Operators have increasingly turned to limited time offers in recent years to entice customers and spur sales. In fact, Technomic research indicates that LTO launches among the biggest 500 chain restaurant and retail operations grew 64% from 2014 to 2019.1
Topics: Merchandising, Promotions, Independents, Family Restaurant, Takeout, Quick Service Restaurant, Casual Dining Restaurant, Delivery, National, Custards/Cheesecakes, Cookies/Bars/Snacks, Ice Cream Desserts, Main Dishes, Dessert, Chocolate, CHIPS AHOY!, OREO, Cookies, Dessert Ingredients, Grab-and-Go, Convenience, Foodservice Industry, Menu, Creative Inspiration, Customer Experience, Consumer, Flavors & Ingredients, Menu Strategy, Food & Beverage, Packaging, Sales & Profitability, Drive-Thru, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Curbside Pickup, Fast-Casual Restaurant, Branded Ingredients, Flavor Profiles, Consumer Behavior, Indulgence, Limited Time Offers (LTOs), Dips/Spreads/Sauces, Sandwiches/Burgers, Prepackaged, Nostalgia
As COVID-19 set in with swift and sweeping repercussions across the restaurant industry, operators found themselves scrambling for solutions to salvage sales. Rapid reaction and the need for speed replaced research and development.
The pandemic-propelled shift to off-premises is reshaping the restaurant landscape, literally, as smaller-footprint stores designed for digital and drive-thru orders emerge. In August 2020, the Mexican food chain Taco Bell served up the hot news of its new store format, Taco Bell Go Mobile, which will cater to customers hungry for the speed and convenience of double drive-thrus, contactless curbside pickup and digital integration.
As coronavirus rates fluctuate, one thing holds steady—the need for innovation due to the market’s insatiable appetite for safety, ease and convenience. The new norm is fueled by digital advances, and the road leads to ever-accelerating innovation as foodservice operators navigate the challenges of the pandemic and the shifting needs of the consumer.
The pandemic has propelled the restaurant industry in different directions—some new and unexpected (think social distancing and face masks), others more familiar (the drive-thru, for example). In the case of takeout in general and the drive-thru in particular, "back to basics" has jumpstarted traffic and revved up revenue.