QSR combos are driving traffic with value

As more consumers make cuts to their discretionary spending, many operators are looking for ways to increase traffic and boost the bottom line. While more value doesn’t always mean cheaper pricing, some operators are creating combos and LTOs to stand out and offer more to their customers.

Most recently, McDonald’s announced a new lineup of five-dollar meals to their menu. For a limited time only, customers can order small fries, a small drink, four Chicken McNuggets, and choose from a McDouble burger or McChicken sandwich as their combo. “We’ve heard fans loud and clear – they’re looking for even more great value and this summer that’s exactly what they’ll get,” said Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA.

Starbucks has also entered the combo space, recently introducing a new Pairings Menu, featuring two options: the choice of hot coffee, iced coffee, or tea, with a croissant for five dollars, or the choice of hot coffee, iced coffee, or tea, with any savoury breakfast sandwich for six dollars. Rachel Ruggeri, executive vice president and CFO of Starbucks, said “More recently, what we are seeing is headwinds related to our customers, particularly our occasional customers, largely as it relates to the awareness of what we have and the perception of value,” during the recent Deutsch Bank global consumer conference.

Taco Bell has their own value meal combo, featuring one specialty item, one taco or burrito, a side dish, and a drink for six dollars. As well, a cravings snack menu is now available, offering customers three-dollar options like beef nachos, double-stacked tacos, or three-cheese flatbread so guests can mix and match.

Domino’s Pizza has a Mix and Match Deal on the menu, offering guests the option to choose from a variety of items pizzas, bread, chicken, sandwiches, pastas, and salad, each costing seven dollars when they order two or more items.

Adding combos to the menu can increase perceived customer value, help restaurants differentiate themselves, and increase sales. Operators will need to continue to get creative as they struggle to get ahead in today’s crowded marketplace.