Talking Culinary Creations with Quiznos' Zach Calkins

Categories: Fast Times

This week's Fast Times takes us in a different direction. Typically, a fast food product is consumed and you get the gist of my experience. This week, we sat down with Zach Calkins of Quiznos, to find out how some of these items are created.

EOW: What is your formal title at Quiznos?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Chef-Zach_Quiznos.jpg
Courtesy of Quiznos
Chef Zach Calkins

ZC: I'm the Senior Vice President of Culinary Creations.

EOW: Do you have any formal training?

ZC: I attended the New England Culinary Institute.

EOW: From start to finish, how long does it typically take for your ideas at Quiznos to reach the menu?

ZC: At Quiznos, we are so nimble. The people that work at Quiznos and our vendors who are partners are nimble along with us, or they wouldn't survive.  We can finish up focus groups and make tweaks to products to have them ready for a national launch within two months.

EOW: For every great idea, how many get canned?

ZC: For example, we have a pulled pork product that we're getting ready to launch in June... I took 10 pork, 10 turkey, and 10 chicken sandwiches. So that's 30 sandwiches that I felt any one of, would be a swing for the fences. But to get to that 30, I probably developed 50 things before I felt comfortable showing the top 10 of each category.

EOW: So, you went from 50 ideas, to 30 sandwiches, to one?

ZC: Yup.

EOW: You must have a certain level of patience.

ZC: It really comes down to flexibility.

EOW: Could you talk about some of the latest creations on the Quiznos menu?

ZC: We have the lobster [sandwich]. It was developed about three years ago. It was one of those things people were really nervous about launching because it's a premium product... It was tough for consumers to wrap their head around. But when you had it, it was just magic... It has done really well for us and has exceeded everyone's expectations.

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15 comments
Ulania
Ulania

 As a long time Quiznos Franchise Owner Zach does a great job turning out menu items that taste great...unfortunately he over does it times from an operational and cost standpoint.  

jon
jon

Tell their company to stop ripping off its franchise owners

Scott218
Scott218

Can you talk to him about bringing back the sponge monkeys? Or as I used to call them, Houston ship channel rats.

JB
JB

Chef Zach is soooooo Dreamy. He looks even better than his Anime Cartoon Series. I wish I could be just like him. Quiznos is lucky to have such a creative force behind him. Can't wait for pulled pork. Sounds like another hit.

Jubilationjones
Jubilationjones

Gotta be better than Murphy's Deli.Sandwich chains are ubiquitous, so this is sorta interesting.

How does one differentiate a sandwich shop? Ingredients? A personality? Speed? Price? New offerings?

Quizno's is vaguely Italian sounding. A nat'l ad campaign that keeps the name alive but doesn't do much beyond saying hot sandwiches.

Who knows? I've seen so many flash, then burn, good luck, Zach.

Fear2stop
Fear2stop

Who here has tasted the lobster sub? Is it any good?

Matthew
Matthew

Can you have him talk to the Asian lady that runs the one by my house about not being so chinchy with the meat? Thanks!

Shut Up & Eat!
Shut Up & Eat!

I think we need to talk to the Culinary Creative responsible for determining the appropriate percentage of actual beef in Taco Bell's ground beef slurry.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I haven't been to Quiznos in ages! I'll have to drop back in soon.

Brownjejr
Brownjejr

The Lobster is fantastic. Try it on the new Chipotle bread and add bacon (because bacon makes everything better) and you have one of the best sandwiches around.

Kevls
Kevls

VERY GOOD!..

get it on Italian white Buttered Bread!!!..

MMmmM...toasty!!!!!!!!!

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