Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe chain is showing, once again, that “What’s inside matters most.” Today the up-and-coming fast-casual sandwich empire revealed the secret behind its beloved cookies: use natural ingredients just like you would at home, make the dough fresh daily, and bake the cookies right there in the cafe. The company—known for its toasted sandwiches, artisan soups, fresh salads, and thin-crust pizzas— has a franchise-wide sweet cream butter policy in place, believed to be the first guideline in the fast-casual sandwich sector to use only real butter in desserts.
“In my opinion a great chocolate chip cookie should have a lightly crusted outside and chewy middle,” says Pickleman’s CEO and Founder, Doug Stritzel. “To achieve that, you have to make the cookies from scratch. It’s really truly what a cookie is supposed to be. Staying true to ‘what’s inside matters most,’ is another example of our Brand’s mission to provide quality products for our raging fans.”
In his decades in the fast-casual restaurant industry, Stritzel saw for himself the shortcuts that companies take in order to save money and give food a longer shelf life. Stritzel made the choice to provide better, cleaner food. Since the company’s inception, this has been the main focus.
“Because the industry seems proliferated with the use of preservatives, we’re committed to fresher artisan food, without the preservatives,” he says. “This, along with my own personal dietary habits, defines our Brand’s commitment to serving cleaner and fresher food.”
One key ingredient that makes Pickleman’s cookies unique is sweet cream butter. Stritzel has made a franchise-wide policy to use only real butter in every cookie sold, and not bulking it up by combining it with any cheaper and unhealthier hydrogenated oils, or ‘margarine’, like most of their competitors.
“Hydrogenated oils, which are created by altering highly processed seed oils in a lab, have a double whammy effect,” says Hayley Sohn, Pickleman’s Head of Nutritional Research & Development. “They mimic the texture of butter at a much lower cost, and they act as a preservative and make the foods they are part of shelf stable (remember, real food isn’t meant to sit on a shelf for months). Studies show that these oils have a negative impact on cholesterol levels and are correlated with increased risk for heart disease.”1
Simplified ingredients and no preservatives mean Pickleman’s cookies are better for the body while also tasting great. “Real ingredients cost more and taste better,” says Stritzel.
They’re a win-win for their customers and franchisees because not only do they taste incredible, they are great for business; “Because of their appropriate portion size and favorable price point, our cookies are the most frequently ordered item.” says Stritzel. Pickleman’s Cookies are sold individually and by the dozen, and are available via instore purchase, delivery, catering, and drive thru.
In addition to the sweet cream butter policy, Pickleman’s has an extensive “No” list of short-cut ingredients used by competitors that are actually deemed health hazards. These include bans on hydrogenated oils, including cottonseed, palm, and soybean oils; the petroleum-derived preservative TBHQ; manufacturer’s plastic packaging that leaches into foods over time; and artificial flavors.
“It’s all part of our promise to create sustainable options for life and lifestyle,” Stritzel concludes.
Pickleman’s made news recently when it announced it was the first national chain in the sandwich sector to strictly use No Antibiotics Ever chicken in its recipes—including the popular chicken salad sandwich.