the Most Innovative LTOs of the Year
are getting rather creative with their limited-time offers, or LTOs, lately.
"LTOs can be
a great way to drive business, but you have to know your audience and what
appeals to them," Leith Steel, head of insights at Carbonate, a
hospitality marketing agency, told The Food Institute. "The offer should
be something appealing and not easy to find elsewhere. The limited nature
serves to drive people to try it now rather than postponing indefinitely."
Datassential's recent Foodbytes trends
report examined consumer ratings of LTOs. Here are a few popular items that
brands and restaurants are putting a new twist on pickles, eggs, French fries,
and hot dogs.
Pickles: Pickles have surged in popularity
lately. According to Yelp, online searches for pickled-flavored foods were up
55% in the last two years. Restaurants have responded accordingly. Hungry
Howie's has a Pickle Bacon Ranch Pizza, Dave & Buster's has Blue
Moon Friend Pickles, and SONIC's Pickle Juice Slush was rated as the
most unique item in SCORES (Datassentials concept tool for measuring LTOs) from
the past 12 months.
Eggs: A breakfast staple, many are finding
new ways to present this classic – First Watch's Barbacoa Quesadilla
Benedict, and Huddle House's Prime Rib Tips Stuffed Hashbrowns are just
a couple examples.
Fries: Fries are
getting an upgrade in the form of BBQ Luau fries from Wienerschnitzel,
Asparagus Fries from the Cheesecake Factory, and Crab and Lobster Fries
from Glory Days Grill.
Hot Dogs: Is there anything more American than
a hot dog? Put a twist on the classic with a Honey BBQ Dawg from Buffalo
Wild Wings or a Spicy Asian BBQ Slaw Topped Hot Dog from Nathan's Famous.
to Successful LTOs
key to making an LTO work? Here are a few tips to making a standout, unique
product, according to FoodBytes.
concepts and combine to create something new
·Change the way
something is presented, like the shape or the color
chief brand officer at Sonny's BBQ, shared his thoughts on LTOs and how
Sonny's has taken advantage.
beneficial are limited-time offers to restaurants and brands?
fine balance between how much a brand relies on LTOs to drive short-term
traffic and long-term sustainable growth. Ideally, LTOs are strategically
placed to drive core user frequency and attract new guests through
successful LTO pipeline requires promotions that meet the needs of consumers,
improve the dining experience and are easy for operators to perform."
are the key elements of a successful LTO?
need to be simple to communicate, easy for operators to execute and be true to
the brand DNA. The most successful promotions are those that use seasonal
drivers, are linked to brand equity, and have emotionally motivating benefits."
you give an example of an LTO that worked for Sonny's?
summer, Sonny's BBQ introduced BBQ Bowls. Summer is a high traffic and critical
sales period for Sonny's BBQ, which made it the perfect time to be in front of
customers with a fresh message that showcased innovation, value and our
culinary expertise. This approachable LTO was a playful twist on familiar, classic
BBQ ingredients. It tapped into our guests' desire for choice and variety while
also being inspired by the popularity of bowls throughout the industry.
existing ingredients, we empowered our guests with the ability to create their
own BBQ bowl or choose from three Pitmaster Select options. The results showed
the BBQ Bowls LTO was a tremendous success. The BBQ Bowl LTO delivered a +4.94%
increase on total average receipts for guests and garnered five times as much
earned press coverage as the brand's previous LTO." Food Institute Focus
Dish Regarding Latest Dessert Trends
dessert is the most anticipated meal of the day. For those with a sweet tooth,
a decadent dessert is always exciting.
note, Technomic recently released its Dessert Global Menu Category
Report, which examined consumer preferences and dessert category trends.
One of the more intriguing findings in the report was that two-thirds of
consumers globally would purchase dessert from a restaurant more often if there
are new menu options that they haven't tried before.
eye-opening findings from the Technomic report:
·48% of consumers
globally would order cheesecake—the third most-popular dessert on average in
the world—from a restaurant
·41% of consumers
globally would like to see more vegan or dairy-free desserts on restaurant
menus, including 56% of consumers in China
such knowledge of dessert, how can restaurateurs capitalize? The Food Institute
spoke with Mansoor Ahmed, CEO of Heritage Kulfi, an ice cream brand, about what
it takes for dining establishments to stand out when it comes to dessert.
are the opportunities for restaurant and food manufacturers to create dessert
options that appeal to today's consumer?
of desserts is one that's constantly evolving and a prime space for endless and
exciting experimentation. Ice cream enthusiasts are so adventurous. I feel
confident that the road to success for manufacturers like myself [entails]
being creative and confident in what they offer, and that comes from putting in
the hard work during the research and development phase.
satisfying part of creating a new flavor is understanding and embracing the
particular ingredient that's highlighted. Whether it's saffron threads, mangos,
or pistachios, appreciating these great ingredients and utilizing them to their
full potential will allow consumers to build connections with them."
you found that different generations prefer different desserts?
that everyone across the board is excited to experiment and try new desserts
and ingredients, which is especially exciting for my brand because not only is
kulfi (South Asian style of ice cream) new to the mainstream American market,
but the particular ingredients I use for certain flavors are also entirely
novel. As a brand owner, I find it fascinating that vanilla ice cream continues
to be the country's most popular flavor because it is such a sophisticated and
delicate ingredient to work with.
often set up tastings at community events or in-store demos, and connecting
this way with consumers is very fun and illuminating. I find that people have
such a solid and emotional connection to ice cream, so to build on existing
nostalgia or new joyful moments around ice cream is incredibly satisfying to
have you managed to keep your desserts up to par, in terms of taste, and still
be accessible to consumers in today's economy?
industry continues to be acutely affected by rising costs in nearly every
sector, from ingredients and packaging to transportation and labor costs. The
onus on premier manufacturers like Heritage Kulfi is to continuously provide
our customers with an extremely high-quality and consistent product. Since I
use some of the most expensive ingredients such as saffron, pistachios,
vanilla, and cardamom, I needed to ensure the ice cream is as accessible as
possible for the average consumer in terms of availability and price.
of my efforts during the R&D phase in building local partnerships with
farms and other ingredient vendors to support the local and regional business
community. Nothing compares to using fresh, high-quality ingredients." Food Institute Focus
Beverage Market Continues to Gain Momentum
an increasing share of consumers are looking for drinks that not only taste
good, but also serve a beneficial function. These functional beverages contain
ingredients that, theoretically, can help build and maintain health, and have
the added appeal of convenience.
point: at the recent SIAL Paris industry event, functional beverages took
center stage. The international gathering played host to a variety of different
wellness teas, specialty water brands and similar drinks that have been on the
the global functional beverages market was valued at just under $130 billion.
That figure is expected to grow nearly 9% annually throughout the decade,
reaching a value of $279.4 billion by 2030, according to reporting by TechCrunch.
Alex Wolfe –
founder of biotech wellness brand EONS and co-founder of Circadian Wellness
– said modern consumers are often turning to functional beverages for benefits
like increased mental focus during their workday.
and reducing anxiety is another trend that's attracting people to" functional
products, Wolfe told The Food Institute. "Ingredients like L-Theanine are
getting a lot of attention for creating a calming effect and allowing people to
access a flow state experience."
a Key Factor
comes to overall health, consumers these days are placing an increased focus on
what kinds of nutrients they're getting and what the benefits are. Convenience
also plays an important factor in beverage purchases.
old-school, functional beverages like coffee and energy drinks notoriously rely
on sugar and additives to give consumers a boost, and many consumers are
through with the unhealthy side effects of such drinks. They want products that
use ingredients serving specific health benefits that lead to improved energy
and wellness without any of the sugar crashes or digestive issues.
priority for consumers of functional beverages has long been immunity, gut and
heart health, according to a report from New Food Magazine. Certainly
after a pandemic era that inspired heightened attention on the immune system,
many consumers want products that can stave off illnesses.
Meissner, the president and chief marketing officer of Splash Beverage Group,
has seen first-hand the pandemic-accelerated demand for functional beverages,
notably as an alcohol alternative.
became more conscious and observant of what products serve (or don't serve)
their health, stress reduction, and sleep," Meissner told The Food Institute.
"As consumers spent more time on their overall health choices, several brands
anchored in non-alcohol with existing distribution started to see triple-digit
growth, and major producers are taking note."
foundation of this growing macro-trend, Meissner says, is rooted in younger
Americans' desire to live a healthier lifestyle.
surveyed thousands of consumers across 18 countries, and a majority agreed that
they're willing to pay more for products with added functional benefits.
Approximately 53% of those surveyed said they were interested in beverages with
ingredients that specifically support immunity. Such products typically include
ingredients such as:
beverage users are also concerned with cognitive, joint, and heart health.
a key concern among consumers surveyed was to be certain that the products
they're buying are backed by scientific evidence. Many shoppers have grown wise
to questionable marketing tactics that overstate the health values of products.
trends continue in the beverage industry, it's clear that this market is
staking its territory among health-conscious consumers and won't be going away
optimistic about the growth, from not only market research data but also the
positive reactions of consumers," Meissner says. "Functional beverages will
continue to persist, so we expect to see forthcoming options that fit the needs
of today's consumers." Food Institute Focus
Checker's and Rally's double drive-thru
concept will continue its rapid expansion. The value-first pioneer of the
double drive-thru has signed three multi-unit developments to bring 40
restaurants to California, Texas, and Maryland, totaling 32 such agreements in
2022 alone, reported Restaurant News Release (Nov. 16). Full Story
locations in Florida are sourcing renewable energy from Duke Energy,
Florida's Clean Energy Connection program. In a statement from the company,
Wendy's said an estimated 35 sites are expected to be powered 100% by the sun
by 2025. Full Story
Pizza is investing
in Chevrolet Bolts for 37 of its own stores and hundreds run by U.S.
franchisees. The company is turning to electric vehicles to help attract
drivers and overcome a worker shortage that continues to hamper deliveries,
reported The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 21). Full Story
launched the Flippy 2 foodservice robot in the U.K. Flippy 2 is an automated
assistant who can independently perform the work of a full French fry station. Full Story
· Dine Brands is set to acquire Fuzzy's Taco
Shop for $80 million. The fast-casual Mexican Chain, which has 138 units,
was founded in Texas in 2003 and is on pace to generate $230 million in system
sales this year, reported Restaurant Business (Dec. 5). Full Story
on the Move:
Johns has named
Elias Reyna chief people and diversity officer. This is the second stint at
Papa Johns for Reyna, who returns after a short time spent in human resources
for ABM Industries. Full Story
US Foods has named Dave Flitman as its chief
executive officer, reported Reuters (Nov. 28). Full Story
Tuesday that chief financial officer Glenn Nunziata will retire at the year's
end. The company named Mark Hall, currently its executive vice president,
finance, as its new CFO, effective January 1. Full Story
Bros has named
Christine Barone president of the company. The former CEO of True Food
Kitchen will take over company operations as Dutch Bros targets 4,000
locations, reported Restaurant Business (Nov. 28). Full Story
King recently named
Marianne Radley its chief marketing officer, Juan Salas chief information
officer, and Laura Scavone chief people officer, reported Restaurant
Business (Nov. 29). Full Story
Pizza Kitchen has
named Jeff Warne CEO and president. Full Story