Quick-service operators are launching seasonal menu items earlier this fall in an effort to beat their competition to the punch. From pumpkin doughnuts to caramel apple frozen yogurt, fall-flavored menu items are popping up across the industry even before the season has officially begun.
“We usually launch [fall products] in October. But this year, for the first time, we are bringing them out in September,” says Lafeea Watson, spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme. “That’s what the industry seems to be doing.”
In early September, Krispy Kreme rolled out its traditional Pumpkin Spice Doughnut and Pumpkin Spice Latte, and also unveiled a new Pumpkin Cheesecake Doughnut. In fact, Krispy Kreme teased the two seasonal doughnuts on its Pinterest page two weeks before the items were available in stores.
“The two flavors are fully focused on flavor and crave-abilty, so we are relying on a lot of social media and word of mouth,” Watson says.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt launched its Pumpkin Pie, Caramel Apple, and Chocolate Snickerdoodle frozen-yogurt flavors in late August. “Last year, we introduced [fall products] later and noticed that all of our competitors had introduced them very early,” says Carrie Pemberton, director of franchisee relations for Orange Leaf. “It really felt like, if consumers want fall flavors, we should be offering them.”