Multi-unit restaurant chains keep fall menus fresh

Noodles, Pizza Hut, Taco Del Mar, Cafe Rio introduce new items, beverages

Multi-unit restaurant operators are forging ahead in the last calendar quarter of the year with new, limited-time and permanent menu items. The rollout of these items is an effective way of bringing customers in for something new and fresh.

Pizza Hut launched new Melts. The cheesy, crispy offerings come in Pepperoni Lover’s, Buffalo Chicken, Chicken Bacon Parmesan, and Meat Lover’s varieties. The Pepperoni Lover’s comes with marinara dipping sauce, while the Chicken Bacon Parmesan is served with ranch dipping sauce. Meat Lover’s comes with marinara dipping sauce. And Buffalo Chicken is paired with buffalo dipping sauce and ranch dipping sauce.

After a successful test, Noodles and Company rolled out plant-based Impossible Chicken nationwide. Noodles launched Panko Chicken in both Impossible Orange Chicken Lo Mein and LEANguini Rosa. Orange Chicken Lo Mein contains Asian-style noodles, sauteed in orange sauce with snap peas, napa and red cabbage, and topped with panko-breaded Impossible Chicken, green onions, black sesame seeds, and cilantro.

For Noodles’ LEANguini Rosa with Impossible Chicken, the restaurant chain’s LEANguini noodles are combined with spicy tomato cream sauce, mushrooms, Roma tomato, and spinach topped with panko-breaded Impossible Chicken and parmesan cheese.

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Stacey Pool, chief marketing officer at Noodles and Company, said, “After testing Impossible Chicken in several markets this past spring, we received overwhelming feedback that Impossible tastes just like chicken. This positive feedback coupled with Impossible’s values and commitment to the environment made them a great partner for us and I feel confident guests will love this uncommonly good addition to our menu.”

Taco Del Mar is stirring excitement with its take on Totchos. It prepares its version of Totchos with crispy, tater tots seasoned with Tajín Clásico, topped with queso, black beans, customers’ protein choice, and finished off with pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos, and housemade roasted chipotle salsa. Guests can customize the recipe per their preference.

Taco Del Mar rolled out its version of Totchos. Photo by Taco Del Mar.
Taco Del Mar rolled out its version of Totchos. Photo by Taco Del Mar.

As a side, the tots, seasoned with Tajín Clásico, can be topped with queso or salsa, and added to entree.

As Horchata becomes ubiquitous on menus, Cafe Rio added Pumpkin Spice Horchata to its fall menu. The drink—a pumpkin puree with a special blend of cinnamon and spice, combined with the sweet blend of handmade Horchata—is sure to be a seasonal hit.

The fast-casual chain also introduced a Mango Colada beverage. Cafe Rio describes the beverage as tropical, offering a sweet, creamy blend of mango and coconut.

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