Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.


Flatbread Sandwiches & Wraps

Flatbread sandwiches and wraps have become staples on many menus in recent years.

Concept Close-Up: Twisted Fresh

Wraps make up about 50% of Shawnee, Kan.-based Twisted Fresh’s menu and reflect owner Alan Rust’s desire for a less traditional burger-and-chicken lineup. “When we opened in 2010, I wanted to create a different menu from just burgers and chicken sandwiches,” he says. “Now, 13 years later, we have six restaurants where wraps are still thriving.”

trend iStock 1204580750After first creating a cashew chicken avocado wrap, Rust added Cobb salad, Buffalo chicken and barbecue chicken versions. He notes Buffalo chicken is the top-selling wrap, along with kung pao chicken wraps. “Since we opened, we’ve added tacos, burgers and chicken sandwiches, all made with fresh ingredients,” he says. “Our wraps sell best in the spring and summer with those who are looking to eat healthier and are a younger demographic.”

Twisted Fresh cooks to order, with wraps created quickly; burgers take about 10 minutes. “Once a year, we change up the menu where we take off a couple wraps and add new versions in,” Rust says. “We also have specials offered for a limited time.”

Over the years, Twisted Fresh has incorporated all types of proteins into the wraps, including shrimp, beef, chicken, turkey and mahi-mahi. Early on, flavored wraps such as spinach and tomato basil were used, but now only flour and wheat wraps are available. 

“As we became busier, it was too hard to keep wraps in line with sandwiches, and I discovered the flavor from those wraps wasn’t coming across so much,” Rust says. “We tried adding in gluten-free wraps, but I couldn’t find one I was happy with.”

He has been creative with ingredients, adding in pickled vegetables, which were a hit. Twisted Fresh’s other menu items, including tacos, salads and quinoa bowls, are also available in a wrap version. Proteins can be traded out for quinoa, avocado or any vegetable. 

“Our business used to be 80% dine-in and 20% takeout, and now it’s reversed,” Rust notes. “Wraps travel well; we don’t cut them in half and package these sandwiches in plastic clamshells.”

Rust says he’s seeing most menus elsewhere have between one and three wraps included. “It’s an important part of the menu to have a wrap sandwich,” he says. “It’s more of a staple now.”

TFThaiPeanutWrap2Thai chicken wrap at Twisted Fresh

Wrapping Up

The presence of wraps has increased 2.3% on menus over the past year, with 33.7% of operators menuing wraps, according to Chicago-based Technomic’s “Ignite Menu” data spanning from the third quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2022.

Quick Take: Mr. Flatbread’s Healthy Twist

This 20-seat restaurant in Moses Lake, Wash., focuses on healthy flatbread sandwiches, with chicken jalapeño and chicken garlic as its best sellers.

“My brother Jose and I took over this business about a year ago,” says Jorge Mozano, co-owner. “Flatbreads are the majority of our business, about 80%.” These come with a side of chips or fries made in an air fryer.

All flatbread includes grilled chicken, turkey or tuna with spring mix leaves; tomato; olive oil; tomato sauce; mayo; oregano; yellow mustard; and mozzarella. Optional toppings include garlic; jalapeño; mushroom; pineapple; corn; barbecue sauce; and eggs. Vegetarian versions are also available. 

In addition, Mr. Flatbread’s menu includes sweet flatbreads such as butter and cinnamon and peanut butter and jelly. “People are looking for a healthy meal, and our flatbread is gluten-free,” Mozano says. 

Tortas and salads round out the menu, with rice bowls being added this year.

Flavors & Formats

Within wraps or flatbread sandwiches, some areas of growth are pairings with cauliflower (+139% on wrap menus) including buffalo and shawarma iterations, and fried chicken wraps (+66% over the past four years).

Shawarma is not always called out as a wrap, but it is a growing wrap-related format in sandwiches.

Source: Datassential, “MenuTrends” Q3 2022