Why East Hampton Leads The Top 50 Sandwich Innovators List

After a quick stint at law school, Hunter Pond decided his true passion laid with the restaurant business.

“I just felt this gravitational pull to the industry and it was strong enough... [that] I dropped out of law school after one semester,” said Pond. “...It was a rough three months trying to convince everybody that this was the right move for me.”

On this episode of The Barron Report, our host, Paul Barron, sits down with Hunter Pond, CEO of East Hampton Sandwich Co. to learn how this concept came to be and made its way to become the top Sandwich Innovator concept from our free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report.

East Hampton

“I studied the marketplace and I saw that the key differentiator in all of the fast casual sandwich players out there was the bread,” said Pond.

According to Pond, everything that went in between the breads tasted the same, from the lettuce and tomatoes to the meats.

“I kind of looked at it as a mathematical equation and thought, ‘if we could just figure out a way… to utilize our kitchen to focus on what goes in between the bread, I can outsource the bread baking to local European-style bakeries and that would produce, in theory, a higher quality product,” said Pond.

Hunter Pond wanted East Hampton to be the ingredient artisan of the sandwich category while partnering with a bread artisan to provide best sandwich possible to consumers.

Take a listen to the podcast above to learn more about East Hampton’s beginnings and future plans!

Show Notes

  • 00:51 - Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report

  • 02:18 - How Hunter Pond Got His Start

  • 05:50 - Inspiration for East Hampton

  • 07:25 - Key Differentiator in the Fast Casual Sandwich Segment

  • 09:13 - Consumer Driver Is Ingredient Quality

  • 10:27 - Quality Beyond The Food

  • 13:03 - Future Plans for East Hampton

  • 15:47 - Sourcing

  • 24:21 - Instagram

  • 27:42 - Hiring & Real Estate Challenges

  • 30:40 - Hunter Pond’s Industry Outlook

About the Report

The free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report is based off a sandwich study conducted by our sister company, Foodable Labs. “We put together a study that looked a consumer sentiment around mentions of their favorite sandwiches and then we poured out the shops and concepts that came out on top through our algorithm…,” says Barron. That’s the same algorithm that ranks Foodable’s Top 25 Restaurants in each city, for example.

 
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These Top 50 Sandwich Innovators are Filling a Void in the Sandwich Segment

The time has come to reveal the ranking for the Top 50 Sandwich Innovators.

You read that right.

Foodable’s free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator report, brought to you by Miss Vickie’s, is out now!

In the free report, you will learn why high-quality ingredients are driving frequency in restaurant visits. The Restaurant Coach™ and Foodable’s industry expert contributor, Donald Burns, also breaks down who the Top 5 Sandwich Innovators are.

As a bonus, our team dives into what some of these top-performing brands are doing right, in terms of social media marketing. How are these brands engaging their audience? What is the style of their Instagram social feed? Why does it work for them? How can restaurants increase their restaurant visits by stepping up their visual marketing game? These are some of the questions this guide and report will answer.

Along with the informative pieces within the free guide and report, is the chance to learn more in-depth about three sandwich innovator concepts, through video and podcast interviews. For example, Foodable had the chance to chat with Hunter Pond, CEO and Founder of East Hampton Sandwich Co. (the highest-ranking sandwich innovator concept) in our upcoming episode of The Barron Report. 

Our host, Paul Barron, sets out to decipher whether or not this sandwich innovator brand has what it takes to become the next big player in the sandwich category. Listen in to learn how Pond, a law-school dropout, ended up developing one of the most talked about sandwich innovator concepts in Texas. His ability to identify a void in the sandwich market and come up with a winning formula to address the issue became the foundation for his successful regional brand. This podcast episode will leave you wondering: What’s next for East Hampton?

To get you started, watch the video above to learn about Matt and Marie’s, a sandwich innovator and a Philadelphia-based, Italian sandwich shop. This piece will touch on what sets it apart from the rest. It’s not the first time we chat with Nicole Marie Capp about her restaurant concept, which she co-founded with Justin Matt Sapolsky. In fact, Paul Barron interviewed her in one of the network’s Fast Casual Nation episodes. This time around we hear from her what it means to be a sandwich innovator.

To learn the ranking score of this innovative sandwich restaurant and others, be sure to check out our free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator report!

A Sneak Peek into the Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report

A Sneak Peek into the Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report

The Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report identifies the emerging sandwich concepts that are dominating the segment and reveals some interesting trends in menus and consumer interest.

Although we’ve seen a downward trend of 6.8 percent, year over year, in overall restaurant traffic based on social media mentions, the 300 sandwich innovator brands have seen a traffic increase of 3.4 percent, according to Foodable Labs.

The report, which is slated to release sometime in July, will provide an analysis exploring the sandwich segment and trends. The segment has seen an upward trend as far as traffic in social media mentions is concerned, which is a great statement for the newcomers that are dominating the market.

It may have something to do with the move towards brand transparency and the use of higher-quality ingredients. In fact, Food Quality is one of the highest ranked sentiment scores at 78.9 points for the Top 50 Sandwich Innovator concepts since the younger demographics are gravitating more towards higher quality and convenient food options. This research also points to the increased popularity of higher-quality ingredient sides, like chips. Snack brands, like Miss Vickie’s, are leading the way in this segment, further advancing the high-quality ingredients trend.

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Top 4: Where Dallas Chefs Eat (On Their Day Off)

By Rebecca Combs, Foodable Contributor

The life of a chef appears glamorous and exciting. While that can be true, it is also exhausting. And, as much as they love to be in the kitchen, it is nice to have somebody else do the work on their day off. In Dallas, there is a plethora of foodie destinations. From Asian fare to tacos, Dallas chefs have their own favorite spots to hide away on their days off. 

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