Serving up Comfort

Published on: 09/15/2021 in Featured, All, Profit Driving Tips

8220 PERDUE Homestyle Chicken Filet 800X475


Serving up Comfort

On average, consumers choose comfort meals at least five times a week. No matter gender, age or location, feel-good, nostalgic food has made a big comeback.1

The desire for comfort food often favors indulgence, with 34% of consumers considering indulgence a given component of comfort food.1 Among the top 10 most-devoured indulgent comfort foods are pizza (55%), french fries (45%) and fried chicken (34%).1

Combining several of these indulgent foods in one dish can help you maximize the comfort factor. For instance, as a summer 2021 promotion Jack in the Box offered up Classic Roost Fries with fried chicken breast pieces, cheddar cheese sauce, shredded cheddar cheese and a drizzle of “mystery sauce” piled on top.2 Earlier in 2021, Little Caesars tested a Crispy Chicken Cravers menu of four pizzas topped with fried chicken in select Tennessee units. The crispy chicken pizzas came in BBQ, Buffalo, Garlic Parm and Naked varieties. Each included cheese and white sauce.3

While 2020 seemed to be the Year of the Fried Chicken Sandwich, in 2021 this trend shows no signs of slowing with new versions launched nearly weekly. And for operators, it’s an attractive option given that chicken fingers with fries and fried chicken sandwiches were the No. 1 and No. 2 menu items consumers ordered for delivery through DoorDash in 2020.4

And there’s still room for innovation with the ubiquitous fried chicken sandwich. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s debuted a BLT Ranch Chicken Sandwich consisting of a breaded and fried chicken breast with bacon, lettuce, tomato and dill ranch sauce on a toasted potato bun as a summer 2021 LTO.6 Through mid-November 2021, Roy Rogers Restaurants’ breakfast menu features a Honey Maple Chicken Biscuit combining a breaded and fried chicken breast with maple honey butter on a warm buttermilk biscuit.5

For a more profitable fried chicken strategy, consider expanding menu favorites. According to Technomic Ignite Consumer Order Insights data, 13% of chicken sandwich buyers also added strips or nuggets, which boosted the average check.6 Chicken chain Popeyes, widely credited for starting the fried chicken sandwich wars, made national news in July 2021 when it added chicken nuggets to its menu using the same recipe it uses for its fried chicken sandwich.7

Adding comfort food to your menu doesn’t have to be complicated. Evaluate your menu for ways to use ingredients you already stock. Combine popular comfort food into one dish or bundle multiple comfort items into one menu special. Give customers a comforting reason to come back for more.



  1. 2020: The Year of the Comfort Food Comeback (Farm Rich, Sept. 17, 2020),
  2. Thorn, Brent, “Menu Tracker: New Items from Denny’s, Dunkin’ and Jack in the Box,” Nation’s Restaurant News, June 17, 2021,
  3. Dominko, Mura, “This Popular Pizza Chain is Testing Crispy Chicken Pizzas,”, March 29, 2021,
  4. The State of Flavor in America, (DoorDash, Nov. 17, 2020),
  5. Thorn, Bret, “Menu Tracker: California Pizza Kitchen, Dunkin’, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Noodles & Company Test New Items,” Nation’s Restaurant News, June 25, 2021,
  6. Cobe, Patricia, “Comfort-seeking Customers Flocked to Chicken Chains in 2020,” Restaurant Business, May 20, 2021,
  7. Tyko, Kelly, “Popeyes to Add Chicken Nuggets to the Menu Based on its Chicken Sandwich recipe,” USA Today, July 13, 2021,