QSR’s HOT New Flavors

Things are heating up in the fast food world and they’re aimed at Millennials’ insatiable appetite for adventure. Quick Service Restaurants have been trending towards these bold palettes increasingly more over the past few years. Sriracha, Jalapeno, and Ghost Pepper are all hot flavors being leveraged to boost increases in traffic from younger consumers.


Wendy’s introduction this month: Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries. Side items like French fries had remained largely unexplored until now, but Wendy’s has opened the door in introducing a new way to think about French fries.


The indulgent behemoth of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s El Diablo burger sounds like something forged in the fires of Mt. Doom: sliced jalapenos, crunchy Jalapeno Poppers, spicy habañero bacon sauce, and pepper jack cheese. Dubbed “fast food’s hottest burger,” Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are diablo-daring you to conquer it.


The menu at Popeye’s had Ghost Pepper Wings for a limited time earlier this year, featuring the intense spice of one of the world’s hottest peppers.


Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito and Pizza Hut’s Sriracha Crust have focused on the almost cult-like following of the red pepper.


According to a 2013 Technomic survey, 54% of consumers said they preferred spicy foods and sauces, and high percentages indicated they’re driven to try new flavors (37%) and that new flavors can push them into visiting restaurants (41%). With that in mind, it’s easy to see why more and more restaurants are periodically adding hot new flavors to their menus. As QSRs expand their flavor profiles, they continue to appeal to the Millennials’ thirst for the new and exciting and the traffic driving opportunity it brings.

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Raffi Apelian
Raffi Apelian

Studied Advertising at San Jose State University. He is currently a Social Media Manager and Copywriter at JStokes Agency.

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