Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unfortunately, no gluten-free subs at Firehouse

I attended a presentation last week by Firehouse Subs CEO Don Fox, and it gave me an opportunity to talk to him and Dough Reifschneider, the company's head of marketing, about the possibility of gluten-free subs at Firehouse.

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

It is a disappointment, but I can't say I blame them. There are two issues with sub shops. One is getting fresh gluten-free sub rolls. But probably the biggest issue is finding a clean area to prepare subs that are not cross-contaminated with gluten.

With the relatively small sub preparation space in Firehouse, it would be difficult to ensure the restaurants could provide a gluten-free sandwich, Reifschneider told me.

We can't expect Firehouse to reconfigure the restaurants to accommodate a small percentage of its potential customer base.

At least we do have Larry's Giant Subs providing gluten-free subs in the Jacksonville area. They're getting their sub rolls from the Cookie Momsters bakery in Jacksonville.

The staff there has been trained to try and avoid cross-contamination, but they also have a small preparation area. I haven't heard any stories about people getting sick from a Larry's gluten-free sub but if you have a severe reaction to gluten, you might be taking a risk at Larry's and any other sandwich shop that offers gluten-free options.

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