Flavor & The Menu current issue
Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
May 4, 2023

If there’s any doubt that Gen Zers enjoy discovering off-menu items, look to the roaring success of Starbucks’ secret menu, an unofficial treasure trove of drinks that have gone viral, strengthening the brand’s positioning as a Gen Z favorite. No Man’s Land, a cocktail parlor in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., offers another showcase of how a brand can run a secret menu that is fun, whimsical and engaging. Its menu of hot dogs, called The Mercy Dogs, is only for those in the know. With six offerings, the hideaway vibe lends a club-like feel, giving guests who discover the menu’s existence a sense of belonging, a fast pass into the community and culture of No Man’s Land. Choices include Lady May, with pimento cheese, chile relish and crispy onions, and the Sad Wiener, a hot dog dressed with either mustard or ketchup (but not both).

Secret menus not only help build a sense of community and dial up social engagement, they can deepen customer loyalty and raise check averages—that exclusivity warrants premium pricing. Here are a few more examples of creative off-menu offerings, both at fast casuals and full-serve restaurants:

Killer B Burger: Wagyu beef sandwiched the restaurant’s signature garlic bread, topped with bacon and accompanied by a bourbon-vanilla milkshake
Michael Jordan’s Steak House, based in Chicago

The Shack-Cago Burger: The burger version of the Shack-Cago hot dog, which includes relish, onions, cucumber, tomato, pickles, peppers, mustard, and celery salt on a cheeseburger
Shake Shack, based in New York

Meatballs featuring a blend of beef, pork and guanciale, swimming in a rich tomato sauce
Tosca Cafe, San Francisco

White Gummi Bear Smoothie: Peach juice and soy milk blended with lime, raspberry pineapple and orange sherbets, plus strawberries
Jamba Juice, based in Atlanta



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