Dessert might seem like an afterthought for some of us when we pick up fast food for lunch or dinner. But don't underestimate how much those little add-ons can add up for the major fast-food chains.
Wendy's (WEN) - Get Free Report Frosty, for example, has been served since 1969 with barely any changes beyond price. It was 35 cents in 1969 and today it's 99 cents, which is still reasonable if you consider how much inflation has boosted our food costs today.
Taco Bell's (YUM) - Get Free Report cinnamon twists have also been around since the '80s, which ought to tell you just how much customers love these fried puffs of rice and flour and their not-too-sweet coating of sugar.
These seem to have nothing to do with Mexican-inspired food, but they work somehow (much better than the Choco Taco did, which is apparently making a nostalgia-fueled return this year).
Other chains like Restaurant Brands' (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King take a different route with desserts, favoring a rotating menu of pie slices rather than leaning on one signature classic. And while most of us have probably had one of those pies at one time or another, they just don't have the same legendary status as a Frosty.
The fast-food industry is betting big on an unusual flavor becoming a customer favorite this spring. And while it's certainly a tasty one, it's just not something you expect to find when you swing through the drive-thru.
What's New on McDonald's Dessert Menu?
McDonald's is known for two signature desserts: soft-serve ice cream cones (when the machines aren't broken, that is) and its McFlurry line.
But the classic fast-food brand also aims to innovate with its McCafe Bakery line, which offers treats like pull-apart doughnuts and apple fritters. And now a brand-new dessert is coming that does not seem like an item you'd typically find at the drive-thru.
This teaser, posted on the McDonald's Japan Twitter account on April 10, makes clear that customers can look forward to trying a banana macaron very soon, perhaps with a hint of maple syrup.
While the flavor is new for McDonald's, the macaron itself is not. The chain actually debuted them back in 2013 in Australia. McDonald's Japan currently offers them in green tea, chocolate, vanilla, citron, and raspberry. They retail for 170 yen (US$1.35) each.
McDonald's France also has them and offers a few different flavors to cater to its customers' tastes, including salted butter and pistachio.
McDonald's has never offered the macarons to the American market despite the rising popularity of the dessert in the states, with some malls even offering dedicated macaron shops. But perhaps QSR believes the dessert wouldn't appeal to an audience that has preferred fried pies for so long.
Of course, with its profit soaring in 2021, McDonald's can afford to take some chances in this menu venue, so if its bet on bananas doesn't resonate, it can always try something else in a few months. Meantime, if it could get those macarons over to U.S. menus, that profit might go even higher.