What is in this article?:
- Better-chicken segment takes wing
- More hot chicken trends
In the latest installment of The Kruse Report, menu trend watcher Nancy Kruse takes a look at chicken
More hot chicken trends
Chefs like. Many of them, perhaps recognizing the overcrowded conditions in the burger segment, are flocking to open their own poultry emporiums, typically featuring birds that are locally and organically raised. Bantam + Biddy in Atlanta puts the rotisserie front and center, while Pecking Order in Chicago features Filipino-accented dishes. Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, slated for a November opening in Atlanta, will offer traditional Italian chicken specialties from the Amalfi Coast area of southern Italy. Some of these operations, like Bantam + Biddy and Leghorn, also tout their use of special heritage breeds.
And chains like chicken, as they’re introducing new products at a dizzying rate. Hot dog specialist Wienerschnitzel has introduced Der Chicken Dippers, a popcorn-style snack offered with three sauces. Burger King grabbed attention with limited-time-only ethnic specialties that included an Italian Basil Chicken Sandwich, a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich and an ItalianBurrito.
McDonald’s also has been playing chicken with its menu, and on the heels of a Spicy Chicken McBites promotion has been testing bone-in Mighty Wings.
Established chicken specialists haven’t been taking the competition lying down, of course. KFC launched Original Recipe Bites with a major marketing blast this summer, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen introduced Handcrafted Tenders with six signature sauces in the fall.
Looking ahead, the poultry push may be slowed temporarily by product availability issues, but it won’t be stopped. It appears that a-driven better-chicken segment may be in the offing, and while it won’t seriously impede the burger juggernaut, it will offer a fresh take on a basic product that’s truly coming into its own.
Nancy Kruse, president of the Kruse Company, is a menu trends analyst based in Atlanta. E-mail her at email@example.com.
This article is also available in the Nov. 12 issue of Nation’s Restaurant News, typically available to subscribers only. Subscribe today.