll base our location decisions on demographics, real estate, and our instincts.

you mentioned in the radio broadcast with Steve that you want to stay geographically tight in the early stages so you have the ability to quickly put out fires.

I am curious, though, if you have a timeline or roadmap for expanding once your proof of concept is complete in the northeast?  Have you come up with a formula (or adapted an existing formula) of demographics required in an area to make the gamble of locating there viable? 

To build on that, when I had my plans for a fast-casual sandwich joint (all written up and everything!), I thought I'd want to limit it to the Northeast for phase 1, then perhaps California for phase 2, then perhaps the rest of the country eventually.

Have you made similar plans regarding how to target your growth

geographically (highest density vs. fastest growing vs. distribution network-based)

and as to ownership model (franchise versus corporate versus combination)?

Also, how soon do you think operations will have been standardized such that you feel comfortable expanding to Philadelphia and elsewhere?

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Hi Chris,

Sandwiches aren’t the only things that have moved upscale. All aspects of restaurant QSRs appear to be moving there: salads, the level of ambiance, individual ingredients, presentation, etc. I think the fact that so many quick-casual/quick-upscale restaurants have sprung up recently shows that we are all moving in the right direction. That said, Starwich is a completely different business model from other places. The most important thing that differentiates us from other salad and sandwich concepts is our focus on mass customization. There continues to be an increase in the percentage of customized meals at Starwich.

The upscale sandwich market appears to have blossomed.  How do you assess your competition from 'wichCraft and such...

What do you think of the Pret a Manger entry into the NYC market?  Does the Craft brand tie-in give them an undeserved leg up, or do you see them as fighting fair on an even playing field?  How do you assess the rest of the upscale sandwich joints that are all over the place?

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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So, without getting too mired in statistics, can you give us an idea of how your business breaks-down?

Breakfast versus lunch?

sandwiches versus salads?

catering versus dine-in?

"regular" ($8.95) sandwiches versus those with one or more "exclusive" ingredient

are sides/drinks/desserts a significant piece of the pie?

Really just kind of ball-park figures to give us some idea. And have you been surprised by any of these trends? (Your plan to use smart cards being reversed once you discovered customers were more likely to customize than to order "the usual" prompted this question.)

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Consumer markets in general have been moving towards an hourglass shape over the past decade. Whereas the majority of the market used to be firmly in the middle, growth is now concentrated on the inexpensive end and the high end. The restaurant business has mirrored this trend, and I think it will continue to do so. So, I think the high-end of the market will continue to expand, and I think we are among the leaders of that expansion.

my first restaurant working experience was at Subway - and sandwiches have always been close to heart.

the whole industry is being shaken up by breakfast places introducing sandwiches, burger joints pushing them big, and different competitors opening up.

you are entering the market from a different side of the spectrum.

What would be your take on the market growing on the whole?  Do you think it will start entering the gourmet meal market (it already has by you) - where you can have quality - high quality ingredients and a balanced meal *to go*. 

Thank you in advance.

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Hi Judy,

Here are some general numbers for you; the percentages vary depending upon location. On average, our numbers are:

Breakfast: 15%

Lunch: 45%

Midday: 13%

Dinner: 27%

Sandwiches: 61%

Salads: 39%

Dine-In: 87%

Catering: 13%

As for what people are ordering: we have strong sales throughout our price range.

So, without getting too mired in statistics, can you give us an idea of how your business breaks-down?

Breakfast versus lunch?

sandwiches versus salads?

catering versus dine-in?

"regular" ($8.95) sandwiches versus those with one or more "exclusive" ingredient

are sides/drinks/desserts a significant piece of the pie?

Really just kind of ball-park figures to give us some idea.  And have you been surprised by any of these trends?  (Your plan to use smart cards being reversed once you discovered customers were more likely to customize than to order "the usual" prompted this question.)

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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Just a quick note to let you all know that we have an album of photographs provided by Starwich: food, stores, people and even the sandwich order card. The ImageGullet album of Starwich photos is available to eGullet Society members only.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm from Sydney Australia but visit the US every few months (I just love sitting still for 13 hours and being served by grandmothers) and will check out the Starwich offering in a few weeks. It amazed me that in London, sandwiches are so popular even when the temperature drops and I'd kill for a hot soup, Londoners grab a chilled and extremely boring white bread sanga (as we Aussies call them). And not a cup of hot anything in sight.

So a gourmet sandwich is something to try and I look forward to the selection in NYC. May I make one suggestion? Here in Australia I provide several bakers with innovative, indigenous ingredients including Wattleseed or Lemon myrtle sprinkle (also known as Oz lemon). These breads, amongst others, are deliciously appealing and the ingredients can be functional too. Wattleseed bread has a lower glycaemic index (GI) to the same bread without the Wattleseed making it healthier and more filling. Incidentally, Wattleseed is an Australian wild grain, once used only by Aborigines in a similar way to the American Indian use of corn. For a contemporary history of its new life, check this out.

I'd welcome any inquiries on potential flavors for breads. After all, what's the first and usually the last taste in your mouth when you eat a sandwich? it's generally the bread.

Introducing innovative Australian ingredients to creative chefs, cooks and foodies.

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I have a question for Mr. Baltas. I know that the customer creates their own sandwich at your place, but given your day in, day out experience, you must have some incredible insight on sandwiches in general.

What if a customer or a gourmand of a friend called you and asked you to create the perfect ski picnic sandwich, you know, something to enjoy from the top of the mountain while looking out over a beautiful winter vista - what would you put in it?

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Good morning Mr Baltas.

I was wondering if you will cater to the people who have restrictions in their diet. It could be simple as having items which are 'vegan' or 'gluten free'. On a personal note I did not find tofu as an ingredient as I like to dress it as I would a slice of turkey in a sandwich.

Any plans for Canada ?

Etoilewich in Quebec, or maybe not :biggrin: .

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Hi Lucy,

My perfect sandwich for the top of a ski mountain would comprise of multi-grain bread with skirt steak, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, baby greens, and thinly chopped roasted peppers. Personally I would prepare the meat medium/medium-well even though I would prefer it medium rare, so the juices don’t make the bread too soggy.

I have a question for Mr. Baltas.  I know that the customer creates their own sandwich at your place, but given your day in, day out experience, you must have some incredible insight on sandwiches in general. 

What if a customer or a gourmand of a friend called you and asked you to create the perfect ski picnic sandwich, you know, something to enjoy from the top of the mountain while looking out over a beautiful winter vista - what would you put in it?

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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We absolutely try to cater to many dietary needs – that’s the great thing about having a menu with so many items and the freedom to create your own dishes. We have many items that are not always listed on the menu, such as tofu or truffles, which are either seasonal or rotating. You can always ask at our locations for tofu on your sandwich or salad.

Unfortunately we do not have plans for Canada yet as we are focusing on expanding in the US right now. However, we look forward to bringing Starwich to Canada and especially Quebec.

Good morning Mr Baltas.

I was wondering if you will cater to the people who have restrictions in their diet. It could be simple as having items which are 'vegan' or 'gluten free'. On a personal note I did not find tofu as an ingredient as I like to dress it as I would a slice of turkey in a sandwich.

Any plans for Canada ?

Etoilewich in Quebec, or maybe not  :biggrin: .

Spiro Baltas

CEO, Starwich Inc.

www.Starwich.com

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