- Nearly 2,000 pumpkin items were added to menus by SpotOn’s restaurant clients within the last 30 days, the company said in an email to Restaurant Dive.
- Of these items, 40% are pumpkin-flavored beers, and 10% include pumpkin spice.
- Coffee chains like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Peet’s, Dunkin’, Dutch Bros and Caribou Coffee all added pumpkin-flavored drinks or food in the weeks before fall began.
Pumpkin-related items can lead to greater customer acquisition. The limited availability of pumpkin spice throughout the year make it popular during the fall, especially since it will be largely phased out in a few months, according to Kearney Consumer Institute. Following the addition of pumpkin items to their menus, Starbucks and Dunkin’ saw a boost in foot traffic. Starbucks had the best sales week in its 51-year history in the week following the introduction of its fall lineup this year.
Pumpkin spice menu items aren’t limited to just lattes, either. Red Robin added a Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice milkshake while Jamba added a Pumpkin Smash Smoothie to its menu in August. IHOP brought back its pumpkin spice pancakes, as well.
The rollout of fall-themed items sometimes depends on where restaurants are located. In regions where fall temperatures arrive sooner than the rest of the country, such as the Northeast and Midwest, restaurants added more pumpkin items, according to SpotOn. Operators aren’t limiting themselves to just pumpkin flavors, either. Restaurants added around 50 new items that had fall in the title, including fall pizzas, muffins and gnocchi.