Early low-price options give us a look at what to expect from fast food chains this year. Heres hoping they won't get too caught up in low prices and keep quality on the menu.
— Kristen Hawley
After all the talk of value menus toward the end of 2017, fast food chains are unveiling new options, giving diners a look into what to expect from fast food in 2018.
The return of McDonalds’ Dollar Menu, previously phased out five years ago, is a sign of the times in fast food business as fast food restaurants race to promote value. The new menu, unveiled last week, features $1, $2, and $3 items including old favorites (cheeseburgers and McChicken sandwiches for $1) and new items (a $3 fried Classic Chicken sandwich). But the chain is also testing fresh beef on the value menu with a product called the Archburger in Oklahoma. Last year, McDonald’s announced its plans to use fresh, not-frozen beef for its Quarter-Pounder burgers by mid-2018, but the use of fresh beef in a smaller sandwich is new for the chain.
Taco Bell’s new Nacho Fries will debut later this month. Dusted with seasoning and served with accompanying cheese dipping sauce, the fries are the first of 20 new menu items the chain plans to launch or test in 2018. (Ironically, McDonald’s hasn’t added fries to its dollar menu.) Taco Bell’s press release announcing the item hints at more upcoming marketing fanfare that we’ve gotten used to from the chain as it releases new items.
California-based In-n-Out has added its first new menu item in over a decade: hot chocolate. According to the San Jose Mercury News, this decision wasn’t a financial one, but nostalgic. President Lynsi Snyder, whose grandparents started the company, says that she’s adding hot chocolate back to the menu. “My grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder, served it for many years beginning in the ’50s. I’m not sure how it fell off the menu but it’s part of our culture and something special for kids, and I’m happy that we’re bringing it back,” she told the paper.
So far in 2018: nostalgia, hyped fan favorites, and higher-quality ingredients. Fast food seems to be listening to its fans, and competition will continue to heat up as they work to stand out in the competitive market.
This post originally appeared in the Monday, January 8 Skift Table newsletter. Subscribe to get the latest in your inbox.