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Meal kits, family meals and indulgent treats continue to grab consumers

Operators built on the takeout and delivery trend but threw in a couple of surprises this week.
Photo courtesy of TooJays

Even though more states are allowing restaurants to open for dine-in business, takeout and delivery continue to be strong. To keep up with the competition, chains are constantly introducing new family meals and meal kits. But COVID-19 may be motivating some consumers to seek out immunity-boosting and functional foods, so those are coming onto menus, too. And sweet indulgences never seem to go out of style—especially during a pandemic. Here’s what’s happening this week.

Rubio’s is offering a Family Enchilada Meal for $29. It includes 10 enchiladas with a choice of chicken, steak, grilled shrimp, cheese or Norway lobster covered in verde enchilada sauce and topped with white sauce and salsa fresca. It’s served with a choice of citrus rice or Mexican rice, pinto beans or black beans, a bag of chips and guacamole.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen launched Family Bundles, an LTO with three options. These are geared to families of three, four or five and include Popeyes signature chicken, chicken sandwiches, sides, biscuits and apple pie in different configurations.

TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli is also calling its new package Family Meal Bundles. Priced at $49.99 for four, the options include the Deli Bundle (turkey, ham, roast beef, cheese and all the sandwich fixings); the Turkey Dinner Bundle, with soup, salad and a hot turkey entree; and the Shepherd’s Pie Bundle.

Panda Express reintroduced its Family Meal deal featuring a choice of three entrees and two sides for $20. That makes it possible to feed a family of four for $5 per person.

Panda Express

The Habit Burger Grill debuted a Family Char Meal for $25. It includes four Charburgers with cheese, four fries and a garden entree salad.

The Cheesecake Factory debuted a Happy Hour Menu package squarely aimed at grownups—to enjoy at home or at a distance on-premise, where permitted. Available Monday-Friday from 2-4:30 p.m., the package features 10 of the chain’s signature menu items for $7.50 each and bottles of private reserve house wine for $15. Purchasers can mix and match six items, including Avocado Eggrolls, Roadside Sliders and Chicken Potstickers.

In the kit category, Dunkin’ rolled out DIY doughnut kits. Each comes with four plain doughnuts, three different frostings and three different cups of sprinkles, allowing purchasers to decorate doughnuts at home.

A launch by Cold Stone Creamery is also aimed at America’s collective sweet tooth. Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream is a new limited-time flavor available on its own or as  part of two extravaganzas. The PB Dough Delight Creation features the ice cream paired with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces, cookie dough and fudge, while the Peanut Butter Pretzel Time Creation combines the ice cream with pretzels, sugar crystals and peanut butter sauce.

Cold Stone

And for frozen yogurt fans, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt brought back Salted Caramel Froyo. It’s made with caramel frozen yogurt and crushed Twix bars.  

On the healthy side, Juice It Up is promoting its immune boosters. In the lineup are a Superfruit Sunrise Smoothie—a blend of acerola, fresh ginger, orange juice, banana, passion fruit juice and pineapple—and the Mighty-C Immunity Shot, a blend of raw ingredients including pineapple, ginger, red grapes and lemon juice.  

And Argo Tea unveiled several seasonal specials with health-focused ingredients. The Green Tea Strawberry Creme is a blend of Japanese green tea with strawberry and a hint of vanilla, while Matcha Mint Teappuccino is a combo of mint tea with matcha powder. New on the food menu is Argo’s Cherry Greek Yogurt Danish and an Egg Scramble Bistro Savory.  

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