'Tis the season for LTOs

| by Cherryh Cansler
'Tis the season for LTOs

The holiday season, for many, means decorating, shopping and wrapping gifts, but for people working in the fast casual industry 'tis the season of the limited-time offer. From indulgent desserts to trimmings created to keep customers trim, below is a partial list of holiday-inspired LTOs.

Tijuana Flats 
Tijuana Flats is kicking off its 2017 holiday campaign — "Home for the Holidays" with the re-introduction of three former menu items: enchiladas, chipotle sauce and verde sauce. Through Dec. 31, guests can buy enchiladas for $6.99 ($1 upcharge for steak), topped with either chipotle or verde sauce, according to a company press release.
In addition to being visited by the ghosts of menu items past, guests may also enjoy $5 "bonus bucks" for every $25 gift card purchased either in-store or online, custom holiday Grab and Go desserts and Smack Santa Hot Sauce, available for $5 per bottle. A portion of each purchase of Smack Santa Hot Sauce and the holiday Grab and Go desserts will go toward Tijuana Flats' non-profit initiative, the Tijuana Flats Just In Queso Foundation.

Charleys Philly Steaks 
Charleys Philly Steaks is bringing home the bacon this season with the launch of its Triple Bacon Steak Philly. Grilled fresh to order with steak, white American cheese and onions, it has three flavors of bacon: hardwood smoked bacon strips, double smoked bacon bits and creamy bacon ranch sauce, according to a company press release.

Charleys' Triple Bacon Steak Philly

The Triple Bacon Steak Philly is available now through Jan. 7, for $5.69.

Nékter Juice Bar
Nékter Juice Bar is celebrating the season with a trio of new flavors. The chain's Skoop by Nékter, a dairy-free and soy-free twist on a frozen treat, made with cashew milk and plant-based ingredients, now comes in Merry Mint and Pumpkin Spice. The Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie has also returned to the menu. All three offerings are available through Dec. 24, according to a company press release.
"Keeping healthy during the holidays doesn't mean sacrificing the most delicious and iconic flavors of the season," Steve Schulze, co-founder and CEO, Nékter Juice Bar, said in the release.

Nékter's Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie is a blend of peppermint and energizing cacao, plus fresh spinach, dates and housemade cashew milk. Unlike other high-sugar options found during the holidays, this smoothie helps increase energy and decrease stress, a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the season, Schulze said.
The Merry Mint Scoop has cashew milk, pure cocoa, honey, coconut sugar, agave nectar, sea salt, and candy cane bits. 

The Pumpkin Spice Skoop captures the quintessential taste of the season, made with pure pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, cashew milk, Tahitian vanilla, honey, coconut palm sugar, coconut butter, agave nectar and a pinch of sea salt, Schulze said.

Guests can choose to pair the seasonal Skoop flavors with two waffle bowls from The Konery, a Brooklyn-based purveyor of waffle cones made without dairy, eggs or preservatives. The Red Velvet Waffle Bowl complements the Merry Mint Skoop, for example, while the Gingerbread Waffle Bowl pairs nicely with Pumpkin Spice Skoop, Schulze said.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 
Tropical Smoothie Café is wrapping up the year with the launch of its limited-time winter menu, featuring  "Naughty or Nice" fan-favorites, according to a company press release. Options include the return of its Cranberry Truffle and Very Berry Cranberry smoothies as well as a Sweet n' Smoky Flatbread. The winter menu items are available through Dec. 31.

"At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, we are always innovating new menu items and flavor combinations that will fulfill our customers' cravings and exceed their expectations," Rob Collins, chief marketing officer for Tropical Smoothie Cafe, said in the release. "We're not only constantly introducing new products, but also engaging with our fans on a daily basis, listening to their feedback and bringing them what they want. That's why we brought back our 'Naughty or Nice' smoothie line-up, which offers guests indulgent holiday flavors and a better-for-you, nutritious alternative."

For those looking to embrace the season and unleash their "naughty" side, the Cranberry Truffle Smoothie adds an indulgent twist with Ghirardelli White Chocolate and yogurt. Made with a combination of cranberries and strawberries, the Very Berry Cranberry smoothie is a "nice" guilt-free option perfect for health-conscious consumers, Collins said.

Complementing the "Naughty or Nice" smoothie lineup and making its debut on Tropical Smoothie Cafe's seasonal menu, the Sweet 'n Smoky Flatbread starts with smoked cheese and is topped with a signature cranberry chipotle jam. Additionally, the brand has brought back its Chicken Apple Club Flatbread, which features all-natural grilled chicken breast, house-made kale and apple slaw, honey Dijon dressing and a smoked cheese blend, Collins said.

Since 'tis the season for giving, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is also offering a "Spend and Receive" promotion to help spread the holiday cheer. Now through Dec. 31, guests who purchase a $25 gift card will receive a free 24-ounce smoothie at participating locations.

Cowboy Chicken
Dallas-based Cowboy Chicken is getting into the spirit of the season with its Wood-Fired Rotisserie Turkey Holiday Package. The spread, which feeds eight to 10, includes one 10-to12-pound wood-fired rotisserie turkey, Twice Baked Potaters, choice of Wild West side, country-style stuffing, 12 dinner rolls and peach or apple cobbler for $94.99, according to a company press release.

The holiday package is available now through Dec. 31. Orders require at least 48 hours' notice, and availability is limited on Dec. 24.
Caribou Coffee
Caribou Coffee has launched its 2017 holiday campaign, "Antler Up," featuring new holiday beverages along with a few nostalgic flavors, according to a company press release.

"This year we decided to focus on returning holiday favorites at Caribou," Jenifer Hagness, senior director of marketing and product innovation, Caribou Coffee, said in the release. "That's why our holiday menu is filled with classic flavors like mint, chocolate, candy cane and eggnog. What better way to celebrate the season and 25 years in the land of coffee than by enjoying a warm, delicious treat with family and dear friends?"

Beverages featured on Caribou Coffee's 2017 Holiday Menu include:

  • Ho Ho Mint Mocha: peppermint white mocha with candy cane topping. 
  • Fa La Latte: Eggnog latte with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg.
  • Caramel Chocolate Truffle Mocha: White chocolate and creamed milk steamed together and combined with espresso and caramel sauce, topped with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate chips.
  • Reindeer Blend: The holiday classic is 100 percent Rainforest Alliance-certified and brings together coffees from Central America combined with heavy-bodied and rich flavors from Indonesia, including a rare, aged Sumatran coffee.

Your Pie
Your Pie's newest seasonal Craft Series is the Roasted Butternut Squash Pie, available now through Jan. 2. The Craft Series has been a seasonal feature of the Your Pie menu since the brand's inception in 2008, and features five seasonally focused pizzas each year, according to a company press release.

Your Pie's Roasted Butternut Squash Pie

The pie features a base of sweet and spicy ricotta, topped with a blend of mozzarella and feta cheeses, sweet peppadew peppers, bacon, basil and roasted butternut squash.

This season, Your Pie will also offer Crème Brûlée gelato, made with vanilla custard and a layer of caramelized sugar, as well as craft brews from Terrapin Brewing Company.

"The Roasted Butternut Squash Pie highlights the sweet, nutty flavors of winter squash alongside a dynamic blend of cheeses and toppings," Your Pie Founder and President Drew French said in the release. "We're always looking for new ways to feature fresh, seasonal vegetables on our pies, and we spent several hours in the test kitchen perfecting this particular combination. The Roasted Butternut Squash Pie includes some of our favorite cold-weather flavors, and we can't wait to share it with the Your Pie Family."

Muscle Maker Grill
To help guests indulge in all the holiday trimmings while staying trim, Muscle Maker is offering "Healthy Holiday Meals," now through Jan. 1, according to a company press release.
Customers can purchase the meals as a single entrée for $7.99 or family style, which can feed up to eight people, for $89.99. Items featured in the entrée include all-natural turkey breast, seasonal gravy, dinner rolls, gluten-free cranberry sauce, lower-carb cornbread stuffing with spinach and superfoods, green beans and sweet potato mash. 

The family style meal also includes lower carb cauliflower mac & cheese and naturally low-fat angel food cake. 
"We are excited to offer Muscle Maker Grill's delicious new Healthy Holiday Meals to guests seeking a lighter alternative to traditional fattening dinners," Robert E. Morgan, president and CEO, said in the release. "As the holidays are often difficult to navigate while keeping healthy eating on track, we wanted to offer meals our guests can enjoy without the regret. We believe these new Healthy Holiday Meals will be a hit individually or shared at large and small gatherings."

Billy Sims 
Billy Sims BBQ is featuring its version of the loaded turkey sandwich, according to a company press release. Available now through Dec. 31, the sandwich includes fresh-cut smoked turkey topped with cornbread dressing and Billy Sims BBQ's signature cranberry-cue sauce. 
The chain will also offer slow-cooked smoked spiral cut hams and smoked turkeys for holiday meal planning. Hams are 7 to 8 pounds and serve eight to 10 people, while the smoked turkeys are 12 to 14 pounds and serve 10 to12 people.  

Billy Sims BBQ is also offering a $5 gift card with every $25 purchase now through Dec. 31, 2017.
Tin Drum Asian Kitchen

Tin Drum Asian Kitchen is debuting four sweet and spicy menu items featuring ramen and curry. They include:

  • Spicy Green Thai Chicken: Thai green curry sauce swirled with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli and sautéed chicken with white rice topped with purple cabbage.
  • Sweet Potato Thai Chicken: Mixes sweet potato curry sauce with roasted sweet potatoes, spinach and sauteed chicken served aside white rice topped with purple cabbage.
  • Steak Ramen: Taking its own spin on the Japanese dish, the Steak Ramen bowl is made with soba noodles and veggie broth, mixed with sliced mushrooms, green onion, bok choy and grilled steak topped with bean sprouts and an egg.
  • Chicken Ramen: Soba noodles immersed in roasted chicken broth and combined with sautéed chicken, green onion, mushrooms, sautéed spinach and jalapeños topped with bean sprouts and an egg.

"At Tin Drum, we're always looking for ways to incorporate global flavors into our cuisine, which is why this season, we're adding a dash of the Indian staple curry into several of our new limited time offers," Steven Chan, founder of Tin Drum Asian Kitchen, said in a company press release. "On top of that, we're literally beefing up the classic Japanese ramen noodle dish with two new recipes incorporating a savory protein and variety of veggies."

Captain D's 
Captain D's has created a family meal experience to help take the stress out of figuring out mealtime, according to a company press release. Its offering includes 10 pieces of fish with two family-style sides and hush puppies for $19.99

"The holidays are a joyous time but as we all know too well, can also lead to not enough 'time in the day.' That's why at Captain D's we want to help families take a moment to relax and enjoy a wholesome, quality meal together." Bob Kraut, CMO of Captain D's, said in the release. "We're excited to offer this Family Meal Deal for the first time ever; we think it's the perfect balance of value and satisfaction for those busy times when cooking is just not an option."

Cover photo: iStock

Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com.

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