Monday, August 20, 2007

Quizno's

Amazing Broccoli Cheese Soup

Hello,
Can you tell me what menu items are vegan (no animal products)? From your website's nutritional area I can only determine if certain things are or are not present in your foods, but without seeing an ingredient list I cannot determine what products have no animal ingredients in them. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Best,
Erin


Response #1 from Quizno's:
Hi Erin,
Sorry we could not reach you at the phone number provided on your customer response. With regards to which of our menu items are animal product free a more full response may be received by contacting our Guest Relations line (800-4Toasted) and ask for Melinda Allen.
The current menu has on vegitarian sub called the Italian Caprese which has Baslamic Vinegarette and Basil Pesto along with Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese, Basil, Oregano, Garlic Spice and Romain Lettuce.
Another option is an item not currently on the menu that we can make on request which I refer to as the "original" veggie. It has Red Wine Vinegarette, Tomatoes, Onions, Mushrooms, Black Olives, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Lettuce (and optional Guacamole). Additionally our Brocolli Cheese soup is amazing and does not have any meat in it.
Kinds Regards,
Steve


(Many of the companies I question have online forms to submit questions, rather than allowing the consumer access to an actual email address. Some of these forms include required fields for address and phone number, so I usually fill these in with false information because I do not feel it need be mandatory that I give up that personal information in order to simply determine if I can patronize their business. And, of course, for the purposes of this blog, I want answers in writing. Quizno's is one of these, hence his reference to "my" phone number not working.)

So, two problems here: confusion over the definition of the term vegan, and no email address for the contact he provides for further investigation.

My reply #2:
Hello Steve,
Thanks for your response. I am compiling vegan menu options offered by national restaurants, so I would like a response in writing. With regards to my question, I am looking for vegan menu offerings: vegan means free of animal products, and "animal products" include not just meat, but anything made with products of animals, i.e. cheese, butter, dairy, etc. None of the food mentioned below fits this criteria, but I am hopeful that there is still something at Quizno's that does. For example, if I knew they ingredients of your bread (or if someone could attest with certainty that they are vegan), I could order a sub with veggies and no cheese. If you or someone could help me determine this I would greatly appreciate it!
Thanks,
Erin


Quizno's response #2:
If you contact the person I mentioned they may well be able to provide you a written response to your request.
Thanks,
Steve


Thanks, Steve?

My reply #3:
Steve,
Do you have an email address for her? Your message contains only a phone number. Thank you,
Erin


Quizno's reply #3:
I don't but I'm sure she could give it to you. If she does not satisfy you let me know and we'll push it further up the "food" chain. :)
Stephen Price


I think I'll try forwarding my correspondence to Quizno's HQ, if I can track down an email address. In searching for that on Google, this warning was returned as result number one. Regardless of whether it's true or not, I think it's time to set up a spam gourmet account.

I also found the low-carbers have documented problems even getting a carb breakdown (only net carbs are provided online, not even standard nutritional data).

I did not find, unfortunately, any email address for Quizno's corporate HQ. So, back to the form for response #4:
Can you please give me an email address for someone who can help me determine what, if any, of your menu items are vegan? What follows is my correspondence with Stephen Price, who could not help me.
Thanks,
Erin
(previous correspondence here)


Twenty days after my initial inquiry, and no noise from Quizno's in my inbox...

9/17/07
I found an entry for Quizno's on a page to which Peta links, a vegan guide to chain restaurants. It doesn't state explicitly their bread is vegan, but recommends their subs as an alternative to Subway. I sent Peta this message (their web form says to expect a two week wait for response):

Hello,
I saw on your vegan chain restaurant dining guide (http://vegcooking.com/ChainRestaurants.asp) a listing for Quizno's. It does not say their bread is vegan, and to my understanding it is not. I have tried to contact their headquarters to determine whether their bread is vegan or not, and have met with much resistance to say the least. In fact, they have become the poster child for resisting giving out ingredient statements, or telling the public whether their bread is vegan or not, and for generally being unhelpful and unaccommodating. If Peta or Veg Cooking has had a different experience I would love to know. I am collecting this information for my blog on vegan options at chains. You can see my correspondence with Quizno's here: http://veganmasterlist.blogspot.com/search/label/Quizno%27s
If Quizno's is unwilling to confirm their bread is vegan, I think you will agree they have no place on your vegan chain restaurant dining guide.
Thanks,
Erin


Peta response:
Hi Erin,
When we called the company, they were happy to confirm their ingredients list. Hopefully they’ll respond to you in a positive manner in the future.
Regards,
Corey Portlatin-Berrien
Program Coordinator | People for the Ethical Treament of Animals
PETA.org | Vegcooking.com


I guess I need to work on clarity. My reply #2:
Hi Corey,
Thanks for your reply. By Quizno's inclusion on Peta's (or VegCooking's) vegan chain restaurant dining guide, is it being stated that the bread at Quizno's can be considered vegan?
thanks,
Erin


Peta's reply #2:
Yes, we were told it was vegan.
Regards,
Corey Portalatin-Berrien
Program Coordinator | Vegcooking.com
757.962.8262


So there you have it folks. Peta was told the bread is vegan. If you're Peta someone will tell you.

The verdict (unconfirmed by Quizno's):
See Peta's guide to chain restaurants. (They are claiming the breads to be vegan.)

15 comments:

philologic said...

I really appreciate that you are going to so much trouble to document vegan dining choices. I am especially interested to see how the PF Changs debate ends. I have eaten there several times and will be incredibly bummed if I've ingested non-vegan things. However, I notice that you rely a lot on PETA as a source of what is vegan and what isn't. Having personally worked at PETA (for a short time) and knowing people who work there and have worked there, I have to make sure you are aware of PETA's official stance on "vegan." They say that as long as something is mostly vegan, it is considered vegan for their purposes. A lot of their accidentally vegan things aren't actually vegan at all. They discourage checking ingredients and have explicitly stated that if you are eating out with a group of non-vegans and your order comes out wrong (i.e. with cheese or meat or whatever) you should just go ahead and eat it anyway. This is so no one is given the impression that to be vegan is to be difficult. It's completely ridiculous, but that's how they do. Just thought you should know. Keep up the good work.

Erin said...

Wow, philologic, I'm blown away. Peta has such a reputation for extremism that I would think, as I'm sure most would, that their labeling of an item as "vegan" would be pretty reliable. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Very good to know.

philologic said...

I was pretty shocked when I found out. I figured you would want to know too. Happy eating!

Jhenn said...

At least Quiznos emailed you back! A few years ago I know their bread was not vegan, now it's coming out it is. And as philologic stated, you cannot rely on Peta's lists. Logically, Quiznos probably doesn't give out lists so other companies won't try and copy them. But it's still way stupid.
They do have a new allergen table though!
http://www.quiznos.com/menu/files/allergen_table.pdf
Looks like if you get a veggie sub with no dressing, you're good to go.

Robert said...

Quiznos soups, they are mouth watering.

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

I also really appreciate all the time that is put into this website, Erin! I feel like I would just give up after one unsuccessful try & decide not to eat there. :) Good job for sticking with it when you're met with resistance!

My stance on Quizno's is that if they are so rude & unhelpful, I'd prefer to not give them my business. (I know it's still good to know their vegan options in case we ever find ourselves in a bind, but I won't ever go there if I can help it.) I have had plenty of great experiences at non-vegan restaurants, where the company/servers/etc. are more than happy to meet my needs. For Quizno's to give you the runaround just shows me that they're hiding something... I prefer not to support them with my dollar.

I'm ALSO shocked to learn about PETA's stance on the definition of "vegan" in regards to food. Honestly blown away... I didn't think I was even close to as militant as PETA is, but I'd never eat anything that was "mostly vegan." What does that even mean?! How ridiculous--and disappointing that we can't depend on their lists. Sorry this comment is so long, but I'd think that graciously pointing out to a waiter that you ordered a dish without [meat, cheese, etc.] wouldn't show that being vegan is "difficult"; it would show that even vegans CAN eat out with friends & get what they want. Ugh, how dumb.

Caleb said...

I also appreciate the work you are doing! I'm a recent transitioner from vegetarianism to veganism and it's been awesome! But I have learned that I can't rely on what PETA has to say about 'vegan' also.
I've learned, when in doubt - don't eat out ;-)

Vegan Eating Out said...

I have a list of the Quizno's Vegan menu options here:

Quizno's Vegan Menu

Jade said...

I don't know how reliable that website is. Because for instance, there was some talk going on and as far as BK's veggie burger goes, it's good without the bun! They've got lard for preservation sake.

charisse said...

anks you my fellow Vegan community for all the good info. I really enjoy the the "Veggie Guacamole Sub" but have my suspicions as to whether the Bread or Guacamole is w/o any animal by-products. However, since I am unable to get a candid answer addressing my concerns...I have decided, rather than continue to patronize any Quiznos business, I will go elsewhere where my Vegan concerns are openly disclosed ...at least, that is, until Quiznos is truthful in their practice and makes available their full list of food ingredients/products. As I think about this, I am reminded of the past class action lawsuit that was brought against McDonald's, regarding the preparing of their french-fries. Hopefully, the same actions will not have to come against Quiznos & other companies before they ("get it ") realize how important this information is to their Vegetarian & Vegan market.
P.S. If the information posted about PETA and their reference to their stance on "vegan"...Absolutely shame on them!

Heatherly0916 said...

I think it's great that you compile this list for people who want to know about vegan options when dining out. In this particular instance, I think you should have called the phone number for the contact you were given, asked for her email address, and continued your process as normal. I understand that you are documenting the correspondence for this blog, but you were being very inflexible and uncooperative, as well.

Erin said...

Heatherly0916,

As a result of the quite time consuming work I did on this blog, you have a number for which you should certainly feel free to use to determine answers to your questions.

Only part of the work of this blog is finding out what offerings are vegan at restaurants. An equal part is documenting for the public how transparent each company is in regard to the ingredients of their products, and to reveal to what lengths one is required to go to find that information.

As a consumer I absolutely do not believe such information should be so difficult to find, and that is the exact implication I'm making to the company when I refuse to participate in the wild goose chase.

Because how many average people are going to do this on a regular basis? Not many, and companies that do this know it.

Todd said...

I too as everyone else has, would like to thank you for your time putting together this site.

In regards to PETA, their lists are a joke. Hardly any of their lists of "vegan" items are in fact vegan, some are not even vegetarian. They do not take into consideration source or processing of ingredients. Things like sugar, and L-cystine are in many of their "vegan" items. Last time I checked bone char, hair and feathers came from animals. My friends who work for PETA say PETA's leniency on the term vegan and why they encourage vegans to eat non-vegan food offered by fast food establishments and prepackaged treats is so these companies will continue to offer vegetarian options and possibly offer more in the future. If you remember when Burger King came out with their veggie burger, but still cooked them on the same grills as the beef patties and the buns contain whey and lard, PETA's response to vegans was pretty much "shut up and eat it." PETA is not a reliable source for food options. If you can't see the ingredients for yourself, assume it is not vegan.

Todd said...

I too as everyone else has, would like to thank you for your time putting together this site.

In regards to PETA, their lists are a joke. Hardly any of their lists of "vegan" items are in fact vegan, some are not even vegetarian. They do not take into consideration source or processing of ingredients. Things like sugar, and L-cystine are in many of their "vegan" items. Last time I checked bone char, hair and feathers came from animals. My friends who work for PETA say PETA's leniency on the term vegan and why they encourage vegans to eat non-vegan food offered by fast food establishments and prepackaged treats is so these companies will continue to offer vegetarian options and possibly offer more in the future. If you remember when Burger King came out with their veggie burger, but still cooked them on the same grills as the beef patties and the buns contain whey and lard, PETA's response to vegans was pretty much "shut up and eat it." PETA is not a reliable source for food options. If you can't see the ingredients for yourself, assume it is not vegan.

SilverMelinda said...

I don't know if anyone uses this blog anymore, but I'm a vegetarian working at a Quiznos and I just learned all of our breads, including the torpedo rolls, contain L-Cysteine. I don't know the source, so I'm assuming it's duck feathers because that's most common, and I've stopped eating it. The flatbread and new whole grain flatbread are both free of it though.