What’s new in fast food: Spicy donuts and cheeseburger pizzas

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Major fast food chains including Dunkin’, Wendy’s and Papa John’s added a variety of new menu items nationwide in October to attract attention and customers.

Companies add quirky menu items and promotes marketing ploys to bring customers into their stores. Fast food is a zero-loyalty business with razor-thin margins, so any bump in customers is a major win.
Dunkin's has a new Spicy Ghost Pepper donut.
Dunkin’ (DNKN) added its first-ever spicy donut, because 2020 hasn’t been chaotic enough.
The Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is baked with a classic yeast dough and topped with strawberry icing that’s mixed with a blend of cayenne and ghost pepper, one of the hottest chili peppers in the world. For those who dare, it’s available until December.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

KFC's new sauce is seen in the middle.
Kentucky Fried Chicken replaced its “Finger Lickin’ Good” sauce with something new called the KFC Sauce.

The new recipe features a “sweeter, tangier mix with a kiss of smokiness.” KFC said it tested 50 iterations of the recipe before settling on this one, which was in development before the pandemic. Its other sauces, like honey BBQ, ranch and hot sauce, were also revamped.

The replacement of the “Finger Lickin’ Good” sauce comes several weeks after it paused use of same slogan amid the pandemic.


The new McCafe additions.

McDonald’s is adding new bakery items for the first time in a nearly a decade. Beginning Wednesday, the McCafé bakery lineup is expanding with three new options: an apple fritter, a blueberry muffin and a cinnamon roll.

The additions, which will be available all day, come as McDonald’s (MCD) finds itself struggling in a part of the day where it was once dominant, notably against Wendy’s. (WEN) It’s unclear if, or when, All Day Breakfast will return to menus, so this might be a sweet substitute for some.

Papa John’s

Papa John's new cheeseburger-themed items.

Papa John’s is the second major pizza chain to roll out a cheeseburger pizza. It features a “huge portion of seasoned beef, melty cheese, zesty pickles and signature burger sauce.”

It’s also adding the adding the flavors into a flatbread-style sandwich called a Papadia. Of note, Papa John’s (PZZA) called it its “meatiest Papadia to-date.” Both items are available until December 27.
For those keeping count, Domino’s (DPZ) debuted a similar pizza in August.


Wendy's new Classic Chicken Sandwich.
Wendy’s (WEN) reentered the fried chicken sandwich battle with a new competitor.

The chain has a rolled out the Classic Chicken Sandwich, which features a crispier and juicier fried-chicken filet compared to its predecessor and is topped with mayo, a slice of tomato, lettuce, and pickles — all placed on a toasted bun.

The sandwich replaces the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich, which needed an upgrade in light of rising competition. The new sandwich is available now for $4.99.

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