New menu launches run the gamut

From date night dinners to family meals and sweets, restaurants innovate to lure customers.
Surf and Turf
Photo courtesy of Red Lobster

Most restaurants are still focusing on takeout and delivery, with drive-thrus also striving for a share of sales. But menu developers are hoping that bored, housebound consumers may be eager to try something new. With that in mind, several chains are introducing new riffs on favorites, new deals and new limited-time offers.

Date night specials to-go were a popular item this week. Red Lobster introduced three Date Night Deals designed for couples sheltering in place. All include an appetizer, entree for two, family-sized sides, four Cheddar Bay Biscuits and dessert. The Lobster Date Night centers on two Maine lobster tails, while the Surf & Turf Date Night adds two wood-grilled steaks to the plate. The Ultimate Date Night entree includes lobster tails, snow crab legs, garlic shrimp scampi and corn flake-crusted shrimp. All come with a customized playlist and unique Zoom backgrounds that help couples mimic the restaurant experience at home—either separately or together.

Mellow Mushroom also debuted a Date Night at Home meal. Available on Wednesdays, it features two 10-inch stone-baked pizzas and an order of pretzel bites for $25. And Lettuce Entertain You’s Beatrix restaurant launched a couple of date meal options. While guests can order a three-course dinner for two from a selection of entrees at $40, couples can also opt for brunch from Friday through Sunday at a price of $30. The meal includes green chile enchiladas, hash browns, coffee and orange juice.

Family meals to-go are still going strong. New additions to the roster include Pei Wei AsianDiner’s Family Bundle, with choices such as chicken lettuce wraps or crab wontons; fried rice or lo mein; two entrees; and Thai donuts for dessert ($29.99). McAlister’s Deli is now offering Family Meals for four. The options include mac and cheese with toppings, baked potatoes with toppings, grilled chicken salad and McAlister’s club sandwiches. All come with a 32-ounce side and a gallon beverage.


Freebirds World Burrito rolled out its version of family meals. The roster includes the Freebirds Family Meal, with one Steak Freebird, one Chicken Freebird and two kids chicken quesadllla meals. Also on offer is a taco kit and a nacho kit. And Del Frisco’s Grille has a Family-Style Dinner Pack that includes a large salad to share, entree and two sides, starting at $35 per person. Entree selections range from roast chicken with chimichurri, fillet tenderloin with stroganoff sauce and salmon with dill aioli. The upscale chain also rolled out meal kits for two ($64), featuring two filet mignon steaks, Del Frisco’s seasoning blend, asparagus, baby kale, cabernet butter, shaved Brussels sprouts, quinoa and more, complete with cooking instructions.

On the sweets side, Krispy Kreme is tempting consumers with a new promotion: Fresh Off the Line Doughnuts. The chain will feature different doughnut varieties every week for three weeks. First up are the Strawberry Glazed Doughnut and the Strawberry Kreme Filled Doughnut, followed by the Key Lime Glazed and Key Lime Kreme Filled doughnuts. Last in the lineup are versions of the same doughnuts in lemon flavor.

Krispy Kreme

Starting this month, Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes is offering baked-in-house chocolate chip cookies on its regular menu at franchise locations across the country. The cookies were formerly available only through catering orders.

And dessert LTOs made their debut from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which brought back its Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Pie, and Marie Callender’s, which is promoting two seasonal desserts: Lemon Meringue Pie and Luscious Lemon Cake Pie.

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