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Fast Food in 2018: menu tweaks and daring new dishes

The rule for dining out is simple — good food but inexpensive. More people opt for dining out only when the cost difference between eating at home and eating out is thin. This trend affects all casual restaurants and fast food chains in the industry. Menu innovation is another critical factor. Nobody wants to eat the same dish every day. This is why restaurants regularly come up with new items on their menu at affordable prices.

McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) is the first name that comes to mind when thinking about tasty and pocket-friendly food. McDonald’s constantly innovates its menu and brings forth new items. The food chain adopts region-specific flavors while experimenting with its menu. A few examples include the Aloo-Tikki Burger in India and the newly launched red rice porridge in Singapore.

McDonald’s has also made efforts to bring healthier options to its menus such as fresh beef in its burgers, reduction of sodium, fats, and oil in patties, ice creams and mayo. Its all-day breakfast menu is popular as ever. These initiatives have paid off as McDonald’s saw a 5.3% growth in same-store sales worldwide during 2017.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), the once-popular food chain which took a heavy battering over food safety issues is trying hard to gain back its name. The fast-food chain, which got a new chief earlier this year, tried its best to win back customers by slashing prices but that didn’t go a long way in helping them.

Under its new leadership, Chipotle is said to be experimenting with items such as the Frozen Paloma Margarita which is an alcoholic drink and also with quinoa and nachos for new snack options. The restaurant’s earlier attempts namely the chorizo and queso are perhaps best forgotten.

It was speculated that Chipotle might add breakfast options to its menu, but some experts do not believe this is a good idea as they feel it would increase costs and harm margins as it has a less chance of profitability.

Affordable yumminess

Under the umbrella of Yum! Brands (YUM), Taco Bell made a brave promise to launch 20 $1 items in 2018, and the fast food maker seems to be halfway towards this goal already. Earlier this month, Taco Bell added Triple Melt Burrito and Triple Melt Nachos to its menu. The food chain is also trying out a new chicken taco along with a beef burrito in some of its locations.

Meanwhile, the first $1 menu item launched in 2018, the Nacho Fries, has turned out to be the most triumphant one in Taco Bell’s history. The limited-time offering saw 53 million orders since its launch, and the promotion was extended into April to maximize benefits. During 2017, Taco Bell’s $1 menu offerings brought in over $500 million in sales.

Yum’s KFC caused quite a commotion in the United Kingdom with its chicken crisis, but up in Canada, the restaurant seems to be winning hearts. The food chain introduced the Waffle Double Down sandwich last month and the dish, which consists of chicken fillets and a Belgian waffle, is inviting positive responses.

How such moves from major food brands translate to share movements and healthy results is what remains to be seen.

While food chains run around trying to come up with newer and bolder options, the customer is the one spoilt for choice. No complaints here! 

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