With international flavors in high demand, chefs and operators are looking for menu inspiration from every corner of the world. Each quarter, Technomic’s Global Foodservice Navigator Program looks at what’s trending on chain menus in 25 countries. These unique items and limited-time offers gathered from around the globe may spark some ideas for your menu.
1. Fries Burrito
This novelty LTO is touted as “bizarrely tasty” on Taco Bell’s menu in Brazil. French fries in the filling take the burrito into unique territory, while bell peppers, cheese and a choice of beef or chicken offer a taste of tradition. Customers have the option of adding ranch or chipotle sauce to tie the ingredients together.
2. Butter Chicken-Less Cauliflower Poutine
Smoke’s Poutinerie in Canada gives cauliflower an Indian accent for this plant-based poutine preparation. The fried cauliflower is flavored with characteristic butter chicken sauce, then it’s piled on hand-cut fries along with cheese curds, gravy and fried green onions.
3. El Yucatan
France is not known for hot and spicy cuisine, yet Bagel Corner introduced this fiery sandwich LTO to French consumers, even serving it with a tiny bottle of Tabasco for an extra shot of heat. The sandwich is layered with smoked turkey, Tabasco cream cheese, salad greens and grilled red and green peppers on a Tabasco-spiked bagel—proof that spicy flavor profiles are gaining
4. Durian Chicken Nuggets
Durian, that custardy Southeast Asian fruit, shows up as a breaded filling for chicken nuggets at KFC in China. The aroma of durian seems to turn off many consumers in the States, but it’s well-loved among Asians. KFC generated lots of buzz by using durian in this unexpected format.
5. Pumpkin Salad
Fall is also pumpkin time in countries other than the U.S., and Vapiano in Germany capitalized on the ingredient in a seasonal salad. The menu item is a combo of fried pumpkin cubes flavored with sage over a mix of corn salad, spring onions, croutons and cherry tomatoes. The salad is dressed with a blend of balsamic vinegar and pumpkin seed oil.
7. Elotes Wings
Mexican street food meets sports bar grub in this menu addition at TGI Fridays in Spain. Each order comes with four whole chicken wings, marinated, cooked and served on grilled wheat tortillas. Topping it off are white cheese, mayo, corn kernels, Buffalo sauce, coriander and lemon.
8. Boba Toast
Boba or tapioca pearls, typically used in bubble tea, are repurposed into a breakfast item at Ya Kun Kaya Toast in Indonesia. The concept, known for its different takes on toast, uses the boba over toast that is spread with cream cheese. Customers can also opt for kaya (coconut jam) and chocolate as extra toppings.
9. Sliders Collection
In Kuwait, Applebee’s is embracing off-premise and shareability with its new Sliders Collection. Customers can mix and match the sliders in sets of three, six or nine, and they come in delivery-friendly flat boxes. They’re available in beef and chicken variations with toppings such as white queso, Korean barbecue and Sriracha-lime sauce.
11. Mac N Cheese Pizza
American comfort foods, such as mac and cheese and pizza, appeal to consumers in other parts of the world, too. Papa John’s combined both these classics for a Mac N Cheese Pizza, offered on its menus in Russia. The pie features macaroni, cheese sauce, mozzarella, bacon, onions and Italian herbs baked in a pizza crust.
12. Carrot Cake Overnight Oats Pot
Healthier portable breakfast items are gaining popularity in the Middle East. To jump on this trend, Costa Coffee debuted on-trend overnight oats for grab-and-go customers in United Arab Emirates. It features the flavors of carrot cake for an indulgent twist on a vegan breakfast.