Consumers gravitated toward familiar favorites in January, perhaps to counter holiday excess or beat the winter blahs. Burgers and other beefy LTOs scored well, especially when the meat was topped with bacon and cheese. Sweets also caught diners’ attention, even at breakfast.
Click ahead to see the 10 most appealing limited-time offers at chains from December through January, as indicated by Technomic’s MenuSurf survey, powered by Ignite. (The canvass of 500 consumers for 100 or more LTOs shows which are most likely to be ordered on the basis of the item’s name and description. Results are rounded to the nearest whole number.)
10. Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Maggiano’s Little Italy stepped away from its Italian-focused menu with a meat-and-potatoes entree geared to hearty appetites. The description of the chain’s Roasted Beef Tenderloin—which is accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes, crispy onion strings and red wine jus—prompted over 57% of consumers to say they would purchase the dish.
9. Double Stacked Bacon Cheeseburger
Although Buffalo Wild Wings is popular for its wings, consumers gave high marks to the chain’s Double Stacked Bacon Cheeseburger in January. The limited-time offer features two juicy all-beef patties with bacon, melted American cheese, grilled red onions and a chipotle sauce on a brioche bun. The combination won over close to 58% of potential purchasers.
8. Cini Minis
Respondents seem to be in favor of sweet snacks to beat the January doldrums, as Burger King’s Cini Minis garnered a purchase intent score of slightly over 58%. The description that tempted consumers stressed indulgence in a small package: warm, freshly baked, delicious bite-size cinnamon rolls with an icing dipping sauce.
7. Deep Dish Chocolate Silk Pie
Although January is often tagged as “diet month,” it left a good number of consumers craving chocolate, judging from the more than 58% who then said they would purchase a slice of Deep Dish Chocolate Silk Pie from McCormick & Schmick’s. The dessert was described as containing rich and silky chocolate mousse, fresh seasonal berries and raspberry sauce.
6. Garlic Parmesan Pasta Skillet
Cotton Patch Cafe introduced a soothing bowl of warm pasta to chase the winter chills. The limited-time offer resonated with the 59% of consumers who indicated they would order the dish. According to the item’s description, the spaghetti is prepared with grilled shrimp or chicken breast in a creamy garlic Parmesan sauce, tossed with broccoli and tomatoes and topped with shaved Parmesan.
5. Cheesy Bacon Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Pivoting from its burger-centric menu, Burger King launched a chicken LTO. Similar to Buffalo Wild Wings’ double-stacked burger, the sandwich ingredients are described using premium wording—its description mentions a white-meat seasoned chicken filet with crispy breading, topped with smoky bacon and smothered in layers of cheese sauce and slices of melted American cheese on a toasted potato bun. Fifty-nine percent of consumers said they would purchase the sandwich based on that description.
4. Steak and Bacon Melt
In keeping with its “We’ve Got the Meats” tagline, Arby’s January LTO was a Steak and Bacon Melt. Here again, the carrier was not a standard bun, but a toasted ciabatta roll. The build includes thick-sliced petite tender filet, served medium, with melted cheddar, pepper bacon, crispy onions and steakhouse ranch dressing. That description convinced 59% of consumers to say they would order the Steak and Bacon Melt.
3. Steakhouse Bacon Cheeseburger
Sonic also went the beef, bacon and cheese route this winter. The chain’s Steakhouse Bacon Cheeseburger features a quarter-pound 100% beef patty, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, grilled onions and a smoky black pepper mayo. Once again, the sandwich boasts an elevated carrier—a bakery-quality brioche bun. This premium description appealed to nearly 64% of respondents, who indicated they would purchase the item.
2. Waffles and Strawberries
Consumers seeking a bit of breakfast decadence gave La Madeleine’s Waffles with Strawberries high marks, resulting in a purchase intent score of close to 65%. The country French-inspired chain serves up the Belgian-style waffles with fresh strawberries and syrup.
1. BLT Cheeseburger
Edging out La Madeleine’s waffle LTO by 0.2 percentage points is a BLT Cheeseburger from Jack in the Box, racking up a purchase intent score of 65% when rounded up. The menu description—a tasty, full-size cheeseburger made with hickory smoked bacon, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and real mayonnaise on a buttery bakery bun—earned the burger first place in January.