Quiznos rolled out a new tea platform nationwide in what one culinary executive says is a move to push the concept’s beverage envelope.

Zach Calkins, senior vice president of culinary innovation at Quiznos, says the chain’s three new tea offerings help it stay ahead of consumer demand.

“We were looking to refresh our beverage program as a whole … saying, ‘OK, consumers are changing, they don’t use the fountain as much, we need to make sure we’re ahead of that in providing more modern types of beverage offerings,’” he says.

The three new teas, launched through Quiznos’ beverage partner Sara Lee Foodservice, include two black tea offerings and one green tea. Berry Bomb is a sweetened black tea infused with raspberries; Black Brilliance is an unsweetened black tea; and Citron Synergy is a green tea infused with lemon, lime, and honey.

Some stores in the South are also offering a sweetened black tea, Calkins says.

Calkins says he and his team at Quiznos initially developed six new tea offerings and pared the list down to three. He says many were “way out there in left field,” and that he ultimately chose the three that best complimented Quiznos’ food menu.

“The thing with the flavors is, if you look at our sandwiches or salads, a lot of them are bold flavors and when you taste it, you’re just like, ‘Wow, that’s really delivering on the promise,’” Calkins says. “With tea, we had to do the same thing, we had to deliver on the promise.”

While tea is not an unknown beverage to consumers, there is still an educational component to the offering, Calkins says, in getting customers to know why tea might be a good drink option. He says Quiznos’ marketing will help point customers to the tea option.

Eventually, Calkins says, Quiznos might look at turning the tea platform into something driven by limited-time offers, regional flavors, or franchisee decisions. Once the consumer learns about the new platform, he says, it will be time to take it to the next level.

“Six to nine months from now … it will be time to be looking at the refresh, the new flavors that could be that LTO or regional-type option,” Calkins says.

By Sam Oches

Beverage, Menu Innovations, News, Quiznos