Menu hacks and their influence on QSRs

Restaurants have always created dishes to appeal to their guests, of course, but some QSRs have taken it to the next level, allowing Canadian customers to weigh in with hacks to influence their menus with custom creations.

Last fall, Harvey’s launched its first customer-created menu item, adding the Pickle Pickle poutine to the roster, featuring their classic poutine, topped with two deep-fried pickles, diced pickles, and a creamy ranch sauce. “Our Pickle Pickle Poutine is made for pickle lovers,” said Adrianna Largo, president of marketing during the launch. “It was inspired by a TikTok menu hack that garnered a lot of attention… We knew we were onto something and developed this unique twist on our famous poutine to make it a real menu item.”

Recently, A&W Canada launched their spicy Piri Piri Potato Buddy, featuring a hashbrown potato patty as the star. These items were added to the menu as a result of guest feedback from the local South-Asian community. “This hack was happening organically at A&Ws all across Canada. It was a no-brainer for us to develop a recipe that complements our guests’ love for a potato patty substitute and adds a nice flavour kick to it,” said Karan Suri director of menu development at A&W Canada.

Most recently, McDonald’s launched a new Remix menu, featuring mashups of classic customer favourites. The menu offers the Surf ‘n’ Turf Burger, Chicken Cheeseburger, Sweet Chili Junior Chicken, and the Apple Pie McFlurry. The menu was launched along with a new version of its 1980s menu jingle and is available for a limited time only. “This is tapping into what customers and what fans are already doing today and just making it official and having fun with it,” said Alyssa Buetikofer, McDonald’s Canada’s chief marketing officer.

With so many foodies on social media, it makes sense for restaurants and QSRs to pay attention to which menu items are getting attention, hidden menus and guest-created hacks, and the demand for a more creative take on the menu. Considering the trends and incorporating them into the menu can help operators build their brand, get attention, and increase traffic for their restaurants.