With our last several of issues, we began a series where we spotlight restaurants that are now offering a
specific low carb menu. We've spotlighted TGI Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, and Don Pablo's... Watch for other
restaurants to be featured here in the future (O'Charley's, Chili's, Blimpie's, Lee's Famous Recipe, Skyline Chili,
Hardee's, Burger King, and others.)
On Thursday, February 5th, we visited Schlotzsky's Deli in Centerville, Ohio to try their new low carb fare.
We weren't sure what to expect as we'd seen no real corporate advertising heralding low carb.
In fact, it was only
a single word-of-mouth comment that led us there in the first place. And as we drove up, there was still no signage to
give us a hint that something low carb might be offered. We saw nothing to indicate we were on the right track
until we were at the counter and spotted the small sign atop the register that said "Low Carb."
The large menu affixed to the wall did not list any low carb options, so we had to ask the counter girl to run down what the
possibilities were. It seems their low carb "push" is simply getting a supply of low carb tortillas so that they can make
their regular sandwiches low carb by making them "wraps." (You can also get your sandwich toppings on lettuce, of course.)
We inquired about low carb sides, but were told they had none.
(Schlotzsky's sells soups — none of them low carb, and they sell chips and desserts — also no low carb choices.)
I handed the woman a Low Carb Luxury business card to explain why I wanted to know. I told her I'd be interested in
any nutrition info they might have on hand, or any pre-printed low carb menu. She went to the back to get the manager, who
did come out to speak with us, but seemed more annoyed than anything else. He told us they had nothing to offer the consumer
in the way of nutrition info, or any other info.
Getting a bit frustrated, we pressed for a bit more information to be able to write this review. Neil asked the manager (who did
not introduce himself, nor share a card with us) if the low carb fare was popular with their clientele. He frowned and told us
that there'd been very little interest. At that point, I felt the need to speak up, and commented to the manager that perhaps the
reason for the lack of excitement was that they'd made no effort to let low carb dieters know they even had lc offerings. No
advertising. No signage. He shrugged and referred us to the corporate website, then hurried back to the kitchen. And that was that.
All in all, of all the restaurants we've tried out who have low carb options, this one has so far been the most difficult to
get information about. While we applaud Schlotzsky's Deli for recognizing a trend and attempting to meet a need, we see this
as a half-hearted attempt at best.
So what did we have? (Click on food photos below to enlarge. They're the actual shots of our wraps.)
Neil had the Turkey and Bacon Club (a low carb tortilla with sliced smoked turkey, bacon, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, light mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.) And the fillings were indeed quite tasty, but exceptionally small as they try to
fit them into a small tortilla. 13 grams of effective carbs with dressing, but not a lot of substance. Unfortunately, some of the carbs
come from the "light" mayonnaise (filled with high fructose corn syrup) that they put on this sandwich.
I had the Reuben (a low carb tortilla with corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and melted Swiss cheese.)
Again, the dressing was filled with high fructose corn syrup (as well as sugar.) My sandwich was overly salty and
somewhat dry. 20 grams of effective carbs with dressing — definitely not memorable.
While there, we checked out all their salad dressings (since salads are an option too), but were sad to see that almost all contained
HFCS — even their Blue Cheese.
So, in the end, we have to say we feel Schlotzsky's Deli has missed the mark. We think they just don't "get it." I hope they'll
work on this since their menu offerings are extensive. A few low carb sides, some real LC bread, and salad dressings not drenched in
sugar would get them a loyal low carb following. We'll be watching to see what they do...
Since writing the review above, we were contacted by representatives
from Schlotzsky's Deli. We spoke to Monica Landers (their Director of Communications) as well as Jessica Furlow and Lori Schneider (their
Nutritionist.) They were very helpful, offered additional information, and a sneak peek at what's coming up in the future. Jessica reminded
us that these are franchises and that the franchisees are not always well-versed on corporate promotions. It does seem, from what we've
learned, that it's likely we happened upon a store that was less than prepared. They'd planned an official roll-out of their low carb
fare for March 1st, though most stores began earlier. Such was the case with the store we visited, though they were not ready for
We also determined that the problematic condiments mentioned in our review above are not official Schlotzsky's dressings, rather an
item offered by this franchisee independently. Schlotzsky's does appear to be aware of the need for sugarfree toppings and is working
to offer more and more for low carb dieters. Corporate definitely seems to want their franchisees to use official Schlotzsky's dressings, mayo, etc. It's their intention to match the effort for low carb with what they did for low fat
We very much appreciate Schlotzsky's attitude and willingness to work with us, as well as their dedication to offering healthy
food for low carb dieters. It's our intention to re-visit Schlotzsky's in about a month, after they've had an opportunity to
become acclimated to their new low carb menu.
You can get additional information from their website. Their site has a section on Low Carb, with a link to nutritional information
here, and their nutritional page has additional info here.
Review content copyright © February 2004 Lora Ruffner and Low Carb Luxury
Inset food photos copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury
Schlotzsky's Deli logo copyright © 2004 Schlotzsky's Franchisor, LLC.