As consumer tastes shift towards healthier options, some fast-food restaurants have resorted to revamping their menus to offer higher-quality ingredients or extreme product offerings to drum up interest and drive sales. With many of the fast-food titans having reported second-quarter financial results, BNN takes a look at their best-selling products in the second quarter and some of the more innovative products they’ve introduced to whet the appetites of Canadians.
McDonald’s (MCD.N) added guacamole and sriracha to its list of ingredients when it launched a new roster of signature sandwiches. While premium sandwiches helped boost same-store sales in the second quarter, the fast-food giant says the classic Big Mac was its best-seller in the Q2. In fact, McDonald’s says the Big Mac is its typical best-seller year-round.
For Yum! Brands (YUM.N), Taco Bell has a bright spot for the company and has leveraged its ability to introduce innovative products to drive sales. Taco Bell’s best-selling product in Q2 was a promotional product called the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider. Taco Bell originally introduced the product for a time in 2016, but brought it back this year due to its popularity. Taco Bell also announced in the second quarter it plans to begin serving beer at certain Canadian locations.
Yum! Brands has been struggling with declining sales at its Pizza Hut banner. Sales at Pizza Hut locations open for more than one year fell 1 per cent in the second quarter, marking a fourth straight quarterly decrease. The restaurant says its Fresh Pan Pizza is what Canadian consumers order the most. In a bid to make the product more appetizing to health-conscious diners, the brand has been promoting its daily-made dough.
Kentucky Fried Chicken said its most in-demand offering was its 4-Piece Box Meal in the second quarter as it beat same-store sales estimates. Two years ago, Yum Brands announced it would shovel about $180-million (U.S.) into the brand to boost sales. KFC seems to have taken a page out of Pizza Hut’s book and introduced the “Chizza” this year. The chicken-based pizza has pineapple and is so far only available in Singapore.
To lure in health-conscious consumers, Harvey’s has begun offering customizable “Build-A-Bowls” which allows diners more choice of toppings such as corn, black beans and guacamole. However, Harvey’s says it’s Original burger continues to be a favourite, with the sandwich being a best-seller for the past five decades. The company - under the umbrella of Cara Operations (CARA.TO) - is also in the process of sourcing all of its beef from Canadian producers. The company has found some success with its campaign focusing on the Angus burger being made with all-Canadian beef and has increased its burger sales forecast.
Swiss Chalet says it’s rolled out various chicken dishes to drive consumer interest, but its classic Quarter Chicken Dinner remains its number one product. The company says its Festive Special also is a big driver of sales for the product during the fourth quarter.
Canada’s second-largest hamburger chain has been ramping up its marketing campaigns to tout its switch to hormone-free beef patties in a bid to appeal to a younger, health conscious crowd. A&W’s Teen Burger has been its top-selling sandwich since its inception in 1961. A&W (AW_u.TO) says during its $3.50 Teen Burger promotion which spanned four weeks in the second quarter, 1 of every 2 customers ordered a burger.
Social media was lit up pink and blue in the weeks following Starbucks’ (SBUX.O) introduced its Unicorn Frappuccino. The company unveiled the new drink during its fiscal third quarter results which saw comparable store sales rise 5 per cent in its Americas division. Starbucks also announced in the quarter it will be shuttering its 379 Teavana locations, putting the spot light back on its coffee menu. In another move to drum up interest, Starbucks is launching the “Pepper Nitro with a Jerky Twist” which entails a cold brew, nitro coffee topped with a piece of beef jerky. It will only be available at a Seattle location for a limited time.