I HAVE BEEN FLIED TO. (that’s a food lie)
About a month ago, I was super excited to find out that Capriotti’s, a sub sandwich chain, not only had vegetarian subs, but was opening a new location in my ‘hood. I wrote to the PR contact pronto:
My name is Andrea and I write for SuperVegan.com – I just read about your location that is opening tomorrow in LA and decided to check out your website to see what your Veggie options are and was delighted to find your faux turkey sandwiches! I would like to visit the restaurant and do a post about this. BUT, can you please tell me if your sandwiches are suitable for a Vegan (if the cheese is left off, of course)? It would be extra great if you could send me an ingredients list for these items, and the bread, too!
Here is what I heard back:
Thanks so much for reaching out! The Veggie Turkey is suitable for vegans.
I will double check about getting the ingredients for the items. The bread might be difficult since it is a propriety recipe that has been used for 35 years.
I do know for a fact The Bobbie, which is the signature sandwich, is unfortunately not vegan, as the stuffing has chicken stock.
I would be happy to send some coupons- just let me know the best address.
How exciting, right? Here’s my reply to her reply:
Thanks, [name redacted]-
Do you know what brand of Veggie Turkey it is? And it’s okay if you can’t share the bread ingredients, but would be great to know if it’s vegan and whether or not it contains honey. And too bad about the stuffing, that’s always the most delicious part. Tell someone over there to start using a faux chicken stock, pretty please?
Coupons! Lucky me!
Now you might think I’m making these e-mails up, after the fact, but that’s just how I write, K? So then, I didn’t hear anything for awhile. I eagerly checked the mailbox every day to no avail. Finally, I followed-up AGAIN.
I’d still love to review this– any update for me? And I never received anything from you, just in case you sent me those coupons!
To which they responded:
I actually just got more coupons in on Friday so I will send those out to you today.
There is no honey in the bread!
I finally got the coupons and headed there at lunch time today. I had a pretty thorough conversation with a gentlemen behind the counter about what was and was not vegan. He told me the veggie burger was Morningstar Farms and not vegan. He told me the Veggie Cheesesteak was vegan, if you leave the cheese off, which we agreed was kindof lame. He knew I was a Vegan blogger and he knew I was ordering myself a Veggie Turkey Sub and he said nothing. Even when I asked him what brand the Veggie Turkey was, he said, “Worthington’s.” Now, I guess I should’ve known that most Worthington’s products contain non-vegan things like egg whites, but you know what– SO SHOULD THEY. Especially after asking and re-asking and then asking again.
After I demolished the sandwich, posted a picture of it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter proclaiming its yumminess, I got curious and went on the good ol’ internet to find out about Worthington’s. I was concerned. Then some of you fine SuperVegans seconded my concern. I immediately wrote to that PR person again asking if it really was vegan after all and heard nothing right away. I tweeted some more. Capriotti’s started following and then got in on it, apologizing and asking me to write them directly to “make it up to me.” So I did.
Here’s the reply I got to that e-mail:
As an owner of Capriotti’s, I am very embarrassed for the miscommunication which led you to eat a non-Vegan product, promote it, and have it hurt your credibility. As mentioned in our tweet to you our Veggie Chicken Cheesesteak is vegan, but the turkey is not. We have vegetarians and vegans that work here and very much appreciate our Vegetarian and Vegan customers that we have. I feel awful and completely understand your anger over this. I will personally make sure that our PR firm doesn’t have incorrect info and misinform anyone about our products again. Please let me know what I can do to make this right.
THEN, I heard back from PR Land:
I can not express how sincerely sorry I am. I do not think words can describe how terrible I feel for misleading you.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do in an attempt to make up for this.
I hope this will not negatively affect you feelings for Capriotti’s as this was my fault. I clearly believed it was vegan. While I am not vegan myself I know how important this is.
Again, my sincerest apologies.
This is just so unfortunate, and not just because of the diarrhea.
Now, let’s get some perspective. This is not the end of the world. I am not going to die. (They are lucky I am not deathly allergic to egg whites though, that’s for sure.) I do believe that this was a colossal clusterfuck of fuck-ups on every level that was not intentional, but just — I don’t know what– laziness? Ignorance? A lot of times people do the best they can, but a lot of other times people do the least work possible to get the job done. Now that they’ve been caught and called-out I think they genuinely feel terrible and want to make amends somehow and I do appreciate that as much as I can. And trust me, if this was just a regular ol’ case of “accidents happen” I would not be making such a big stink. Accidents DO happen regularly, but never before have I experienced one with so many flies (food lies) involved in it’s conception.
So SuperVegans, I want to hear from you. What CAN they do to “make this right”?? Keep in mind that now the only Vegan item on their menu is that Veggie Chicken Cheesesteak minus the cheese, and really, what’s the point of that?