What can be done with an LTO? At Culver’s—the Midwest favorite serving butter burgers and fresh-made frozen custard—the answer is many things. LTOs at Culver’s introduce new ideas to the customers, offer signature experiences, act as a proving ground for potential core menu items, and take advantage of seasonal ingredients. “First and foremost,” says Quinn Adkins, director of menu development, “we want to delight our guests.” Secondly, LTOs bring visitors back, build on the Culver’s reputation, and enhance restaurant profitability.

“Our ‘only at Culver’s’ special touch is an important nuance for us,” Adkins says. Culver’s Pub Burger line, for example, allows the brand to offer more upscale and trend-forward flavors and ingredients, competing even with full-service players. The Pub Burgers have been consistently moving the needle for six LTO cycles. And the Pretzel Bites promotion—a snack-sized pretzel paired with Wisconsin cheddar cheese sauce—had guests “writing poetry and homages on our social media pages,” Adkins says. It’s a careful balance, he adds, “delivering a consistent experience while ensuring we continue to surprise and delight our guests with new menu offerings.”

Menu Innovations, Story, Culver's