Chick-fil-A is adding mac and cheese as a side, snack and catering option in the first permanent addition to the chicken chain’s menu in three years.
The blend of macaroni and three types of cheese will be available starting today as a lunch and dinnertime alternative to the chain’s signature waffle fries. The new dish will also be offered in larger batches as a catering “quick pickup,” and as a stand-alone snack, Amanda Norris, Chick-fil-A’s executive director of menu and packaging, said in a statement.
Chick-fil-A said the mac and cheese will be baked daily in all of the chain’s restaurants, using cheddar, Parmesan and Romano cheeses. It was introduced in the suburban New York market for $3.15 a la carte. It contains 260 calories, according to Chick-fil-A’s website.
Chick-fil-A is a regular user of limited-time offers to bolster traffic. Simultaneous with the mac and cheese rollout, for instance, the chain is adding Frosted Caramel Coffee, a blend of coffee, caramel syrup and the chain’s Icedream proprietary soft-serve ice cream, for a limited run. It is also hawking the Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich, a limited-time offer of a chicken breast sandwich garnished with bacon and smoky barbecue sauce.
But permanent additions to the high-flying brand’s menu are rare. The last item to be added to the regular bill of fare was an egg white breakfast sandwich, in 2016.
“We have a very high bar when it comes to adding a menu item,” Norris said in the statement, “but the feedback from our customers in the test markets made this decision easy.” The product was a hit in the five markets where it was tested, according to Chick-fil-A, though it did not divulge sales figures.
The new coffee item is being marketed as a snack or treat rather than a beverage to wash down one of Chick-fil-A’s signature chicken items. It will be available until Nov. 9 or until supplies are depleted.
Chick-fil-A’s 2,370 U.S. restaurants generated $10.2 billion in sales during 2018, according to Technomic data, which ranks the privately owned business fifth on the ranking of the Top 500 restaurant chains by domestic systemwide sales.