Menus grow as the restaurant industry continues to recover.
Subway updated its Subway Series menu since it debuted in July 2022. The sandwich chain is refreshing four of its sandwiches on the series menu, including the sweet onion teriyaki, the ultimate BMT, the elite chicken and bacon ranch and the hotshot Italiano. Subway also is adding two sandwiches to its Series menu:
Pizza Hut introduced cheesesteak to its menus as both a pizza and a handheld melt. The cheesesteak pizza features sirloin steak strips, alfredo sauce, green bell peppers and onion, and is topped with Parmesan oregano. The melt version also features sirloin steak strips, melted cheese and savory toppings, which are baked into a crust and topped with butter and Parmesan oregano seasoning.
“With a history of bringing craveable food to consumers, our culinary team is always thinking of new and creative ways to expand our innovation pipeline,” said Lindsay Morgan, chief marketing officer at Pizza Hut US. “Using top-quality ingredients, these new cheesesteak offerings deliver a unique taste profile with great value. Whether in our classic pizza form or the crispy handheld Melts, our new grilled sirloin steak is a must try.”
Wendy’s added ghost pepper-flavored items with the introduction of the ghost pepper ranch chicken sandwich and ghost pepper fries.
The ghost pepper ranch chicken sandwich features Wendy’s spicy chicken ghost pepper-infused American cheese, ghost pepper-seasoned crispy onions, lettuce, tomato and a ghost pepper ranch sauce. The ghost pepper fries feature a spicy fry sauce. The company also is bringing back its strawberry Frosty for the summer.
Papa Johns partnered with PepsiCo, Inc.’s Doritos brand to debut the Doritos Cool Ranch Papadia. The Cool Ranch Papadia is an Italian flatbread-style sandwich that features toppings and a dusting of the Cool Ranch Doritos seasoning.
“At Papa Johns, flavor exploration puts us at the forefront of our menu innovation, which is why we couldn’t be more excited to bring together our Better Ingredients. Better Pizza promise with the iconic flavor of Doritos Cool Ranch to create this limited-time Papadia,” said Kimberly Bean, vice president of menu strategy and calendar planning. “Our partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice allowed us to leverage the bold taste of Doritos Cool Ranch to reimagine a specialty seasoning for the Papadia, which offers new and current consumers the ultimate chip and sandwich experience and gives them a bold taste in every bite, so delicious you’ll wish you had thought of it first.”
Dunkin’ launched a seasonal menu for warmer weather that features several new food and beverage options. The beverages include a raspberry watermelon refresher, a turtle signature latte, and a butter pecan crunch frozen coffee. New menu items are a ham-and-cheese stuffed croissant, an iced lemon loaf and a butter pecan donut.
White Castle added its 1921 slider with a spicy twist. The slider features ghost pepper cheese, topped with caramelized grilled onions, lettuce and two pickles.
Taco Bell brought back its nacho fries for a limited time. The nacho fries are available in the classic version, and the company is adding a spicy version of the fan-favorite through a partnership with Austin, Texas-based Yellowbird Hot Sauce. The partnership’s fries feature slim-cut potato fries, nacho cheese sauce, steak and Taco Bell and Yellowbird’s new spicy habanero ranch.
“We're honored to be collaborating with the innovative team at Taco Bell to bring our signature blend of bold flavor and heat to their menu with Yellowbird nacho fries,” said George Milton, chief executive of Yellowbird. “This partnership is a testament to both the growing popularity of Yellowbird and Taco Bell's commitment to taking risks and offering unique and exciting menu items for their customers. We can't wait for everyone to experience the delicious, spicy taste of Yellowbird in this exciting new form.”
Jimmy John’s launched an Italian-inspired caprese salami pesto sandwich, which is available for a limited-time. The sandwich features Genoa salami, basil pesto, balsamic glaze, olive oil, oregano, onion, mayonnaise and topped with mozzarella.
KFC introduced white meat chicken nuggets, which are breaded with the brand’s original recipe. The nuggets were tested in 2022 and are now a permanent menu item.
McDonald’s has reformulated its Big Mac sandwich, McDouble burger, classic cheeseburger, double cheeseburger and hamburger. The changes include a softer bun, meltier cheese, adding white onions to burger patties while they’re still on the grill and more Big Mac sauce on the burger.
Arby’s debuted three menu items, featuring two new sandwiches with King’s Hawaiian buns. The King’s Hawaiian sweet heat chicken sandwich features crispy chicken, on a sweet King’s Hawaiian bun, covered in a sweet and spicy sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, onions, sweet garlic and dill pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes.
The other King’s Hawaiian offering is a sweet heat beet ‘n brisket sandwich, which is topped with smoked brisket, thinly sliced roast beef, cheddar cheese, sweet and spicy sauce, onions and sweet garlic and dill pickles, all on a toasted King’s Hawaiian bun.
The last new menu item joining Arby’s lineup is loaded fries. The fries are drizzled with sweet and spicy sauce, a warm cheddar cheese sauce, diced chicken nuggets and chopped bacon.
Burger King brought back its melts, which were first introduced in 2022, and also added a spicy version of its chicken fries.
The melts are available in three varieties, classic, spicy and bacon, and all feature caramelized onions and Whopper Jr. patties. The chicken fries are seasoned with a blend of spices that are “sure to pack a punch,” according to the company.
Wendy’s Inc. launched a grilled chicken wrap, a grilled chicken cobb salad and a blueberry pomegranate lemonade to its menu.
The wrap will come in a warm tortilla and be filled with diced grilled chicken, shredded cheese, Romaine lettuce and a ranch sauce. The cobb salad will be topped with applewood-smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, grilled chicken, fried onions and diced egg. Ranch dressing comes on the side.
“I think what we are discovering post-COVID, you had people that were locked down for the most part, but within the last several months, consumer behavior has gone back to pre-COVID where they are up; they are mobile,” said John Li, vice president of culinary innovation at Wendy’s in a March 22 webinar. “That mobility requires a need for food that is a little more affordable, and the new wrap provides that affordability. As good as our (chicken) sandwich is, it’s not nearly as portable as the grilled chicken ranch wrap is.”
Dunkin’ added its first-ever breakfast tacos in March 2023, which are made with scrambled eggs, sharp white cheddar cheese, fire-roasted corn and topped with a lime crema. The tacos can be topped with an optional bacon crumble.
“Our culinary team has expertly crafted these breakfast tacos with the vibrancy of spring in mind, delivering a taste sensation that can be enjoyed any time of the day — not just for breakfast,” said Jill McVicar Nelson, chief marketing officer at Dunkin'. “These tacos are undoubtedly one of the tastiest savory items we've launched at Dunkin'. We're thrilled for guests to try them and discover their new favorite meal to fuel their day, whether they're looking for a delicious breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack.”
KFC brought back its KFC Double Down for the first time in a decade. The Double Down features two of KFC’s white meat filets, two slices of cheese and two pieces of hickory-smoked bacon, topped with Colonel’s real mayo or spicy sauce.
For consumers who prefer a bun, the chicken chain also added a bacon and cheese chicken sandwich, which features a double-breaded white meat filet, a slice of cheese, two pieces of hickory-smoked bacon, the Colonel’s real mayo and pickles on a toasted brioche bun.
Sandwiches are getting a fresh take for summer.