Big Brand Menu Updates Across QSR Stateside

We take a look at some of the new product launches across major QSR brands in the US lately, including from Subway, KFC and McDonald's.

First up, KFC has been testing out its new Smash'd Potato Bowls in Pittsburgh for a limited time only as it looks to expand its portable, individual size offerings. This menu items is based on mashed potatoes with a cheese sauce, bacon crumbles and KFC's secret recipe fries. Bowls are not a new category to the brand, having been on menus around the world since 2006 when the Famous Bowl initially launched, one that has seen several iterations since its successful introduction. It falls within KFC's strategy to target a younger customer base through more affordable, on-the-go meals.

Another recent addition from the global fried chicken chain is the new chicken nuggets box. Made with 100% white meat chicken and the brand's signature 11 herbs and spices flavouring, the nuggets are now available nationwide in the US in 8-, 12- or 36-piece boxes. The new nuggets launched earlier this year, replacing the previously popular popcorn chicken, and also fall within the dedicated audience growth strategy.

"Frankly, we knew we could do better than the popcorn chicken," said Nick Chavez, KFC's CMO. "It's hard to believe we've never had a true nugget. We've been ceding nugget buyers to other brands for too long now and these nuggets will give us a way back to families, which is our imperative."

The latest of the fast food chains, McDonald's recently introduced two new sauces to its menu - the Sweet & Spicy Jam Sauce and the Mambo Sauce.

The Sweet & Spice sauce is based on a red pepper sauce with added Szechuan peppercorn and cayenne pepper to provide the spicy kick. The sauce is recommended to be used with the brand's breakfast items, marking the first time McDonald's has launched a breakfast-inspired sauce.

The second is based on a tomato sauce but with a sweet, spicy and vinegary twist, inspired by the regional Washington D.C. area sauce staple. Both hit menus in the US last month, in September.

Not to be left out on the NPD drive, fast-food sub sandwich chain Subway has focused on developing its dessert offerings with two new choices. Stemming from a collaboration with American baked goods chain Cinnabon, Subway has launched the new Cinnabon Footlong Churro and the Cinnabon Frosted Swirl, each being tested at select locations around the U.S. Time will tell as to whether these both prove popular enough to make it onto menus around the country.