Perhaps the start of barbecue season fired up cravings for grilled meat, as consumers were enticed by meaty menu items in May, with burgers, ribs and steak scoring high in purchase intent. Chocolate and berries also had their fans, showing up in several items on this list.
Click ahead to see 10 of the most appealing chain LTOs from April through May, as indicated by Technomic’s MenuSurf survey, powered by Ignite. (The canvass of 500 consumers for 100 or more limited-time offers shows which are the most likely to be ordered on the basis of the item’s name and description. Results are rounded to the nearest whole number.)
10. Fresh Strawberry Buttermilk Pancake Platter
Seasonal strawberries paired with pancakes tempted 57% of consumers to say they would purchase this breakfast platter from Perkins Restaurant & Bakery. The word “fresh” also is a selling point, according to Technomic’s consumer research. The description of the pancake platter includes a reference to ample portion size as well: three buttermilk pancakes topped with glazed strawberries, powdered sugar and whipped topping accompanied by two eggs and bacon.
9. Bourbon BBQ Steak
Arby’s introduced several bourbon-flavored barbecue sandwiches as limited-time offers during this period. Of the 500 consumers surveyed, 57% said they would purchase the chain’s Bourbon BBQ Steak. The premium sandwich is composed of angus steak topped with Kentucky bourbon barbecue sauce, brown sugar bacon, natural cheddar cheese and crispy onions.
8. Bourbon BBQ Chicken
Just ahead of Arby’s steak sandwich is the chain’s Bourbon BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Fifty-eight percent of consumers were in favor of purchasing this Arby’s LTO, which has the same flavor profile and build as the beefy version, but swaps in a fried chicken fillet for the steak. Male consumers were more in favor of the steak version, with 64.6% indicating they would purchase it, compared to the 58% who said the same of the chicken.
7. Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake
This indulgent-sounding dessert from Redstone American Grill ranked high in purchase intent with 58% of respondents, earning the same score as Arby’s Bourbon BBQ Chicken. But females were more likely to order the cheesecake, with 61% saying they would. Generational differences also emerged when comparing the two LTOs: 62.7% of millennials preferred the Bourbon BBQ Chicken, while 78.3% of Gen Zers went for the cheesecake.
6. Iris’s Down Home Chicken Platter
Chicken also fared well at Famous Dave’s, where an LTO named Iris’s Down Home Chicken Platter scored high in purchase intent with 59% of consumers. The menu item is based on a recipe for Southern fried chicken from Dave’s mom, Iris. It features four pieces of chicken, two sides and a corn muffin, accompanied by Buffalo honey sauce for drizzling.
5. Triple Chocolate Brownie
This dessert from Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant garnered a positive response from 60% of consumers. The rich brownie is served with vanilla ice cream, warm fudge and caramel sauce. Of those respondents who said they would purchase the dessert, 72% also found it to be craveable.
4. Loaded Tots
Meat is more of a condiment than the main attraction in the Loaded Tots at Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House. This LTO starts with a base of potato tots and piles on cheese sauce, sour cream, chives and pieces of cooked bacon. Of those surveyed, 62% would purchase the Loaded Tots, with females just as eager to order them as males.
3. CarHop Classic
Sonic’s CarHop Classic, a bundled meal featuring a quarter-pound double cheeseburger and medium tots, tied with Hoss’s Loaded Tots, as 62% of consumers said they would purchase the meal. Baby boomers rated the LTO as particularly appealing, with 66.3% saying they would purchase the $2.99 combo.
2. Fresh Strawberry Sundae
In a three-way tie, Burgerville’s Fresh Strawberry Sundae also got high marks from 62% of respondents, with millennials (66.7%) and females (63.2%) bumping up its score. The dessert’s emphasis on freshness, seasonality and simplicity may have won them over. On the menu, the sundae is described as “a cup full of rich, thick, real ice cream, topped with real whipping cream and freshly cut strawberries.”
1. Golden Honey BBQ Ribs
Golden Honey BBQ Ribs from Granite City Food & Brewery earned the top spot on this month’s list, making it the item consumers were most likely to purchase. The ribs attracted 63% of consumers, who may have been lured by its preparation technique: Baby back ribs are slow-braised in ale, then glazed in Granite City’s housemade Carolina gold honey barbecue sauce. Respondents also found this LTO to be the most craveable of all, with 69% of potential purchasers ranking it in first place for craveability.