As summer kicks off and restaurant reopenings accelerate, chains are promoting new menu items to lure customers. Variations on burgers and meaty sandwiches are among the most likely items to be purchased, but consumers are also craving cool drinks, frosty treats and grab-and-go foods. All the top picks are portable and geared for takeout.
Read on to discover the 10 most craveable LTOs among potential purchasers through June, as indicated by Technomic’s Ignite menu concept development survey. (The canvass of 500 consumers for 100 or more LTOs shows which are most likely to be ordered on the basis of the item’s name and description. Results are rounded to the nearest whole number.)
Grapefruit Sparkling Water Boust
From its menu description, Grapefruit Sparkling Water Boust from Caribou Coffee sounds like a refreshing thirst quencher with health and energy benefits. The drink combines sparkling water with a hint of grapefruit flavor and a boost of caffeine from coffee. Functional ingredients guarana and ginseng are added to the mix. This convinced 72% of potential purchasers to find the beverage craveable.
PB Dough Delight Signature Creation
The PB Dough Delight Signature Creation from Cold Stone Creamery appealed to sweet seekers, as 71% of potential purchasers tagged it as craveable. It sounds quite decadent from the description: Peanut butter cookie dough ice cream, Reese’s peanut butter cup, cookie dough and fudge. Ice cream treats hit the sweet spot in summer, it seems.
Original Red Bull Slush
Both the Cold Stone LTO and the Original Red Bull Slush from Sonic Drive-In call out brand names on the menu—a move that seems to appeal to consumers. The only other description offered by Sonic is “crushed ice and Red Bull,” but that’s enough for 70% of potential purchasers to crave this drink.
Cotton Candy Crackle
Another ice cream creation ranked high in craveability: the Cotton Candy Crackle from Baskin-Robbins. Described as cotton candy flavored ice cream swirled with a cotton candy flavored ribbon and yellow poppin' candy pieces, it received a top score from 67% of potential purchasers.
Churro Dipped Cone
Rounding out the top five was Dairy Queen’s Churro Dipped Cone. This handheld frosty treat has a simple description: A chocolate-dipped cone sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on top. But that simple combination of flavors caused cravings for 66% of potential purchasers.
Jalapeno Cheddar Bites
While sweets and sips took the top five spots in the craveable category, the next five veer toward the savory side. First up are Jalapeno Cheddar Bites from Burger King. The Bites are made with cheddar cheese and bits of jalapeno coated in crispy fried breading and service with a side of ranch for dipping. This crispy snack or side is fried and spicy—two attributes that elicit cravings, and that was the case with 66% of potential purchasers
BBQ Bacon Burger
The BBQ Bacon Burger from Whataburger was rated as craveable by 65% of potential purchasers. It features two pure beef patties, three slices of bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, pickles, diced onions and a smoky tangy barbecue sauce on a bun. Barbecue flavors hold appeal in summer, as consumers get into grilling outdoors.
Turkey Bacon Melt
A toasty sandwich from Au Pain Bon received high marks for craveability from 64% of potential purchasers. The Turkey Bacon Melt is described as roast turkey, hardwood smoked bacon and melted NY cheddar, with arugula and the chain’s signature herb aioli on country white bread.
Toasted Chicken and Avocado
Also new from Au Bon Pain is a Toasted Chicken and Avocado sandwich, a combo of hardwood smoked bacon, fresh avocado, tomatoes, field greens and basil aioli on toasted semolina. The chain differentiates its sandwiches with signature spreads, and this one, combined with the filling ingredients and bread, elicited cravings with 64% of potential purchasers.
Sweet ’n Tangy Bacon Cheeseburger
Rounding out the list is Sonic’s Sweet ’n Tangy Bacon Cheeseburger, a grilled patty topped with smokehouse cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions, shredded lettuce and honey mustard on a toasted brioche bun. This build boasts ingredients with more unique flavors, such as smokehouse cheddar, grilled onions and honey mustard—a feature that 63% of potential purchasers considered craveable.