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NATIONAL REPORT -- Although healthy menu options have seen increased interest from customers and restaurants alike, quick-service restaurants are still focused on luring customers in with desserts that appeal to their sweet tooth, according to a Nation's Restaurant News report.
"Everybody in the industry is looking to bring new flavors and product ideas that will drive sales," said Brad Wahl, vice president of marketing at Krystal Restaurants, which recently introduced a new Strawberry Shortcake dessert. "We had real successful tests for the strawberry shortcake in the Orlando market."
According to Wahl, it's all about customer expectations; it doesn't always matter if a new item is unhealthy, because customers are not necessarily looking for healthy food. "It's about bringing a big experience during their visit," Wahl explained. "Our customers don’t expect that [nutrition] from our brand. We're the reward at the end of the day."
Other quick-service chains such as Sonic, Wendy's and Checkers have also added new desserts. Sonic added three new flavors of Sundae Shakes, which are served in cups that hearken back to the style of vintage ice cream parlor dishes. Wendy's is promoting its new Wild Berry Frosty Parfait and a Wild Berry Frosty Shake on TV this summer, and also offers a Caramel Apple Parfait. Checkers unveiled a large line of 20 ice cream cones, sundaes and milkshakes.
It's about small, affordable indulgences that make customers feel good without sacrificing their wallets, the report stated. And according to Patrick O'Reilly, president of software consulting firm Applied Predictive Technologies, it's about the truth behind customer desires. "They're finding people are not as health-conscious as they say they are," Reilly said.