In the QSR marketing calendar, September isn't a big month for limited-time offering introductions. According to Technomic, the month represented 5 percent of the year's total LTO rollouts. Only two other months during the calendar year – February and December – are that inactive.
However, September of 2012 was certainly busy for some QSRs. Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts and Culver's each launched fall menus featuring multiple new offerings.
Burger King's new fall menu marks the largest chicken rollout in the brand's history. It includes the Italian Basil Chicken Sandwich, Italian Basil Chicken Wrap, Popcorn Chicken and Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. Additionally, Garden Fresh Salad Wraps, Italian Breakfast Burritos and Raspberry Real Fruit Smoothies are now available.
Dunkin' Donuts fall items, available for a limited time at participating restaurants, include New Apple Orchard Donuts and Munchkins; New Apple Crisp Muffin; New Homestyle Apple Pie; Apple Cider; New Pumpkin Cream Cheese; Pumpkin Coffee and Latte; Pumpkin Packaged Coffee; Pumpkin Donut and Munchkins; and Pumpkin Muffins. The brand also introduced pumpkin-flavored K-Cups and added Quaker Oatmeal as a permanent offering on its DDSmart menu.
Culver's introduced six new, limited-time-only menu items for the fall, including the debut of a Colby Jack Pub Burger and the return of Sweet Potato Fries. Also included in the new lineup is the Asian Crunch Salad, Pumpkin Cheesecake Concrete Mixer, Pumpkin Pecan Concrete Mixer and the Pumpkin Spice Shake.
September menu launches also included a couple of portable scoop items. For example, Popeyes' Louisiana Kitchen brought back its Dip'n Chick'n, all-white meat chicken breast medallions marinated in Louisiana herbs and spices, hand-battered and breaded, then cooked up into a scoop shape for dipping and eating on the go. The menu item is served with Popeyes' Signature Blackened Ranch Dipping Sauce and is available through Oct. 21.
Baskin-Robbins introduced Waffle Chip Dippers, a new treat featuring vanilla soft serve drizzled with chocolate syrup and topped with M&M's and Snickers pieces, all accompanied with six hand-cut, triangle-shaped waffle and brownie chip pieces that are ready for dipping.
As the temperatures begin to cool, some QSRs began heating up their menus. Good Times Restaurants Inc. has announced a limited-time menu of Hatch Valley New Mexico green Chile items and an expanded test of its Hatch Valley breakfast burritos. The limited-time menu consists of green Chile cheese fries, a green Chile slider and a green Chile burger or chicken sandwich with green Chile chutney and whole roasted green Chiles.
Also, White Castle introduced new crispy jalapeno cheese Sliders, available in beef or chicken, and crispy jalapeno cheese fries.
Other September menu highlights include:
- Long John Silver's new onion rings are made with hand-sliced onions dipped in Long John Silver's signature batter and quick fried to a crunchy golden brown. The new item is part of the chain's sides menu and will be available as an option for all lunch and dinner combos.
- Del Taco brought back its Crispy Shrimp Tacos and Burritos. Guests now have the option of choosing between a new spicy sauce or the original secret sauce. The new sauce is made from a blend of chipotle peppers and features a smoky flavor.
- Taco Bell has introduced the cornerstone of its FirstMeal – the new A.M. Crunchwrap – and Mtn Dew A.M., a combination of Mountain Dew and Tropicana Orange Juice mixed in-store.These two breakfast items join Cinnabon Delights on Taco Bell's new FirstMeal breakfast menu. FirstMeal is available at more than 815 participating restaurants in 10 Western states, including California, Arizona and Colorado.
- KFC has reintroduced its popular snack-sized Chicken Littles sandwiches. The recipe has been updated from the original chicken sliders available 20 years ago, and includes a freshly-breaded Extra Crispy Strip sandwiched in a sweet bun topped with pickle slices and KFC's signature Colonel's Mayo.
- Early in the month, Sonic Drive-In rolled out new flatmelt sandwiches and breakfast burrito varieties to its menu for a limited time. The new flatmelt sandwiches are available in hickory steak and bacon or hickory chicken and bacon.
- Church's Chicken's Big Tex Tender Sandwich made its debut on the chain's menu this week at participating restaurants. The new sandwich features two Church's Tender Strips, hand-battered and breaded and 100-percent breast meat, served on two buttered slices of Texas Toast and topped with lettuce, pickles and mayonnaise.
- Finally, Jack in the Box is now offering a Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt, featuring sliced steak, grilled onions, fire-roasted red and green peppers and melted cheese, and topped with a mayo onion sauce and served on the chain's signature sourdough bread.
See some of September's menu highlights here.
Read more about food and beverage introductions.