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A big week for menu innovation with new items at KFC, Krispy Kreme, and Taco Bell

Plus, Ascent Hospitality’s Mindy Armstrong talks menu updates at Perkins and Huddle House


This week on Extra Serving, a podcast from Nation’s Restaurant News, NRN editors Leigh Anne Zinsmeister and Sam Oches talk all things menu innovation. The week saw a new sauce at KFC, doughnut holes at Krispy Kreme, and Limonada Freeze at Taco Bell. The editors talk through why all of these updates make sense, and how restaurant operators can make menu changes with big operational shifts.

Then, the editors pivot to something more depressing: restaurant closures. The Technomic Top 500 revealed some depressing data, with 33% of ranked chains closing net units in 2023, and the onslaught doesn’t seem to have slowed. Everyone in the industry has heard some loud opinions about restaurants’ “death knell” and “apocalypse.” Are these declarations overblown?

Stick around to hear a recent conversation between senior food and beverage editor Bret Thorn and Ascent Hospitality’s VP of menu innovation Mindy Armstrong. They talk about menus at the company’s two family-dining chains — Perkins and Huddle House — including some “crazy” updates to cinnamon rolls.

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