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May 29 - Restaurant menus lean hard on "limited time offers"

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icon May 29 - Restaurant menus lean hard on "limited time offers"

 https://www.axios.com/202 .. ase-swicy-menu

Limited-time offers — like IHOP's blue raspberry pancakes tied to the movie "If," Chipotle's Chicken al Pastor and Burger King's 70th anniversary Birthday Pie Slice — are reinvigorating the restaurant industry.

Why it matters: Restaurants have largely recovered from their pandemic-era swoon, but they're still working overtime to keep customers interested and coming back in the age of price inflation and fast-changing TikTok food trends.

Driving the news: The number of limited-time offers at restaurants — or "LTOs" in industry parlance — has grown 53% in the last four years, according to Technomic, a restaurant menu consultancy.

"52% of consumers say that the availability of an appealing limited-time offer is important when they're deciding which restaurant to visit," says Lizzy Freier, director of menu research & insights at Technomic.

In the last year alone, the number of LTO launches has jumped 46%, Freier said in a presentation at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago last week

And that's at both quick-serve and full-service restaurants.

Where it stands: Technomic regularly polls consumers about 3,000 new LTOs from top-500 chain restaurants.

Gen Zers gravitate toward menu items with the word "loaded" and "big" in the description — not just nachos, but donut holes and fries as well.

68% of them wanted to try the loaded beef nachos from Taco Bell, and 66% wanted the Big New Yorker Pizza from Pizza Hut.

They adore foods that have familiar brand names as an ingredient — like IHOP's Oreo Cookie Crumble Waffle

Baby boomers, by contrast, tilt toward "classics," like Ruby Tuesday's Rib Eye and Ribs, which 76% of Technomic poll respondents wanted to try.

Millennials are into cookies and mashups, Freier said — like Baskin-Robbins' Beach Day ice cream, a blue concoction with "caramel-filled sea turtles, frosting flecks & swirls of graham cracker 'sand.'"

"Mature" consumers prefer dishes that use "ultimate" in the descriptor or otherwise connote large portions or excess — like the filet mignon and Maine lobster tail from Seasons 52

Fun fact: Hot honey still rules the day on LTO menus across the land.

So do items that are "swicy" (sweet/spicy), like Starbucks' limited-time Spicy Lemonade Refreshers.

Lay's — which has trademarked the word "swicy" to cover the category of potato-based snack foods — recently introduced a new potato chip flavor, Sweet & Spicy Honey


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