Operators banking on a boost in traffic from LTOs say fresh riffs with turkey tick all the right boxes. It’s a super versatile protein option, perfect for taking on an array of different preparations and flavors. Additionally, it’s healthy, so it’s great for diners who want a better-for-you option that they can feel good about. Finally, some diners just prefer turkey over other proteins, whether because of dietary restrictions or just personal preference. All these factors make it no surprise that turkey is popping up on LTO menu items all over.
Here are a few ideas for operators to draw inspiration from if they’re looking to menu a turkey LTO. These five options take classic menu options and add a twist with turkey.
1. On the breakfast menu
Last holiday season at Another Broken Egg Cafe, diners enjoyed ordering the Turkey and Cranberry Benedict. Where Eggs Benedict is typically served with hollandaise sauce, Canadian bacon and a poached egg, this dish featured slow oven-roasted turkey and poached eggs over house-made stuffing. It’s topped with hollandaise, cranberry chutney and green onions and served with grits or country potatoes.
Incorporating holiday flavors is great during the holiday season but incorporating seasonal flavors during other times of the year on the breakfast menu is simple. During springtime, for instance, serve an updated version of Eggs Florentine, replacing spinach with spring-fresh asparagus and tucking slices of turkey underneath it. At the peak of summer, serve the dish with sun-dried tomato chutney and fresh corn, and when fall comes back around, offer up Eggs Benedict, butternut squash and hollandaise with sage.
2. As a favorite appetizer or snack
Snack and appetizer menus are often piled high with fried foods, but that doesn’t mean operators can’t branch out and serve more unique items. For instance, sliders provide diners with a way to try something new, plus they’re easy to share when operators menu a plate of three or four of them to an order.
Best of all, they’re versatile and take to a number of different variations—that is, they don’t have to be in the standard cheeseburger form. Try offering sliders with turkey instead of beef patties, as White Castle did in Q4 of 2018. The chain’s Bistro Turkey Sliders featured a turkey burger made with Butterball turkey and topped with bistro sauce. The chain also menued a Cheddar and Apple Butter Turkey Slider with a Butterball turkey burger, smoky cheddar cheese and cinnamon apple butter.
3. In a favorite hot sandwich
Traditional Reuben sandwiches feature corned beef piled high and topped with Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Enter turkey—this all-star protein takes the spotlight in an LTO Turkey Reuben offered by the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery. It features roasted turkey served on marble rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. Low in fat and lower in sodium than corned beef, roasted turkey is the perfect option for diners who want to indulge in these favorite flavors without compromising their diets.
4. As part of an ethnic-food menu
Although consumers are interested in trying global foods and ingredients, familiar flavors and formats are key for hooking those who might be a bit hesitant to step outside of the menu box. Turkey offers a way to provide comfortable adventure. California Tortilla’s Chili Nachos LTO—the chain’s classic nachos, smothered in their signature turkey chili—is one example of how to do it. Roasted turkey can also fit seamlessly in quesadillas (chicken and shrimp are standard offerings, but turkey shouldn’t be left out!), and ground turkey is perfect in tacos when spiced with cumin, chili powder, garlic, onion and more. Del Taco, in fact, offers turkey as a permanent menu item, in crunch and soft taco shells.
5. As a canvas for regional American flavors
Appealing to adventurous tastes doesn’t have to mean serving LTOs from across the globe. While ethnic fare is exciting, flavors found closer to home can be a great way to amp things up for your diners. Regional American cuisines can satisfy their hunger for nostalgic dishes with a unique twist.
As the perfect all-American protein, turkey makes a tasty addition to a variety of regional dishes. It’s a better-for-you platform for all kinds of flavors, from the spices of the Southwest to the fun finds in Philly.
Get more inspiration and insights for regional LTOs in the next slideshow.