New menu items offered for spring at some of the quick-service burger segment’s largest chains encompass culinary trends including healthfulness, indulgence, spicy taste profiles and specialty beverages.
In the case of Burger King’s new menu, all of those trends are in play. At the same time, McDonald’s and CKE Restaurants Inc.'s Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains are applying the trends to extensions of their popular products.
Kathy Hayden, foodservice analyst for Chicago-based Mintel Group Ltd., said the early standout in this group is likely Burger King. “The first year of its menu rework was to streamline, improve offerings and get closer to McDonald’s, and now they’re ramping up,” she said.
However, she cautioned that launching a dozen products spanning several categories and trends might be “a little overly ambitious.”
“There’s a bit of clouding there,” Hayden said, “but the media has sifted through and picked up on theburger. It seems to have done well enough for CKE’s brands to extend the sandwich with different flavors. I think Burger King’s coffee launch will get attention too, because of that introductory price of $1.”
Take a closer look at the trends and strategies behind the latest menus from Burger King, McDonald’s, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.