Avocado toast has become an “it” food on consumers’ own breakfast tables. Google Trends reports Web searches for the item have risen 31 percent since last June. Independent restaurants were quick to jump on the trend, and in April, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced a QSR version, more or less. The LTO, which joins the chain’s lineup of more than a dozen breakfast sandwiches, uses guacamole. Dunkin’ sees the ingredient as a way to differentiate its a.m. offerings from all the quick-service players vying for on-the-go morning customers.
1. Breakfast 24/7
The goal of the LTO was to deliver “an innovative menu item that can be enjoyed any time of day,” says Paul Racicot of Dunkin’ Brands’ research and development team. He notes that the sandwich’s format, portability and ingredients span dayparts.
2. Building on success
Racicot used the chain’s best-selling Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich as a base for the LTO. The team found that its ingredients, including cheddar cheese, worked best with the guacamole in terms of flavor profile and execution. Plus everything, except the guacamole, already was in-house.
3. A flat-out standout
While flatbreads appear on just 3 percent of QSR menus, according to Chicago research company Food Genius, Dunkin’ had a foldable multigrain version among its SKUs, having introduced the carrier when it installed toasting ovens in 2008. R&D found it worked well with the guac, which oozes out the sides of sturdier breads—a factor for commuters.
4. Authenticity counts
Racicot worked with a supplier to create a proprietary guacamole recipe. Color was important. “And authentic guacamole is not completely smooth, so we incorporated texture with chunks of avocado, diced tomatoes and chopped onion,” he says. “We wanted the fresh avocado taste throughout, with cilantro on the midpalate. Lime juice and jalapeño were added to make the flavors pop on the sandwich,” he notes.
“We see big opportunities for growth in our breakfast and bakery-sandwich categories, especially as we continue to expand our all-day menu platform,” says John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation for Dunkin’ Brands. Also a focus: seasonal flavors.