Several quick-service chains have introduced spicy menu items at the beginning of the year in what appears to be a demand from customers for more robust flavors.

Recent consumer trend data from Technomic indicates that 54 percent of Americans ages 18 or older like spicy food, an increase from 48 percent in 2011 and 46 percent in 2009. Restaurants are stepping in to satisfy customers’ cravings.

Subway is bringing the spice with a Jalapeño Cheddar Bread that it introduced as a limited-time offer in the new year. The operator of nearly 40,000 units said the bread was a top performer in a national taste test.

Quick-service burger chains Wendy’s, Burger King and Jack in the Box have all added new spicy items in the past month.

Burger King introduced a Rodeo Crispy Chicken sandwich and a Rodeo Burger, each topped with onion rings and a sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce. Both sandwiches are on the dollar menu at the chain’s more than 7,000 domestic locations.

Burger King's Rodeo Crispy Chicken sandwich and Rodeo BurgerWendy’s is offering both a Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich and a Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger for 99 cents each. Like many of the new spicy items on chain menus, the Wendy’s sandwiches are made with multiple spicy elements, including melted pepper Jack cheese, jalapeño peppers and a signature spicy sauce. The items are available at Wendy’s more than 5,800 domestic units.

Jack in the Box is taking a similar tack with its new Jalapeño BBQ Burger, which has crispy jalapeño and onion strips, jalapeño barbecue sauce, American cheese and hickory-smoked bacon.

Like other chains, 2,200-unit Jack in the Box combines spicy and cooling elements in its Fajita Ranch Melt, which has pepper Jack cheese and taco sauce for spice and ranch dressing to moderate the heat.

The Fajita Ranch Melt is available at participating Jack in the Box locations in California, Idaho, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. The Jalapeño BBQ Burger is available at participating restaurants in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Oregon, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington and Kansas. Both sandwiches are priced at $3.99.