The new trend in limited-time offers has less to do with the food than it does with how it’s portioned. Chains of varying types are trying to fill menu gaps by offering new serving sizes that fall between an individual meal and the big packages typically offered as catering options.
But that’s not the only place where size matters. In the booming snacks market, portioning is more important than price in identifying something suitable for a between-meal energy boost, according to Technomic. It suggests that consumers prefer a Goldilocks approach, looking for a size that’s just right.
Here are some examples of what’s happening in portion sizing.
Big is better: Buffalo Wild Wings’ 60-wing takeout pack
The promotion is tied to the Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament, a series of televised bouts that extends deep into the summer. The packaged deal is marketed as an easy way to feed a UFC viewing party.
Not every store offers the deal, as we learned in checking stores in the Greater New York area, and prices vary.
The Dickey’s Barbecue chain introduced three new packaged meals this spring for customers looking for an easy way to handle graduation party guests or contribute to the spread at a family reunion. The Family Packs fall in size between full-scale catering orders and a garden-variety takeout order for a group.
The packs come in three sizes: the Picnic Pack, intended for two to four people, with a pound of meat, two sides and four rolls; the Family Pack, with two one-pound servings of meat, three sides and six rolls, for four to six people; and the XL Family Pack, with three one-pound servings of meat, four sides and eight rolls, or what Dickey’s says is enough food for six to eight people.
Pizza Hut’s new Triple Treat
Yum Brands’ pizza chain has just added an LTO aimed at groups—the Triple Treat Box: Summer Edition. In addition to packing two medium-size pizzas, the meal deal includes an order of breadsticks and an oversized chocolate chip cookie for dessert. The suggested retail price is $19.99.
KFC’s tried and true bucket
Buckets of chicken may be a longstanding signature of KFC in its native United States, but the vat approach is apparently still a novelty in China, as the chain learned this year with a bucket promotion. Management cited the push of the oversized order as a big reason for the chain’s sales successes in a market that has been wildly challenging for the brand, one of the first U.S. chains to blitz the Asian market.
Closer to home, the chain is touting its $20 Fill Up, a bulk order of eight pieces of chicken, four biscuits and two orders of mashed potato, all for two sawbucks.
McDonald’s 48-nugget bucket
A bucket also acts as the serving size for a McNuggets meal that McDonald’s introduced in Japan. The container holds 48 of the bite-size pieces of boneless chicken—20% more than the largest order of McNuggets offered here in the States, a 40 pack. McDonald’s has repeatedly said that menu and operational ideas that work in one geographic market will likely be transplanted to others, but it has given no indication that buckets will soon be filled in domestic units.