Brands look to spice up classic chicken dishes to win customers.
In the increasingly competitive QSR segment, brands are finding novel ways to make their chicken dishes stand out to consumers, particularly a more picky Millennial generation driven to bold new flavors and treatments.
Datassential reports that roughly 40 percent of all QSRs and fast-casual restaurants feature fried chicken on their menu. The May issue of QSR explored how a variety of restaurants are finding innovative ways to serve up the tried-and-true fried chicken dish.
Ryan Joy, senior director of research and development at Checkers and Rally’s described the brand’s commitment to innovation, especially when it comes to the R&D process on coming up with a premium chicken strip, telling QSR, “Everybody has them, everybody loves them, but unless they’re really different, they’re not worth doing.”
One way that Arkansas-based Slim Chickens gives its chicken a kick is by allowing diners to choose one of 15 dipping sauces to have their tenders shaken in. Sam Rothschild, COO of Slim Chickens, told QSR, “That makes it unique, and guests love it. And we still give you a dipping sauce on the side.”
The brand has also found a fan base for its chicken and waffles combo.
Cincinnati-based Buffalo Wings & Rings keeps things classic with their wings by frying them without breading to allow the skin to keep in the juices. However, coming up with unique twists on classic sauces can be easier said than done.
“How you have heat at the beginning and at the end, the relationship between butter and hot sauce, the cooking method – (it) all makes a difference,” Executive Chef Elliot Jablonsky was quoted as saying.