Consumers may be visiting restaurants less often, but they’ll make the trip for the right new bait, as several chains have attested in detailing recent traffic trends. Here’s a look at recent menu additions they’ve described as lighting a rocket under sales.
1. Dunkin’ Donuts: Cold-brew coffee
The doughnuts chain broke its record for coffee sales during the third quarter, largely because of the new cold-brew java, according to Nigel Travis, CEO of parent company Dunkin’ Brands.
“On an incremental sales basis, cold brew has been the most successful product launch this century and is helping to drive our coffee credibility,” Travis told investors.
The new coffee has been particularly appealing to young and sophisticated consumers, noted Chris Fuqua, SVP of marketing, consumer insights and product innovation.
3. Del Taco: The Del Taco
One of the standout financial performers during the third quarter, Del Taco enjoyed a 6.7% comp-sales gain in part because of a new product, a revamped taco christened the Del Taco. The taco is available in both soft- and hard-shell versions, but it’s the latter—the “crunchy version,” in Del Taco parlance—that was hailed by management as a particular hit.
“The Del Taco broke the all-time sales record for new product introductions, achieving [a] mid-teens sales mix between a la carte and combo meal sales,” said Chief Brand Officer John Cappasola.
4. Domino’s: Salads
Management did not disclose sales figure for the new three-salad line, but it provided plenty of other head-turning metrics. Same-store sales for the third quarter leapt 13%, and more than half the chain’s restaurant sales are now generated by digital ordering.
The executives suggested that the new salad line could provide a nudge to those figures by increasing both orders and ticket amounts. They asserted that the offer of something lighter would allay the veto vote, presumably when someone in the family didn’t feel like having pizza, while also providing an attractive add-on choice.
The salads, introduced in August, come in three varieties: Classic Garden, Caesar Chicken and Chicken Apple Pecan.