10 Limited-Time Menu Items That Drive Traffic

By 
Jill Failla, Editor, Technomic

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CHICAGO -- About one in four consumers say that new or limited-time menu items entice them to make purchases at limited-service restaurants (LSRs), according to Technomic’s Future of LSR Consumer Trend Report. And some items may drive purchases more than others.

Chicago-based Technomic asked consumers in a MenuSurf survey which April limited-time or newly added menu offers they think sound the most craveworthy at top LSRs, based on the item name and description alone. MenuSurf surveys 500 consumers on purchase intent for 100 or more limited-edition and newly added items each month at leading restaurant chains.

The following data suggests that snack items—from ice cream to beverages to nachos—are particularly crave-inducing. (And Sriracha is still going strong.) Here are 10 highly craveable LSR menu items from April …

1. Starbucks’ Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

Starbucks pb cookie

Nearly two in five consumers (39.5%) who would purchase this cookie said it sounds very craveable. Starbucks’ limited-time Peanut Butter Cup Cookie is a classic peanut butter cookie with a chocolate peanut butter cup baked inside of it.

2. Burger King's Oreo Mint Shake

mint shake burger king

A third of consumers (33.3%) who would buy Burger King's Oreo Mint Shake said it sounds highly craveable. The limited-time green milkshake contains vanilla soft-serve ice cream, mint-flavored syrup, Oreo cookies and a whipped-cream topping.

3. Just Salad’s Seoul Bowl

Seoul Bowl

Nearly three in 10 respondents (29.7%) who would purchase Just Salad’s Seoul Bowl said it sounds very craveable to them. This new bowl contains organic quinoa and farro, shrimp, roasted broccoli, carrots, pickled red onions, cucumbers, crunchy onions and furikake shake (a dry Asian seasoning). It’s topped with miso-ginger vinaigrette and Sriracha.

4. Qdoba Mexican Eats’ Spicy Chicken Primetime Nachos

Spicy chicken nachos

Nearly three in 10 consumers (29.5%) who would buy Qdoba Mexican Eats’ Spicy Chicken Primetime Nachos said the dish seems highly craveable. These nachos are loaded with grilled adobo chicken, Sriracha, black beans, pico de gallo, three-cheese queso, sour cream and house-pickled jalapenos.

5. Mendocino Farms’ K-Town BBQ Steak Sandwich

mendocino farms entrance

Almost three-tenths of respondents (28.8%) who would purchase a barbecue steak sandwich said that this item sounds very crave-inducing. Mendocino Farms’ seasonal K-Town BBQ Steak Sandwich contains bulgogi-style marinated steak, housemade gochujang sauce, kimchi-kale slaw, jalapenos and chili aioli on toasted ciabatta.

6. Panda Express’ Orange Chicken Burrito

panda express orange chicken burrito

Nearly three in 10 consumers (28.6%) who would buy this burrito said that it sounds highly craveable to them. This limited-release Orange Chicken Burrito from Panda Express is customizable and features a thin scallion pancake instead of a regular tortilla encasement. Customers can fill their burrito with chow mein noodles or rice, sauces and vegetables of their choice.

7. Charleys Philly Steaks’ Smoky Chipotle Fries

Smokey chipotle fries

Almost three in 10 respondents (28.3%) who would order these fries said they find their menu description to be very craveworthy. Charleys Philly Steaks’ limited-time Smoky Chipotle Fries are topped with bacon, shredded cheddar and a cheddar-cheese sauce, chipotle sauce and chives.

8. Just Salad’s Warm Grain Bowl

warm grain bowl just salad

Nearly three in 10 consumers (28.1%) who would buy Just Salad’s Warm Grain Bowl said this item name and description sounds highly craveable to them. This new bowl features organic warm quinoa and lentils, roasted broccoli and tomatoes, carrots, walnuts, shaved Parmesan and arugula. It is topped with kale pesto vinaigrette.

9. Scooter’s Coffee’s Blended Pot O’ Gold

scooters entrance

Over a quarter of consumers (27.7%) who would buy Scooter’s Coffee’s Blended Pot O’ Gold said it sounds very craveable. The Pot O’ Gold is a limited-time butterscotch and caramel beverage that is available with or without espresso, and can be made hot, iced or blended.

10. Starbucks’ Barrel Aged Con Crema

Starbucks reserve

Over a quarter of respondents (27.1%) who would purchase this coffee drink say it seems extremely craveable. Only available at the high-end Starbucks Roastery concept, this Starbucks Reserve Barrel Aged Con Crema features a hot pour-over of Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sulawesi (an exclusive, limited-time coffee) mixed with barrel-aged vanilla syrup and topped with cascara sugar cold foam.