When I heard the news about Einstein Bros. Bagels test marketing Udi’s gluten-free bagels in the Denver area last year, I assumed that it was just a matter of time before other locations of Einstein’s would offer gluten-free bagels as well. The fact that there is a huge gluten-free community in the Denver area should mean that Udi’s gluten-free bagels sales would do well. If that happened, it would make sense that Einstein Bros. Bagels might offer gluten-free bagels in other areas – especially those with large gluten-free communities.
To move things along, I wrote this post suggesting that anyone that wanted a gluten-free option at the bagel place might want to contact the company to let them know. There is an Einstein’s not far from me and I’d love to be able to go in and get a bagel there – or meet friends in town at other locations – just like I used to do when I ate gluten. I just assumed it was just a matter of time before that would be possible. Yes, I know it’s never safe to assume anything.
As most everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows, Udi’s gluten-free bagels are widely available in the U.S. now. Therefore, there should not be an issue regarding supplying other locations of Einstein Bros. Bagels with as many gluten-free bagels as needed. To those of you that don’t like the plain bagels, Udi’s is introducing some fantastic new bagel flavors in early 2010. Oh, to get a cinnamon raisin bagel at a bagel shop – what a treat that would be!
Every so often, I call one of the Einstein locations here to inquire about gluten-free bagels. In the beginning, my question was met with uncertainty about what gluten-free even meant. As more people called, employees and managers became more educated and knew exactly what we were asking about. They knew about the test market program out in Colorado and stated that presently, they didn’t have any gluten-free bagels in the Atlanta area.
When I called the corporate office of Einstein’s last week to ask about when the gluten-free bagels might roll out to other locations, the person I spoke to gave me some pretty bad news. Not only were the bagels not on the way to Atlanta (or elsewhere), the test market program in the Denver area is ending. The company did not switch to another brand of bagels – they just decided not to move forward with gluten-free bagels at this time. I was stunned by this news.
The nice representative at the corporate office of Einstein’s actually told me that me who supplied the bagels, Udi’s Gluten-Free, which of course, I already knew. Even so, I thought it was nice of the person to share that information with me. She also mentioned that they get requests daily asking about gluten-free bagels from people all over the U.S. asking when other locations of Einstein Bros. Bagels will offer gluten-free bagels.
When I hung up the phone I contacted someone at Udi’s to verify this news was actually true. After getting confirmation that the information was correct, my heart kind of sank. I know with any movement there are advances and set backs and in the scheme of things, this is a small set back overall. Like many people, I can drive five minutes to a store and buy Udi’s gluten-free bagels now. While it’s wonderful to be able to do that, it would be super exciting to walk into a bagel shop and get a gluten-free bagel. I’m sure the day will come when that’s possible, but maybe it won’t be at Einstein Bros. Bagels.
For those of you that want to complain about this change at Einstein’s, please consider calling the company directly. The toll free corporate office phone number is 1-800-224-3563. The company can also be contacted via this website form.