Despite paring down menus in 2020 and early 2021, many operators—and their loyal customers—are hungry for innovation. Strategic menu additions that bring excitement and differentiation can be served up as limited-time offers, and they don’t need to be labor-intensive or cost-prohibitive to prepare.

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By the Numbers

of Consumers report trying an LTO every month, and 30% of 18-to-44-year-olds try one every week.6


of Millennials say they'll visit a restaurant specifically to try an LTO.7


of Operators plan to add LTOs to their menu in the future.8


The Quick Dish

Take a look at the top LTO introduction categories by segment for spring 2021.9 Menu items within the categories below tested more favorably among consumers than LTOs from the previous year. Other innovation categories, such as QSR Mexican dishes and fast casual salads, also demonstrated a positive consumer response.

  • QSR
    1. Non-alcoholic drinks
    2. Desserts
    3. Sandwiches
  • Fast Casual
    1. Non-alcoholic drinks
    2. Desserts
    3. Sandwiches
  • Midscale
    1. Desserts
    2. Breakfast dishes
    3. Meat entrées
  • Casual
    1. Appetizers and sides
    2. Burgers
    3. Meat entrées

Brand Focus

Trust the versatile, reliable Conagra Foodservice portfolio for staple products that can be used across your menu while showcasing on-trend flavors that are ideal for signature LTOs.

  • Bakery Chef
  • gardein
  • Krusteaz
  • Reddi-wip
  • Swiss Miss

Chef Tips

When crafting limited-time offers for your menu, don’t lose sight of the basics. Start with a solid foundation and add unique touches to make the dish your own. Here are some tips from the Conagra Foodservice team to help you get started.

    • Embrace versatility.

      Gardein® products, such as Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’n Filets, can easily be adapted to work in regionally or globally inspired LTOs. Use one SKU for multiple menu items.

    • Say “yes” to no prep.

      Incorporate low- or no-prep ingredients like Reddi-wip® Original Whipped Topping that add flair and flavor to LTOs, while minimizing labor and keeping operations efficient.

    • Fill their plates—and their mugs.

      If your LTO is a meal kit or family-style entrée, offer Swiss Miss® Hot Cocoa Mix envelopes as an add-on that’s delivery- and carryout-friendly.

    • Dress up the basics.

      Think of Bakery Chef® Biscuits as a blank canvas for creativity. As a sandwich carrier, a biscuit can stand up to big, bold flavors that are often the hallmark of LTOs.

    • Consider a test run.

      Consumers love to see their favorite LTOs end up on the core menu. A simple LTO like a Gardein® plant-based version of one of your signature dishes can drum up buzz without adding operational complexity.


You’ll find even more delicious recipe ideas on our Instagram, @conagrafoodservice

Operator Spotlight

Modern Operators are using LTOs as a creative way to pique interest, create urgency and drive traffic. Check out some recent success stories from across the restaurant industry, and get inspired by the profitable potential of LTOs.

  • McDonald’s

    As the first-ever LTO for the chain’s McCafé Bakery, Glazed Pull Apart Donuts will be joining the McDonald’s menu as an all-day offering. The bakery line was originally launched in October of 2020 with three core items which are still on the menu today: apple fritters, blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls.

  • Shake Shack

    The fast-casual favorite uses a flavor-driven strategy when introducing LTOs: a unique sauce or seasoning is often used in multiple ways across menu items. A recent launch includes a Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich (honey-glazed), Hot Honey Chicken Bites and Hot Honey Fries (both dusted with hot honey seasoning). All three items are served with habanero mayo sauce.

  • Tropical Smoothie

    The café chain won big with a recent 3-month LTO featuring Hurricane Smoothies and Cajun Shrimp Wraps and Salads. The LTO helped to boost same-store sales by nearly 30% and resulted in the addition of 95 new franchise agreements.10

  • Bob Evans

    Bob Evans adapted brioche French toast—a dish showing strong growth on QSR, midscale and casual dining menus11—in a seasonally inspired way. The Farm Fresh Berry French Toast LTO added vine-ripened strawberries and strawberry sauce to a plate of proven breakfast favorites.