Rotisserie Chicken Will Reach Beyond Retailers to Restaurants

Delectably self-basting chicken that’s slow roasted on a spit has been hot in the retail segment for many years, but it’s now becoming a restaurant darling, as well. Save for Boston Market, fried chicken is the dominant poultry of the major chain players. However, there is an abundance of emerging chains focused on rotisserie chicken, the most buzzed about perhaps being the South Africa-based, U.K. phenomenon Nando’s.

Here are some other fast movers serving up rotisserie chicken:

  • Zankou Chicken
  • Cowboy Chicken
  • Zea Rotisserie & Grill
  • Bantam + Biddy
  • Chicken Shop
  • The Charcoal Grill and Rotisserie
  • Chicken Out Rotisserie

According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor data, incidence of rotisserie chicken dishes on menus of emerging, regional and local chains and independents increased about 6% in the past two years.

As shown in the below exhibit, garlic, barbecue and sweet flavors are the most noteworthy among rotisserie chicken dishes on these types of restaurants’ menus. And nearly 6% of all rotisserie chicken dishes on these menus feature Hispanic preparations, from AJ’s Burger & Peruvian Chicken’s Pollo Saltado to Favela Cubana’s Frango Ipanema.

Top Flavors in Rotisserie Chicken Dishes

Base: Q4 2012 to Q4 2014 - 189 menu items; Source: MenuMonitor, Technomic Inc.

Base: Q4 2012 to Q4 2014 – 189 menu items; Source: MenuMonitor, Technomic Inc.


Here are some particularly interesting ways rotisserie chicken is being menued:

  • Boston Market’s limited-time BLT Rotisserie Chicken Burger features chunks of the chain’s signature rotisserie chicken, thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and roasted garlic-avocado aïoli on a sesame brioche bun
  • Emerging chain Velvet Taco’s Backdoor Chicken meal consists of a whole seasoned rotisserie chicken, two sides of elote-style corn, six corn tortillas and Roasted Corn, Pico de Gallo and Heat Sauces. Its special Backdoor Chicken pick-up window stays open as late as 4 a.m.
  • Emerging chain Bandera serves an Apricot Glazed Rotisserie Chicken with mashed potatoes
  • In Lake Buena Vista, FL, Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe menus a Pesto Rotisserie Chicken with crispy potatoes, arugula and cherry tomato salad
  • Independent restaurant Edmund’s Oast in Charleston, SC, features a Farm Chicken dish with roasted chicken breast, smoked thigh, shiitake mushrooms, polenta, mustard greens and jus

Velvet Taco’s Backdoor Chicken meal


Source: Facebook

Rotisserie chicken has yet to reach its peak at restaurants. Diners can expect to see a greater number of larger roasted chicken portions trending on menus, including whole birds to share, as well as chickens stuffed with herbs, vegetables or seafood. Ethnic rotisserie chicken preps will span continents, and bold, spicy or sweet seasonings and flavors will continue to differentiate concepts from one another.

Operators should do their research and find out which type of roasted chicken works best for their concept and core audience. They can add it to a sandwich, top a salad or serve it as a center dish. They can also promote a housemade seasoning blend or local garnish to further differentiate.


Jill Failla

Jill Failla is Editor of Consumer Research at Technomic Inc. in Chicago. She currently provides menu analysis and trend forecasts for the firm’s Consumer Trend Reports series.

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