Can limited-time offers lead to long-term sales?

The newly unveiled McDonald’s fries dusted in churro or masala seasoning are the latest limited-time offers (LTOs) from a big fast-food chain this year… and they won’t be the last.  

Big picture: LTOs have long been an industry staple used to lure customers and test out potential permanent items. Fast-food chains are now leaning on them more heavily than ever, with research firm Technomic finding that U.S. LTO launches were up 46% in the past year.

  • LTOs fall into two categories: eye-catching menu items and can’t-be-beat bargains. Think McDonald’s viral Grandma McFlurry or Harvey’s $1.65 Original Burger.

Some of the most notable deals in Canada this year include: 

Why it matters: The post-pandemic sales bump is cooling off for eateries. The most recent data from StatCan shows that year-over-year fast-food sales grew by 7.8% in February compared to 17.8% the same time last year. Joints are hoping swicy bevs and meal deals can recharge growth.—QH