Schlotzsky’s Tax Day Promotion Featured on

Myth: Tax Day is for sulking.

Reality: Tax Day is for eating — often for free, or at a fat discount.

That, at least, is what more than a half-dozen of the more familiar names in Food Land want you to think. They are turning April 15 into an annual eat freebie — or almost free — fest. Although it doesn’t have the size and scope of Veterans Day or Mother’s Day free food promotions, it’s getting there.

“It’s the biggest layup of the year for restaurants,” says Derek Farley, a public relations consultant. “You have the ‘Whew?’ crowd and the ‘Amen!’ crowd partying with the ‘Oh No’ crowd, and they all have something in common: They want a drink.” Or a nibble.

Here’s what’s on tap — or on the plate:

• Dinner — for a song. Take that literally. At select Hard Rock Cafe locations nationwide on April 15, from about 5 to 7 p.m. local time, folks with the courage to take the stage and belt out a song can get a free “Local Legendary Burger” — created and prepared by a chef “to ease the burden of Tax Day,” says John Galloway, chief marketing officer.

• Almost-free sandwich. Get a free, small “The Original” sandwich at Schlotzksky’s nationally when you purchase a 32-ounce drink and a bag of chips April 15. For novices, “The Original” is made with ham, salami, cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese — and topped with black olives, red onion, lettuce, tomato, mustard and signature dressing.

• Free chips and queso. OK, there’s a catch. You have to say “Taxes Shmaxes” to the cashier at California Tortilla locations when you place your order April 15, but after that, the chips and queso are on the house.

• Free dessert. Guests who eat at Tony Roma’s restaurants April 15 receive a coupon for a free Red Velvet Cake dessert at participating locations on their next visit, valid through April 29.

• Free cookie. For folks in need of a free sugar rush on Tax Day, for the third consecutive year, Great American Cookies locations nationally will hand out the chain’s regular sugar cookies to customers who stop by and ask for one. What’s more, jokesDavid Kaiser, brand vice president, “no proof of completed taxes is necessary.”

• Free shaved ice. Kona Ice plans to show up at post offices, tax prep centers and near business locations across the country April 15, to hand out free cups of its tropical shaved ice. Yes, it will hand out Hawaiian leis with the shaved ice. The best way to find a truck near you is to tweet @KonaIce with your exact location.

• Buy one, get one meal. Boston Market offers this deal: Customers who buy one Individual Meal get a second Individual Meal for free — including the new, Slow Braised Pulled Pork and Rotisserie Chicken Platters (which includes choice of two sides and cornbread).

Serena Lissy – Viva L’Italia – Hooray for Italy 

I was invited to attend a preview of the new menu items for Schlotzsky’s a few weeks back. I’m pretty selective about attending these events since I’m a pastry gal and most of these are a culinary experience. I agreed to attend this event because it has been a very long time since I have dined on a Schlotzsky’s sandwich and the new menu intrigued me.

Growing up in the midwest, one could say bread was a daily menu item for me. I pretty much love everything about bread. I eat it, I cook it, I enjoy it, and a fresh homemade loaf is usually always part of any gift I give someone. Growing up with white Wonder brand bread, I have seen many changes in bread over the years. And I couldn’t be more excited about the Schlotszky’s house made Italian Ciabatta roll.

They serve up three sandwiches on this roll. The Sicilian, (shaved ham, provolone cheese,  pepperoni, salami, bell peppers, olives and pepperoncini). The Caprese (mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, mayo, field greens, onions, basil pesto and a balsamic glaze). And the Tuscan (hand carved roasted turkey breast, pepper jack cheese, Roma tomato, field greens, bacon, cilantro, and chipotle aioli). Once I got over the awesomeness of these sandwiches I was excited to try the pasta dishes and the pizzas.


I must say the sandwiches are still my favorite, but with their adventurous recipes, and fresh flavor options like Tomato Basil Canestrelli, Sausage and Pepper with Goat Cheese Canestrelli, Chicken Pesto Carbonara and Bayou Chicken Canestrelli, they are pretty much serving up dishes that make me want to shout hooray for Italy!

Where’s the meat?

Food Management article featuring Schlotzsky’s “Viva l’Italia” menu promotion and highlights The Caprese ciabatta specialty sandwich.

While Americans routinely have favored sandwiches stuffed with their favorite proteins, an increasing number of consumers are expanding their culinary horizons by opting for meatless alternatives.

As a result, more foodservice operators and chefs are menuing innovative sandwich selections that omit the meat, poultry or fish in favor of vegetables, dairy products and even legumes like black beans.

“We’re seeing more nonmeat sandwiches on menus,” says Arlene Spiegel of the Arlene Spiegel & Associates restaurant consulting company in New York. “It’s become very mainstream. Most traditional restaurants have a mushroom burger or veggie sandwich or some other alternative.”

And demand for such menu items appears to be on the rise. According to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the Vegetarian Resource Group, about 4 percent, or about 9 million Americans, consider themselves to be vegetarian. However, nearly half of adults in the country say they eat at least one vegetarian meal per week.

Experts say there are several reasons for restaurateurs to offer nonmeat sandwiches alternatives. Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president-foodservice strategies for WD Partners, a design and development firm for multiunit retail in Columbus, Ohio, notes that for most chains, lunch is the primary daypart. “You want to be careful about the veto vote when workers go out to lunch together,” he says. “And [offering nonmeat options] helps with that.”

It’s also an uncomplicated way to offer more menu choices to customers, he continues. “It’s really easy to incorporate veggie sandwiches on the menu. Restaurateurs have most of the SKUs in-house already. And if they need to make things more interesting, they can easily order a few atypical vegetables — or even include tofu, which is a good substitute for protein.”

Health concerns among consumers also are helping to drive increased interest in meatless sandwich options. “From the consumer side, vegetables are being perceived as being much healthier,” Spiegel says. “With the growing consumer awareness of local and seasonal and organic, vegetables have that health halo. They can hit on all trends.”

Meanwhile, the menuing of nonmeat sandwiches also is helping chefs and restaurateurs to keep their food costs in line. As meat, poultry and fish prices continue to rise, chefs are increasingly turning to more moderately priced alternatives, like vegetables.

The increased reliance on more neutral-tasting vegetables as starring ingredients also is spurring a new wave of creativity among chefs. The growing consumer demand for spicier, more full-flavored preparations is propelling chefs and menumakers to explore interesting and complementary ingredients, like Tabasco sauce, in an effort to add a new layer of taste to recipes and make them stand out in the marketplace. Because consumers are demanding more of these items, “Chefs are getting much more creative with preparations that can make vegetables seem that much more appealing,” Spiegel says.

The menuing of nonmeat selections also helps to position a concept in the highly competitive sandwich arena. Schlotzsky’s chief marketing officer Mark Mears says the Austin, Texas-based chain is in the process of transitioning over from a quick-service sandwich concept to a fast-casual bakery-café brand by “offering a more adventurous sandwich experience.”

Among other things, the 350-plus-unit chain has debuted a spring menu promotion themed “Viva l’Italia,” which features three new ciabatta specialty sandwiches including a vegetarian option dubbed “The Caprese.” The selection consists of shredded mozzarella cheese, roasted red tomatoes, mayonnaise, greens, balsamic onions, basil pesto and a balsamic glaze. Mears says the LTO sandwich, which will be available through May 30 for $7.99, is exceeding expectation.

Viva l’Italia promotion includes four baked pasta dishes, a pizza and chopped salad as well.

Schlotzsky’s also is reworking its Fresh Veggie sandwich to make it “more on-trend for potential rollout,” Mears says. The existing Fresh Veggie sandwich features cheddar cheese, black olives, red onions, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, served with a spicy ranch dressing on Schlotzsky’s traditional made-from-scratch, oven-baked sourdough buns. A new iteration could be rolled out this summer pending successful test results.

He says while Schlotzsky’s current guests are mainly baby boomers and gen-x’ers, the Veggie Sandwich and Caprese appeal to millennials and gen-z’ers — a target audience the chain is looking to cultivate.

Mears says these days chains need to cater to customers who are vegetarians or situationally vegetarian. “Restaurants shouldn’t need to go crazy, but they have to have enough options so people can find what they love,” he says.

Famous Toastery, a breakfast, brunch and lunch specialist based in Huntersville, N.C., offers a number of nonmeat sandwiches that appeal to the chain’s predominantly female demographic, according to chief executive Robert Maynard. One of the brand’s most popular vegetarian sandwiches is its grilled portobello mushroom with balsamic reduction, Jack cheese and sautéed onions on a Kaiser roll served with a side of pasta salad for $9.49. “It’s a huge hit — especially for people who are vegetarians,” Maynard says.

Famous Toastery also offers a black bean burger wrap with avocado and salsa as well as a veggie wrap that includes grilled vegetables like peppers, eggplant, yellow and green squash, and onions. Maynard says the six-unit chain also has plans to add a tofu wrap as well as other meatless alternatives served on flatbread.

Nonmeat selections are selling well at Famous Toastery, Maynard says, noting that the concept sells three or four times as many vegetarian sandwiches today than it did five years ago. “People want something else besides chicken and beef,” he says. “If you want to compete in this market, you have to have more options and not the ‘same old, same old.’”

James Park, vice president of marketing and R&D for Dallas-based Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, opines that it’s important for operators to offer nonmeat alternatives these days. A top-selling nonmeat sandwich for 340-unit Which Wich features a southwestern-flavored vegan black bean patty, which includes lettuce, tomato, avocado and other vegetables. Initially, the chain had purchased a black bean patty from a supplier, but the growing popularity of the sandwich prompted Which Wich to produce its own proprietary product, Park says.

Other nonmeat sandwiches featured by the brand include hummus, tomato and avocado, and an artichoke selection called the Caprese.

Which Wich also is testing a soy-based meat substitute called the Beast Burger, which can replicate hamburger in vegan sandwiches, according to Park. “A big portion of our business is vegetarian and vegan,” he says. “The category is expanding — it’s a lifestyle not a trend.”

“We’re seeing a change in people’s eating habits,” Park says. “Nonmeat sandwiches have become a staple on the menu. We’re seeing continued growth in that category.” 

Schlotzsky’s Names MonkeyMedia Vendor of Year, via QSR Magazine

Schlotzsky’s has named MonkeyMedia Software, the number one cloud platform for takeout, delivery, and catering, as its Vendor of the Year.

The Vendor of the Year Award is given to a top-level supplier that not only provides a beneficial product, but also becomes a strategic partner towards Schlotzsky’s overall brand success.

MonkeyMedia Software was recognized with the award for its strategic technological role in revitalizing Schlotzsky’s catering business and increasing system-wide catering sales by 40 percent in 2014. The company’s solution to online, mobile, and phone catering ordering, in addition to the training and order management tools it provides, have all contributed to the growth of Schlotzsky’s catering platform, which is already on pace to surpass last year’s record-breaking sales.

“Our partnership with MonkeyMedia has played in integral role in the success and growth of our catering business,” says Brian Farris, vice president of catering at Schlotzsky’s. “Because of their cutting-edge product, outstanding service, valuable consulting, and training, we were able to achieve the catering success that we always knew was possible. We couldn’t think of a better way to express our appreciation for their diligence, support and dedication than by recognizing them as Schlotzsky’s Vendor of the Year.”

“We’re honored to receive this recognition from Schlotzsky’s,” says Erle Dardick, founder and CEO of MonkeyMedia Software. “It’s an incredible opportunity to work with their passionate teams, and we’re thrilled to share in their success. We look forward to working closely together as their catering business continues to grow.”

Schlotzsky’s offers more than 15 different signature sandwiches served on its Fresh-from-Scratch oven-baked sourdough buns, as well as gourmet pizzas built upon its unique sourdough crust, artisan flatbreads, freshly made-to-order tossed salads, a variety of savory soups, and desserts, including a CinnabonExpress bakery where guests can enjoy a number of warm Cinnabon homemade treats, including the Cinnabon Classic Roll and CinnaPack take-home packs. Catering options prepared with your Schlotzsky’s favorites are available for meetings, community events, and any holiday gathering needs.

Schlotzsky’s tax Day Deal featured on MSN

It’s almost April 15; did you file your taxes yet? When you’re done panicking or rolling your eyes, we have some news that will make you smile way bigger than that tiny refund check you just got in the mail: free (and discounted) food! The Daily Meal has rounded up some of the fun deals and steals this Tax Day.

Free Cookies: Great American Cookies (a chain of cookie bakeries mostly located in the Southeast) will be handing out free sugar cookies to each customer.

Free Burgers: This Tax Day at participating Hard Rock Cafe locations, you can literally sing for your supper. If you serenade your server with an entire rock song (lyrics will be provided), you’ll get a free burger!

Free Pulled Pork: Boston Market will offer a buy one individual-sized meal, get one free deal on April 15. The deal includes the new slow-braised pulled pork menu item, but you can also stick with the classic rotisserie chicken.

Free Sandwiches: Participating Schlotzsky’s (a Texas-based deli chain) restaurants nationwide will give away one free small original sandwich per customer with the purchase of a 32-ounce drink and a bag of chips.

Free Chips and Queso: Free green chips and homemade queso are on the menu at participating California Tortilla locations (mostly in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the United States). Get it? The chips are green because they’re supposed to be money.

Half-Price Ribs: Sonny’s BBQ (a Southern barbecue chain, the third-largest in America) is offering $6.25 ribs (normally $12.50) for their IRS Special.

Tax Day Cocktails and Extended Happy Hour: At noPa Kitchen & Bar (located in Washington, D.C.), enjoy a special Tax Day cocktail (Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Arabic gum syrup, lime, bitters, cherry gastrique, and sparkling wine) and an extended happy hour. Guests can also get an entrée and glass of wine or beer for $15 on April 15.

Half-Price Alcohol: All BLT Steak and BLT Prime locations (in New York City; White Plains, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Scottsdale, Arizona; Waikiki, Hawaii; and Washington, D.C.) will serve half-priced cocktails, beer, and wine all day.

Have a Lotz Better® Tax Day with Free Food from Schlotzsky’s®

Bakery-Cafe Offers Free The Original® Sandwich on April 15


AUSTIN, Texas (April 8, 2015) – For Americans who find Tax Day stressful, Schlotzsky’s is making the day “Lotz Better” with free food. On April 15, participating Schlotzsky’s restaurants nationwide will give away one free small The Original® sandwich with the purchase of a 32 oz. drink and a bag of chips.*

“Tax day has a lot of negative connotations associated with it, including paperwork, stress, paying taxes, and more,” said Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky’s. “This Tax Day, we’re hoping to make our guests’ lives ‘Lotz Better’ by giving them a ‘tax break’ to enjoy with their favorite sandwich for free.”

As part of the brand’s “Tax Day Bites” social media campaign, guests are encouraged to take a photo inside the restaurant with their free sandwich and upload it to Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram, using the hashtag #TaxDayBites.

The Original sandwich features 13 fresh, flavorful ingredients served on Schlotzsky’s legendary Fresh-from-Scratch® oven-baked sourdough buns. The Original is topped with lean smoked ham, genoa and cotto salamis, melted cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. It’s layered with black olives, red onion, lettuce, tomato, mustard and signature dressing to create a truly one-of-a kind sandwich.

At Schlotzsky’s, guests enjoy more than 15 different signature sandwiches served oven-baked on legendary Fresh-from-Scratch oven-baked sourdough buns, as well as gourmet pizzas built upon its unique sourdough crust, artisan flatbreads, freshly made-to-order tossed salads, a variety of savory soups and delectable desserts. Schlotzsky’s recently unveiled a new Italian-inspired “Viva l’Italia” menu, which includes four new oven-baked pasta dishes, three specialty ciabatta sandwiches and a new gourmet pizza, along with its famous Italian chopped salad.

For more information or to find the nearest location, visit


*One per guest while supplies last.


About Schlotzsky’s

Since 1971, Schlotzsky’s® has been the home of The Original® oven-baked sandwich. The menu has evolved with guests’ tastes to include the highest quality hot delicious sandwiches on its legendary Fresh-from-Scratch® oven-baked sourdough buns, gourmet pizzas, Artisan flatbreads, oven-baked pastas, freshly made-to-order salads, savory soups and delicious Cinnabon treats at co-branded locations. With more than 350 locations worldwide, Schlotzsky’s is the fast-casual choice for a quick, healthful, and fresh dining experience. Schlotzsky’s is enjoyed around the world, with restaurants in 35 states along with locations in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia. For more information, visit

About FOCUS Brands Inc.

Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc. is the franchisor and operator of over 4,000 ice cream shoppes, bakeries, restaurants and cafes in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 60 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Auntie Anne’s® and McAlister’s Deli®, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets.  Please visit to learn more.