Restaurant chains continue to tap tried-and-true trends in new menu launches. Limited-time offers that focus on health, value and comfort reflect current consumer demand during these uncertain times. Chicken is still the protein of choice, showing up in spicy sandwiches and tacos, but meat and potatoes are starting to trend as the weather cools. And pumpkin is not losing its status as the top seasonal flavor, especially as restaurants tie into the upcoming Halloween holiday.
Chicken sandwiches soar
Several chains are putting the heat on fried chicken this week, promoting spicy builds in sandwiches. Roy Rogers debuted a Bacon Bourbon Chicken Sandwich with a signature bourbon sauce described as “a little heat, a little sweet,” topped with pepper jack cheese on a bun. Over at casual-dining Ninety Nine Restaurants, the spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich features a buttermilk Tabasco-breaded chicken breast drizzled with Sriracha ranch, while Burger-Fi introduced its Spicy Fi’ed Chicken Sandwich topped with ghost pepper honey, housemade jalapeno pickle chips and spicy mayo.
Chicken tacos take off
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is spotlighting spicy fried chicken in its namesake tacos. The Baja Hot Chicken Taco is the chain’s take on Nashville fried chicken and is flavored with Fuzzy’s Butt Burnin’ Hot Sauce and garlic sauce, then layered with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and feta in a flour tortilla. The Cluckin’ Fried Chicken Taco is for more timid taste buds, featuring garlic sauce, bacon, avocado, cheese, tomatoes and ranch.
Comfort foods chase the chill
Several chicken items also star in Lazy Dog’s comfort food-inspired fall menu. Chicken Cordon Bleu is made with a hand-breaded chicken breast topped with shaved applewood smoked ham, melted Swiss and whole grain mustard cream sauce and served with a pilaf of wild rice, almonds and mushrooms. Two new chicken dishes also join the casual-dining chain’s frozen TV dinner lineup: Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Nuggets.
Aside from chicken, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar debuted a roster of other comforting dishes. Lamb Shank Pot Pie, Cheddar Cheese Curds with marinara sauce and Nashville hot ranch, and Bananas Foster French Toast offer warmth as the weather turns chilly.
Meat and potato season is here
Meat and potatoes are cozy ways to beat the chill at Moe’s Southwest Grill. The fast casual’s new Loaded Steak & Potato Burrito and Bowl are available through Nov. 16. Both feature sirloin steak, seasoned potatoes, bacon, cheese, sour cream and queso.
Value and convenience are the selling points at Logan’s Roadhouse. The steakhouse expanded its menu by adding Southern Fried Fish to its American Roadhouse Meals lineup, giving guests another protein choice with its everyday deal of an entrée and two sides for $8.99 between 3 and 6 p.m. Also available for dine-in, to-go and delivery is Logan’s new “Make it a Combo” offer in which customers can add wood-grilled chicken, hand-cut salmon, shrimp or a crab cake to any entree.
Pumpkin spice forever
Black Bear Diner is taking advantage of pumpkin’s popularity with three LTOs. Available through Nov. 29 are Pumpkin Spice Pancakes, Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew. With any regular pancake order, guests can upgrade to pumpkin pancakes for $1 more.
Healthy still in demand
For the health-conscious consumer, new fall salads are on the menu at SAJJ Mediterranean’s. San Francisco Bay-area locations. Five new Mediterranean-inspired choices are now available: Fatoush Salad (a Middle Eastern-style bread salad flavored with pomegranate molasses, sumac and mint), Tabbouleh Salad, Greek Salad, Fava Bean Salad and SAJJ Rocca (a toss of wild arugula, tomato, onion, sumac and balsamic dressing.)
And Sweetgreen has curated a menu of salads and bowls that are only available through online orders. Included are the Autumn Caesar Salad, Sweet Balsamic Brussels warm bowl and Curry Cauliflower warm bowl. Two fall options are also debuting in Sweetgreen’s new Plates category: Chicken Curry Cauliflower and Cranberry Maple Chicken.