QSRs are diversifying their menus to draw in a broader customer base

Many restaurateurs are getting creative with their menus, adding new items, focusing on fresh flavours, and targeting new markets as they continue to compete for attention. Over half of restaurants plan to add LTOs to the menu this year, to up perceived value, and offer guests something new to try and a reason to visit. Rather than simply adding seasonal specials, some chains are adding new menu items that deviate vastly from their traditional offerings.

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Tim Hortons has branched out, introducing flatbread pizzas to their lineup, including Bacon Everything, Chicken Parmesan, Pepperoni and Simply Cheese. The pizzas range from $6.99 to $7.99 and will be available to order for delivery through the Tim Hortons app starting May 1. “We’re looking forward to having our guests try all our new Flatbread Pizzas and discover their new go-to lunch and dinner order with Tims,” said Hope Bagozzi, chief marketing officer.

In sandwich news, Subway has introduced a whole new line of globally-inspired sandwiches to the menu, offering guests a variety of options and flavours. The lineup includes a Chimichurri Steak and Cheese, Nashville-style Hot Chicken, Zesty Cuban Crunch, Tandoori Twist, Shawarma Chicken, and Jerk-spiced Chicken. “Our menu is inspired by the multicultural landscape of Canada, it’s a twist on what you expect from Subway, and we’re so excited for everyone to try it,” said Lisa Mazurkewich, head of marketing at Subway Canada.

Recently, Taco Bell announced its intent to enter the chicken nugget market, beginning later this year. They will be adding Crispy Chicken Nuggets, using all-white meat marinated in a spiced jalapeño buttermilk, breaded, and then fried. They will be available with a choice of two sauces: jalapeño honey mustard or Bell sauce, which is made with tomatoes, red chiles, onion, and garlic.

Studies show that 13 per cent of fast-food menus are allocated to LTOs or seasonal items, so it can represent significant sales throughout the season. These chains are not only adding new and fresh items, but many are adding product lineups that deviate completely from their traditional offerings as a way to reach new customers and attract a bigger crowd.

Image credit: Tim Hortons