Zoës Kitchen intros new menu items

In an effort to stay up-to-date with its menu and core customer base, Zoës Kitchen is launching two new menu items: Steak Kabobs and Orzo Tabouli Salad. Zoës’ Steak Kabobs will complete the restaurant’s kabob selection which includes chicken, shrimp, salmon and vegetable options.

The steak kabobs is a line extension of what the chain already offers and is in direct appeal to the chain's male demographic. Meanwhile, the salad is a continuation of Zoës salad line.

The items were among five new possible menu additions in test throughout 12 locations for several weeks, said Zoës president Kevin Miles, and were in direct response to customer requests. Both items will be available system-wide within the next week.

"Based on sales and feedback, that's what determines what goes on the menu. Really, the consumer voted these items on the menu," Miles said.

The steak kabobs feature house cut steak marinated and basted with Zoës’ traditional Mediterranean “mostarda,” a blend of balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions. The kabobs are served on a bed of potato salad with a side of roasted fresh vegetables. The "tabouli" salad features orzo pasta in lieu of traditional tabouli and includes fresh spinach and greens, crumbled feta cheese and a lemon vinaigrette dressing. Shrimp, veggies, steak or chicken kabobs also can be added to the salad.

The new items are the first major menu rollouts for the chain in about four years.

"The last four years we've spent just growing the brand and trying to understand our customer profile," Miles said.

Moving forward, Miles said Zoës will look to unveil two or three new items per year based on what resonates with customer preferences. The company also has unveiled to-go items with accompanying recipes for guests who want to serve Zoës menu items at home. Items include Mediterranean layer dip and hummus.

"We've heard a lot from customers that they're starved for time and want some items they can take home to feed their families and feel good about it," Miles said. "What we really want to start to do is engage our customer … and our idea is to continue to grow this."

Meanwhile, Zoës continues to expand. The company plans to open 21 restaurants this year, bringing the total number of open locations to 78.

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