- Chick-fil-A will begin testing a cauliflower sandwich in select markets starting Monday, the company announced Thursday.
- The sandwich will be available in Denver; Charleston, South Carolina; and in the Greensboro-Triad region of North Carolina.
- This is the company’s first plant-based sandwich and could be added to the permanent menu following the pilot phase, the company wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive.
The chain will review customer, operator and employee feedback after the test to see if/when it should be added to the menu nationally, Chick-fil-A said. The company will evaluate if the sandwich delivers on taste, value and quality benchmarks, and if owners and staff can execute the sandwich well.
The sandwich is prepared similarly to its chicken sandwich. It’s marinated, breaded with seasoning, pressure-cooked and served on a toasted buttery bun with two dill pickle chips, per the press release. Pricing will vary depending on restaurant, but the starting price point is $6.59 for the entree, the company said. Comparatively, the chicken sandwich entree costs about $3.
Chef Stuart Tracy said the first iteration of the sandwich was created in October 2018 after research revealed that customers wanted to incorporate more vegetables in their diets.
“Our culinary team brainstormed and explored everything from mushrooms to chickpeas to chopped vegetables formed into patties, but we kept coming back to the cauliflower filet,” Stuart said. “Our team was so excited to take on the challenge to innovate and give our customers an entrée that met their needs and maintained the same quality they’ve come to expect from us.”
Stuart has always had a particular affinity toward cauliflower and cooked it in his restaurants in Charleston and Atlanta prior to coming to Chick-fil-A, he said. The vegetable’s mild flavor makes it a good alternative to chicken, Stuart said.
“We created several different iterations and conducted taste tests and once we saw the excited smiles of the taste testers from our team and various focus groups and heard the positive reviews, we knew we had found the right centerpiece for the sandwich, Stuart said.
Within the last several months, several QSRs have added plant-based items to their menus or tested such products. Baja Fresh made its Impossible Meat Made from Plants platform permanent in September, while Taco Bell began piloting its proprietary plant-based protein in August. Burger King is also piloting a plant-based version of its original chicken sandwich with Impossible Foods. Not all tests have led to product rollouts, however. McDonald’s ended its plant-based burger test last summer amid speculation that the item had low sales. The company has not indicated if McPlant would be rolled out nationwide.