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Monthly menu check: QSRs focus on ‘baskets’ in February

Quick-service restaurants continued to promote discounts on “baskets” rather than more traditional sandwich-side-drink combos or specific items in February, according to a Monthly Menu Check report from Brad Ludington, an analyst from KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Among the chains that featured discounts on baskets — sandwiches and fries but no drink — were Hardee’s, with its breakfast platter for $2.79, and Arby’s, which offered a fish sandwich and fries for $2.99.

Popeyes opted for a slightly more premium price point, offering its Wicked Chicken basket for $3.99, while Long John Silver’s featured a thick cut cod basket for $5.99, the report found.

Ludington said quick-service brands are able to promote the discounted price more easily through baskets to cash-conscious consumers. Baskets also enable customers to augment the check by adding a beverage.

“Baskets seem to be a way to communicate prices points more realistically to consumers used to managing their check, adding price certainty to commonly added side items while still allowing for a beverage add-on,” he said in the report.

February also saw coffee and snack chains continue their push into the lunch daypart. Dunkin’ Donuts began offering four different bakery sandwiches priced at $3.49 each, and Tim Horton’s rolled out a $5.99 panini, soup and soda combo meal, which Ludington said is the first time he has seen an offer structured this way from a coffee and snack chain.

Finally, McDonald’s kicked off its promotions for lent with discounted Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and a limited test of Fish McBites in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

EARLIER: Monthly menu check: Analyst breaks down QSR trends

Contact Charlie Duerr at [email protected].

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