Special Report

Fast Food Chains Unveil New Seasonal Menu Items for Fall

Courtesy of Popeyes

Fast food chains employ chefs, culinary consultants, and test kitchen staffs to constantly revise (and theoretically improve) items on their menus as well as to develop new ones — which may never leave the proving grounds, may be tested in limited markets and/or for limited times, or may end up added to the regular rotation.

Such newcomers often reflect the season. You can be sure there’ll be “scary” foods and drinks appearing around Halloween each year, and heart-themed offerings around Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, too, the added items reflect culinary trends (birria and “street tacos,” we’re looking at you). (These are some popular fast foods that are real calorie bombs.)

To assemble a list of new fast food menu items this fall, 24/7 Tempo reviewed recent Menu Tracker articles in Nation’s Restaurant News, a leading national restaurant trade publication. NRN’s senior food and beverage editor, Bret Thorn, tracks menus at large and small chains across the country, reporting anything being introduced to their menus. 

Whatever the season and whatever the trends, you can be sure that chicken will figure among the introductions, and on this list of 10, four chains have new items featuring America’s favorite bird. 

Just to change things up, though, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, of “Chicken Sandwich Wars” fame, is currently offering…turkey — a whole roasted bird with Louisiana-style seasonings, perfect for Thanksgiving. (Here’s a roundup of new chain restaurant chicken dishes introduced in 2022.)

Bojangles
> New menu item: Pork Chop Griller (seared pork loin in chile rub on a biscuit)
> When available: Unspecified limited time
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): About $4

Burger King
> New menu item: Ghost pepper chicken fries
> When available: Unspecified limited time
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $1.99 and up

Dig
> New menu item: Maple cider tofu
> When available: Through mid-January 2024
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $13

Jimmy John’s
> New menu item: BBQ ranch chicken crunch
> When available: Unspecified limited time
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $9.99

KFC
> New menu item: Mac & Cheese Wrap (extra-crispy fried chicken tender with cheddar mac & cheese and three-cheese blend)
> When available: Unspecified limited time
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): Two for $5

Panda Express
> New menu item: Apple pie roll
> When available: Permanently
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $2 each

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
> New menu item: Cajun turkey (whole roasted turkey with Louisiana-style seasonings)
> When available: Through Thanksgiving
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $59.99 and up (by advance order

Potbelly Sandwich Works
> New menu item: Ring of Fire Sandwich (grilled chicken, cheddar, Hot Pepper Ranch Sauce, Yellowbird Ghost Pepper Sauce, roasted red peppers)
> When available: Through Nov. 19
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $9.49-$10.29

Qdoba Mexican Eats
> New menu item: Loaded tortilla soup
> When available: Unspecified limited time
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $8.95 and up

Sonic Drive In
> New menu item: Trick or Treat Blast (chocolate or vanilla soft serve with M&M Minis and Heath Bar and Oreo pieces)
> When available: Through December while supplies last
> Where available: All locations
> Price (may vary): $4.59 and up

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