KANSAS CITY — Recent restaurant rollouts reflect trending consumer ambitions to skip booze or eat plant-based foods at the start of the year.
For participants of “Dry January,” Hard Rock Café is introducing a mocktail menu featuring strawberry basil lemonade and mango-berry cooler. To support “Veganuary” efforts, Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering plant-based chorizo, and Cold Stone Creamery partnered with Danone North America to introduce a new non-dairy frozen dessert. Frozen yogurt chain Yogurtland is serving Plant-Based Brown Sugar Vanilla, formulated with oat milk, for a limited time.
“With more people leaning into living a plant-based lifestyle and aiming to kick off 2022 with healthier food choices, we couldn’t be more thrilled to offer our newest oat milk-based option,” said Brittany Knollmiller, senior marketing manager. “We’re proud to ring in the New Year with a tasty vegan flavor that everyone can enjoy.”
Other chains have chosen a different approach, launching nostalgic indulgences not quite fit for New Year’s resolutions. Sonic Drive-In and The Habit Burger Grill are both serving signature takes on the classic patty melt sandwiches, and White Castle is featuring a collection of Sloppy Joe Sliders. The ice cream flavor of the month at Baskin-Robbins is Magic Layer Bar, incorporating chewy coconut and graham cracker crumbles into a French custard ice cream with a ganache swirl.
“We feel the combination of ingredients we chose for the January Flavor of the Month really had to set the tone for the magic we’re going to bring to our customers this year through our exciting new flavor lineup,” said Shawn-Marie Allan, research and development technologist for Baskin-Robbins. “Magic Layer Bar is a scoop of pure bliss and a wonderful way to celebrate the spirit of a new year.”
Krispy Kreme aims to meet consumers in the middle, debuting an assortment of chocolate glazed miniature donuts with the suggestion that “a small, occasional treat may help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions,” said Dave Skena, chief marketing officer.