What is in this article?:
- Restaurant Lent offerings go beyond typical fish
- Chains highlight seafood sourcing
- McAlister's, Marie Callender's roll out Lenten menus
- Festive, but not fried, at CKE brands
This year several chains are finding new ways to market fish items typically promoted during Lent, which began on Feb. 13.
Chains highlight seafood sourcing
For chains that are going a more traditional route with fried-fish sandwiches and entrees for Lent, the important differentiators appear to be menu descriptions that highlight where the brands’ fish comes from.
To wit, Wendy’s is promoting the Premium Fish Fillet at its 6,000-plus restaurants by calling out its “100-percent North Pacific Cod.” Culver’s, the chain of 500 quick-service locations, is selling a seasonal Northwoods Walleye Sandwich to complement its permanent items of North Atlantic Cod Sandwich and a North Atlantic Cod Dinner.
“That’s part of the overall trend to improve the perceptions of food and ingredients through marketing,” Tristano said. “So certain regions get called out. Marketers have enhanced perceptions with the way they’ve described menu items for years. Is it more appealing during Lent? Probably.”
New products rolling out during Lent do not necessarily need their region of origin in the menu description, but several chains still choose their words carefully to introduce seafood dishes. Back Yard Burgers, for example, added the Bold and Crunchy Fish Sandwich at all 83 of its locations through March 31.
Famous Dave’s is reintroducing Sweetwater Catfish to its menu after a nearly three-year hiatus. The item once again is a permanent fixture on the chain’s menu, and it was removed because Famous Dave’s could not ensure a sustainable supply to meet demand for the popular item. Since its reintroduction, positive social-media mentions of the dish have grown rapidly, chief executive John Gilbert said Thursday during the nearly 200-unit chain’s fourth-quarter earnings call.