Secret Food Menu Items Revealed

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Some of your favorite restaurants are creating new items but not putting them on the menu.

At Panera Bread in Watertown, there are six Power Bowl selections including pesto basil with fresh lemon juice. You won’t find those items on the menu, however. They are part of Panera’s hidden menu which customers learn about through social media and its customer loyalty program.

“Oh, I see endless possibilities that we are creating,” said a Panera Bread manager.

Entire websites are dedicated to notifying customers of secret menu items.

“The real fun of the secret menu is when you take the standard food item and change it,” said Michael Oshins, who teaches in the hospitality department at Boston University. “I think one of the reasons they don’t put it on the menu is it’s always nice to go in, and be in on the secret.”

One example, the “land, sea and air burger” at McDonald’s. It’s a Big Mac with chicken and a fish filet wedged in.

The secret menu items marketing approach is gaining popularity among companies, according to Oshins.

Starbucks Coffee also has a secret menu including a cotton candy frappucino. WBZ-TV visited a local Starbucks and discovered the store did not offer s’mores or cake batter frappucinos.

Also, Chiptole staff was happy to make a “burrito-dilla.” It’s a combination between a burrito and a queasadilla.

Oshin said he was not surprised at how many companies had secret menu items.

“No, because I think that if something works in our industry, other people start doing it as well,” Oshin said.

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